Friday, January 20, 2012


     CAFÉ BIBLIOTHÈQUE. I've just returned from sabbatical, and so I was a little surprised to discover—yesterday, at a senate meeting—that the IVC Academic Senate's so-called CAFÉ concept is alive and well. You'll recall that the Academic Senate's President, Lisa Davis Allen, has long championed this idea, which, a year or so ago, was explained during Senate meetings as follows:
[Academic Senate President] Lisa [Davis Allen] had an idea and has full support from [VPI] Craig [Justice]. The concept is a space, a home, for faculty to gather, to be trained, with cabinets [to] house text books, journals, a place for colleagues to talk, a place to explore and test new software and technology, a place to do grant writing, – all things that relate to excellence in ... teaching – a place to house people, technology, and support all in one place. We would be able to go into a space/place and meet with peers, discuss teaching, problems, strategies. It would be wide open. A morale booster of sorts.
     Later, the planned facility took on the acronym "CAFÉ" (i.e., the "Center for the Advancement of Faculty Éxcellence")—an unfortunate moniker, since it inspired the notion among some non-faculty that the faculty, and only faculty, would soon have their own, well, café!
     But it's not a café. OK? It's a "faculty excellence" center. No waitresses or waiters. No goofy little round tables and awnings. Maybe a coffee machine. A Mr. Coffee.
     Slightly better informed non-faculty were put out, not by the notion that faculty would soon have their own restaurant, but by the apparent fact that the CAFÉ, whatever its nature, was to replace a seriously nice space (in the fancy BSTIC building) that had for years been devoted to students (namely, the MRC). Now, as far as I know, in fact, the elimination/move of the MRC was a development independent of the appearance of the Senate's CAFÉ — it had more to do, I think, with disastrous irregularities that had been discovered in the manner in which faculty ran labs in certain areas on campus. Or perhaps it reflected simply an effort to bring back that space to the use for which it was intended (Craig Justice). Whatever the cause, the move to eliminate or move the MRC did not come about simply because faculty insisted on having some goofy faculty center.
     The anti-CAFÉ (or anti-CAFÉ at MRC) backlash in August was so strong, I guess, that the decision to locate the dang thing in that seriously cool space in BSTIC was reversed. From afar, it seemed that the "faculty space" or  CAFÉ  idea had been killed.
     But no. Yesterday, during the semester's first Academic Senate meeting, I learned that the CAFÉ idea is alive and well and the facility will in fact be located on the first floor of the IVC Library, where the old "Learning Center" used to be. (Gosh, I wonder where that operation has gone to?)
     Check out the pics above and below.

The Academic Senate crew hasn't had a chance to rearrange the deck chairs yet.
One of two offices in the CAFÉ space. I call this the "Captain's Quarters."
Another office in the space. I'm guessing this will be the office of the sommelier
     Yesterday, I asked LDA if the Senate had hired waitresses yet. She seemed to take that in good humor. Yuk, yuk, yuk.
     I also asked if some effort would be made to provide space for part-timers. As on previous occasions, LDA answered that the CAFÉ is for faculty, and part-time faculty are, of course, faculty. QED.
     Part-timers, are you reading this? I've got just one thing to say.
     Are you feelin' me?

     WHAT'S SMALL, DREARY, AND PACKED WITH VAST EMPTINESS? Also today I had occasion to visit IVC's Administration Building. Oddly, inside, it is a vast empty space surrounded by (mostly) enclosed offices.
     I don't get it. Is this vast empty space a dancehall or something? Is it a space reserved for those dang "Amazing Invention" kids? Maybe it's where Glenn plans to land the next time he jumps out of an airplane, dunno.

     COLD, METALLIC & INDECISIVE. Another interesting new feature of our campus is new signage. The new signs are everywhere, and I bet they're pricey.
     I haven't yet decided whether I like these signs. The style is a tad cold and even lurid. Encountering one of these signs is like finding a wedge of titanium in one's organic ramen.

     LANG'S HOBBY. Upon visiting the IVC Library, I noticed a display in the entrance area. Evidently, Trustee (and vicious backstabber) David Lang is a baseball fan, or maybe more specifically a fan of the old Negro Leagues. Check out these pics.

