Who is winning at academia?Posted: March 12, 2014
I recently visited a fantastical realm called “facilities administration” to inquire about renovating a small room. I left the 50 year old linoleum tile and concrete of my building and made my way to their offices, to meet with an engineer, an electrician, an architect, an HVAC specialist, a grants office representative, a building manager, and 3 people with interchangeable titles related to “project management.” I left campus to go to the CBD office tower where this department is housed, along with law offices and banks. I was greeted by a receptionist at an 18 foot desk, and sat in an armchair in a well-appointed reception area. Someone’s assistant (in a suit) came and escorted me through an electronically locked glass door. We sat on Aeron chairs in a conference room where the screen’s descent from the ceiling, the projector, lighting, and two (2) sets of window shades (should we want to shield ourselves either 50% or 100% from a view of the city skyline) were controlled from a touch screen on the wall. In the seminar room nearest my lab we use cinder blocks painted white as a screen. The window is covered with construction paper. In the end, I paid them handsomely to conclude that I could not afford their services. Mostly, I can’t figure out how it is that we work for the same institution.