Research Essentials

Perspectives on an academic environment: a collaborative blog by Gill Clough & Rebecca Ferguson

Research Essentials header image 2

Jennie Lee office layout

February 28th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Patrick unusually late today for our supervision meeting. I now realise that it was because he was involved in planning the desk layouts for the Jennie Lee. When we’d finished discussing me and my things, he said that they had finally settled on some really nice layouts for the JLB. However they had had to leave some people out.

I kind of guessed what he was going to say as he turned to me and said that the PhD students would remain in the GC building. However not all the PhD students, the 1st year masters students would be in the new building, the rest in GC.

Although I hate to admit it, my first feeling was one of relief. Moving in July would only give me a short time in the new building – always assuming I finish on time, so the disruption hardly seems necessary. But my altruistic troops came storming along pretty quickly after that when I thought about what this would actually mean to students. They arrive in a department for the MSc year. Then on the 30th September they get escorted from the building to the old building that they have probably never set foot in before. At the point at which they’re finding their feet in the first year of the PhD, trying to get to know their supervisory team, they get shunted out. Moving is disruptive, and an awful lot of useful contacts are made just through being around, making coffee at the same time and seeing what is going on.

We talked through numbers, and Patrick was not sure how many students there were. There are 10 of us. Apparently 8 could fit in at a stretch. But not 10. So perhaps we accommodate all the students in the new building, but those who overrun go back to Geoffrey Crowther. That’s one solution.  But not one that’s very dear to my heart as that would mean us moving to the new building between July and September and then moving out again on Sept 30th on the dot.

Some students seldom come into the office. Particularly students who live at a distance and have got special dispensation to live more than 15 miles from the OU. One of these is in the office only about 5 times per year and uses his own laptop. I wonder if we could offer a hotdesking option to anybody who appears in the office for 2 days per week or less and providing a permanent desk to anybody who is in 3 days per week or more.

It is really tough for Patrick and the rest of the JLB team. If only the new building were actually big enough for the entire department, with enough room to allow for growth, then there wouldn’t be anywhere near so many difficulties. I only listened to him talking about it for 10 minutes and it made me feel miserable so I dread to think what effect it must have on those tasked with sorting it out 🙁

Tags: by Gill · Open plan

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Grainne Conole // Feb 28, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Oh Gill

    thanks for this… you would not believe how complex and time consuming all this has been. We are trying very very hard to take on board everyones views, preferences, etc.. whilst working within the given constraints. Can’t promise the perfect solution but can assure you we are trying darn hard to do the very best for everyone…

  • 2 Patrick McAndrew // Feb 29, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Gill,
    Thanks for the sympathy – but actually once real numbers fed in their is no reason for students to be left out (though it sounds like you might wish to be!). Current plan has all those linked to the TEL researchers in place – some mixed in with the academic and research teams and some in a slightly separate cluster and all on the same floor of the building. Hotdesking and some flexibility come into the solution but now more positive about it all than for quite a while.

    (Sorry I was late for your supervision though.)

    Patrick.

  • 3 Grainne Conole // Feb 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Hope you are reassured Gill!
    – outrageous patrick was late though 😉
    G

  • 4 Gill // Mar 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Yup – but then “outrageous” pretty much describes Patrick 😉

You must log in to post a comment.