     It's a pretty cool collection, I guess, even if Lang is the worst kind of back-stabbing opportunist.

     GREAT LAWN. Here's another IVC construction project—something called the "Great Lawn." This looks pretty cool. I hope they're not payin' too much for it. My dad coulda done it for 'em cheap.

     ADMINISTRATIVE POSIES. I happened upon Dean of Academic Programs Kathleen Werle, who was holding a small planter of proto-flowers. —Something about some kind of Chinese or Vietnamese festival coming up. Not sure.
     These bulbs haven't sprouted yet. But it's always good to see people who are into posies and such and who are willing to spruce up the campus.

The former Media Resource Center (MRC) in BSTIC. No CAFÉ here 


Anonymous said...

How many times in the past ten years have they remodeled A-100? Has anyone seen the price ticket on that ego-driven project? They deliver new office furniture and cart away the old which is of course not nearly as old as the office furniture say in the A-200 building or the B-200 building. Why not donate your "old" office furniture to your fellow staff and teachers? Pretty please?

Meanwhile the buildings surrounding A-100 in which hundreds of students are taught are an embarrassment - has anyone who spends days in A-100 ever visited the A-300 classrooms? Come on over.

That CAFE should be turned over to part-timers for office space and USED.


(They didn't ask about any of this on their recent employee satisfaction survey. Working conditions - pretty basic, right?)

Anonymous said...

I wish my classroom looked as nice as the empty cafe or all the empty classrooms in BSTIC.

Anonymous said...

Notice how everything on campus is moved back and forth without reason? Given the current fiscal situation, we should think about how much it costs to move services and programs around willy-nilly. I don't have time to go to the cafeteria, let alone the cafe.

Anonymous said...

A100 has the most closed off feeling for what should be administrators in open and transparent offices practicing open and transparent leadership.

Anonymous said...

Hey, bring the CAFE to Saddleback: we'd welcome it after we secure places for students to study, to work.

Anonymous said...

I believe Lang's baseball exhibit has been in the Library for several years now. Visit the Library much, bvt?

Anonymous said...

A-100 - a game of hide 'n seek! Jeez. I think it has been remodeled at least 3 times in 8 years but who is counting? The current incarnation suggest no one wants to anyone they work with. Talk about bad feng shui. (How about those sad plants outside Glen's office window?)

I DO like the new signs though they should now remove the old ones that now contradict the new ones and fix the few typos on the new ones.

The CAFE should be dedicated office space for part-timers. As is, it will be empty space for fulltimers who are too busy to take part in whatever it is the CAFE if offering...

Anonymous said...

It's true - the Lang stuff has been there for YEARS. Perhaps the new staff is too scared to suggest shifting it out. I would be.

The cabinets in A-100 have displays that have been up for YEARS as well.

B. von Traven said...

1:21, I just returned to campus after being away since May of last year. Now that I think about it, I think I wrote about that baseball exhibit previously on these pages--cuz, as a matter of fact, I do get to the library quite often.

Anonymous said...

I actually think that the new library staff HAS spruced up the display cabinets (dusting, rearranging, etc) but what to DO with a trustee's baseball toys? I don't think his wife wants them in the house. maybe it's time to let Saddleback library show them off for a decade or so.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever used the Cafe?

Anonymous said...

Your faculty senate sounds like it's totally out of touch with reality. Your admin is providing classes for high school students while cutting the class schedule? And your senate is focused on a center for excellence or whatever. Wow! Is this the same senate that formerly led the state in the past? Are you guys going to get a new senate that has a clue? Is your faculty embarrassed yet? After reading about your senate in the past, I can't believe what you all are talking about when the state is adopting regs rationing classes and restricting access for our students. Totally amazing. Good luck with that stupid center.

Anonymous said...

This center is the legacy of the current Senate prez. I won't say what the final legacy of the last one was.

Our college president is in love with the Early College program - you can draw your own conclusions.

Everyone else is too busy doing SLOs, program review, curriculum revision and teaching to pay much attention to anything else - which is of course the VPI's plan.

B. von Traven said...

Could we please stay on the high road? Good grief.

Anonymous said...

Yes, our Senate has failed us, big time!

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