Monday, 17 August 2009

More on office hours

Revisiting a theme from a few weeks ago, Dr. Crazy at Reassigned Time ponders the merits of office hours, concluding thusly:

I say that we need to take another look at “office hours.” What do they mean? What are they supposed to achieve? If we are achieving those goals outside of a clearly stated four hours on the syllabus, that doesn’t mean that those efforts should be ignored.

Another serendipitous event—the arrival of a page of boilerplate “policies” to stick in my syllabi, much different from the boilerplate “policies” that I was told to insert last year and modified (apparently) without any input from the faculty—has also helped clarify some of my thinking about office hours.

I strongly believe (and this has been reinforced by discussions with colleagues) that many of said policies, including office hours, exist largely as a punishment for the perceived misbehavior of certain faculty members past and present. Rather than the dean or provost taking said faculty aside and saying “cut it out and behave like a professional adult,” the preferred solution is instead to impose a policy on everyone regardless of their past miscreant behavior, knowing full-well that the miscreants will just misbehave (albeit within the new, arbitrary rules) in the future anyway.

1 comment:

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[Permalink] 1. Michelle wrote @ Tue, 18 Aug 2009, 9:46 am CDT:

The dress code policy in the office where I worked summers during school evolved similarly….after a rather large woman wore a short flouncy skirt and proceeded to bend over the large printer to load paper, we were all told that skirts had to reach our knees.

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