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G&P deans should work on parking crunch

(12/02/10 11:32am)

In the past few weeks, we all have heard about the immediate and pressing dilemmas facing Parking and Transportation Services, particularly in regards to parking and bussing around West Campus. The increased demand from higher numbers of students has happened concurrently with a decrease in services, a decline stemming from a decision by the University administration to protect provost-area academic funding during the economic decline and instead make cuts in Central Services—one area being the heavily subsidized PTS. I think this move was the right one, but it does mean that we need to examine even more closely how we can make do with our limited resources. With that in mind, I urge the graduate and professional school deans, who have the most leverage in these negotiations, to take an even greater interest in addressing some of these problems.

Administrators should be on campus for Labor Day

(09/07/10 5:07am)

I enjoy teaching my classes: that is why I didn’t mind coming in Monday for Labor Day to teach. Not only was my class full, no absences, but my colleagues were there, teaching their own classes and holding office hours. I also rode the bus, found the library open and took advantage of available food services—the campus was bristling with activity. However, when I made the climb from my classroom on the first floor of Allen up to the second floor of the University administration that afternoon, I found the lights off, hallways vacant. I knocked on doors and got no answers. It was clear that everyone was off for the holiday, as has been the case for most, if not all, of the Labor Days since I have been at Duke. Now, I would not suggest that anyone be forced to work on Labor Day—it is, after all, a national holiday. Nor do I know what those administrators were doing that day—for all I know, they were working at home, or off on a retreat or simply left before I came by. However, it seems a little inconsistent with what I know of effective management to take the day off while your employees have to work. Ergo, I would suggest, for unity’s sake, that the administration consider at least making themselves visible on the holiday, especially if faculty and students are here, enjoying the beautiful weather out the window while sitting under the fluorescent lights of a classroom.

Don't forget G&P students

(08/30/10 11:28am)

The school year has not yet started and The Chronicle seems to have already forgotten that the largest number of students on campus are the graduate and professional students. I have spent the past few weeks welcoming the largest class of G&P students yet to Duke, a vibrant and diverse group of students who will define this University for years to come—not just in our research and teaching, but also through our involvement in campus life events (and not just from September to April). I was dismayed to see that this largest group of Cameron Crazies is practically invisible in the first two issues of The Chronicle this year. While a full page spread announces the DSG student leadership for orientation (Aug. 23), not a single mention of the Graduate & Professional Student Council, let alone the other large professional student governments, can be found in the entire issue. While in the same issue we hear that the a “record class will strain East dorms,” we don’t hear that this class has pushed incoming international graduate students off campus entirely; we learn that the University moved up in U.S. News ratings and that “Duke is tied for ninth place in the updated list of national universities offering doctoral degrees,” but there is no mention of those programs that define the category. And, though we hear President “Brodhead welcome[d] the largest class ever” (Aug. 26) on Wednesday morning, The Chronicle completely neglects the fact that he and Dean Jo Rae Wright, vice provost and dean of the graduate school, also welcomed graduate and professional students that same afternoon with moving and exciting speeches. G&P students are here on campus, participating in student activities, using your housing guide and writing excellent columns in your student daily (Liz Bloomhardt’s “Green Devil,” for example). In sum, I would like to present a friendly reminder from the G&P population to the Chronicle staff and undergraduate student population: Don’t forget about us! We are bigger than you, and many of us grade your papers.