A half hour later, Dan was at the lobby of the Wang Office Building waiting for the elevator. The place was teeming with people going about their business in typically harried New York fashion. He got on the elevator and pushed the button for the fourth floor, arriving at 11:50 a.m. for his first day on the job. Taisha, the slightly plump, impeccably dressed receptionist, beamed at him from behind her desk.
“Welcome, Dean Amor.”
“Dan, please” Dan replied returning her warm smile. “I’m here to see Mr. Lantz,” he continued.
“Yes, he’s waiting for you. You can go right in.”
Dan nodded and made his way through the door to his right and saw Marvin walking towards him at the end of the hallway.
“Welcome, Dan.” Marvin beamed and held out his hand when he reached him.
“Good morning, Mr. Lantz,” Dan took and shook the offered hand.
“It’s just Marvin,” Marvin retorted, shepherding Dan to his office. “Come on in. We have some paperwork for you to sign with Bob, but let’s chat for a few minutes first. Then I want to introduce you to your faculty who will be taking a lunch break in the conference room shortly.”
Dan followed behind and took the same chair he’d occupied the previous day while Marvin went up to the little side table to pour some fresh brewed coffee. “Do you want coffee, or would you prefer tea?”
“Coffee, please—always. Thank you.” Dan replied. Marvin poured two cups and asked “cream and sugar?”
“Black, please.” Marvin prepared both cups and gave one to Dan.
“This is really good coffee Marvin. Thank you. I taste an espresso roast with just a hint of vanilla. Really good.”
“You know your coffee. Yes, I grind and blend my own—about 2/3 espresso roast with 1/3 French Vanilla—at least that’s the blend for today. I like some variety.”
“I drink espresso all day even on regular drip coffee makers. And I always grind the beans in the Turkish coffee setting—the finer the better. My girlfriend and parents want me to cut back for fear I’ll caffeinate myself into an early grave. But better a short caffeinated life than a long, dreadful life drinking decaf.” Dan retorted, chuckling.
“I wanted you to meet with me today,” Marvin said after taking another sip of his coffee, “so that you can be processed and be ready to spend the day with our senior dean at the flagship school in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. Depending on how that goes, he may ask you to return on Tuesday, on Tuesday and Wednesday, or send you back to us for you to start here on Tuesday. It will be up to him as to your orientation and how comfortable he is with your ability to absorb the procedures. I suspect you’ll be back here Tuesday.”
“Sounds good,” Dan said, smiling both for Marvin and for the coffee that was, actually, remarkably good.
The sound of a bell startled Dan as Marvin said, “That’s the change of class bell. Everyone will be filing out for an hour lunch break. Let’s finish our coffee and head to the conference room to meet the faculty in a few minutes when the students have had a chance to file out.
“Do you have a place for the students to eat?” Dan queried, taking another sip of his coffee.
“No, we just don’t have the room for that. Even though we have two entire floors, they are all classrooms and labs except for the conference room that the teachers use as their lunch and prep room when they have a free period. We, or rather you, will try to schedule a free period for everyone during the day so that they can work on their lesson plans or otherwise prepare for classes, grade papers, and be on stand-by to cover for any teacher who is absent.”
“How many classes does each faculty member teach?”
“Usually five hours a day—five 55-minute classes, typically.”
“They teach five classes every day?” Dan queried, surprised.
“Yes. Remember, this is not a university where faculty have a typical load of two or three classes in research institutions or four to five classes at non-research teaching colleges for a total of roughly six to fifteen contact hours a week. The teaching load is just the tip of the iceberg for them—especially at research institutions where publish or perish is the rule and they spend countless hours in research, writing and editing publications for highly selective peer-reviewed journals. Then there are grant-related activities, department, school and university service commitments, advisement, and so on. For your faculty, 25 teaching hours a week and five hours on stand-by duty in free periods sounds like a heavy load, but that is all that they do. They have no publication or service requirements of any kind or student advisement to speak of either. We have counselors and Bob for that—or you, if academic or behavioral issues are involved. They prepare their lesson plans, teach their classes, give exams from time to time and go home free and clear at the end of their day.”
“Do faculty have office space on campus?”
“No. They can use the conference room which is seldom used for anything other than lunch and prep time. But they don’t need it. Again, no advisement is needed as the curriculum is fixed for every program and students don’t need to make choices other than the initial certificate program they want to enroll in.”
“But Howard Green will go over all of that with you on Monday,” Marvin added, smiling. “Don’t try to filter this through a university lens. This is more like a high school or even a middle school in terms of the faculty workload and credentialing—less in some cases, as we can hire teachers with just a baccalaureate degree for most classes.” That took Dan by surprise. He did not expect people with terminal degrees, but just baccalaureates? His smile began to fade.
“Let’s go meet your faculty,” Marvin cheerfully intoned while standing and motioning towards the door.” Dan rose, put down his now empty coffee cup on the side table, and walked behind Marvin a bit less sure about what he was about to get himself into than when he had walked into the office, but still optimistic despite the red flags popping up in the back of his mind.
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