Graduate Theological Society

February 22, 2006

Comments on David Dunn’s letter to Jimmy Byrd

Filed under: Uncategorized — graduatetheology @ 12:39 pm

From:
Graduate Theological Society
Vanderbilt University
Josh Davis
David Dault
David J. Dunn
To:
blah blah
blah blah blah
The following proposal, offered at the invitation of Professor Byrd, is an attempt to offer
a solution to a problem often noted and variously expressed among Vanderbilt’s PhD
students, a problem that will be exacerbated by the loss of carol space at the library.
Even the careless observer will note the lack of a space designated for use by PhD
students in the GDR. We congregate in the refectory until the lunch rush hits. Teaching
fellows meet hold office hours with their students in empty classrooms. While the lounge
is intended to be a place where students can study and hold meetings, it cannot
accommodate both. Students end up competing over whether to use it for meetings or
quiet study. It is certainly not a place where students go to relax (the room is too
“stuffy”).
While none of us is glad to see Dan and the bookstore go, we recognize that his departure
presents the GDR with an opportunity to expand the current GDR lounge. While the
details of such an expansion will need to be worked out in further meetings, we envision
a space that first of all can give GDR students a place to congregate and relax. This
would certainly require some of the décor to be cleaned up and updated, perhaps
including some hardy plants, small fridge for lunches, and a microwave. Second, many
GDR’s studying for exams or working on dissertations find the carol space at the library
to be indispensable. Since the renovation will include the removal of those carols, the
GDR could install private carol space in what is currently the bookstore. These need not
all be carols with doors that close, but may also include office cubicles. Finally, we
would be interested in seeing if any remaining space could be used for a shared TF office,
a place where teaching fellows could meet privately with their students on a rotating
schedule. Such a place would be more recognizable to our students, give us more
credibility, and help maintain the confidentiality of our students more than the open tables
at the crowded refectory.
CONCLUDE

8 Comments »

  1. This looks good to me. One thing: I am sure that the spelling “carol” is not right. I think it is “carrel.”

    Comment by Nate — February 22, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

  2. Yes, very good. One thing I’m not clear on – are you suggesting renovation of the existing lounge *and* installing carrells in the bookstore space (two separate rooms, in other words), or merging both into one larger dual-purpose space?

    NB: typo on line six (“meet hold”).

    Comment by Travis — February 23, 2006 @ 9:37 am

  3. Dave, I would change the sentence beginning “Even the careless observer…” to something like, “We PhD students have felt for a long time that there is a lack of sufficient space for our scholastic work and duties.” Followed by the examples of the refectory, empty classroos, and the lounge. What you have said about the lounge being too stuffy could be fleshed out a bit with something positive i.e., we would like to use it as a place congregate and discuss our ideas, work, etc., but the space itself, sadly, is not conducive to that. Finally, I think that something of an imperative for this should be noted- one in which we state something like, “This will no doubt contribute to your investment in us insofar as it will contribute to our own professionalization” – something (and do not include this) that you do not, as of now, appear to be too invested in — being the implication, of course.

    That’s just my two cents. Excellent. Thanks for taking this on, Dave.

    Comment by Josh Davis — March 2, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  4. Round two, written with my daughter tugging at me. This will go out very soon. I wasn’t sure how to sign it. I could just sign it “Graduate Theological Society”

    From:
    Graduate Theological Society
    Vanderbilt University
    David Dault
    Josh Davis
    David Dunn

    To:
    James P. Byrd, Ph.D.
    Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Studies
    Vanderbilt University
    Nashville, TN 37240

    The following proposal addresses a problem regularly experienced by Vanderbilt’s PhD students, one which will be exacerbated by the loss of carrel space at the library.

    We PhD students have felt for a long time that there is a lack of sufficient space for our scholastic work and duties. We congregate in the refectory until the lunch rush hits, we hold office hours with our students in empty classrooms, and while the lounge is intended to be a place where students can study and hold meetings, it cannot accommodate both.

    None of us is glad to see Dan and the bookstore go, but his departure presents an opportunity to expand the GDR lounge. While the details of such an expansion need to be worked out in future meetings, we would like to create a space to congregate and discuss our ideas, work, etc., but the space itself, sadly, is not conducive to that. Along with updated décor, appliances, work and meeting space, we envision a lounge that connects to office and study space occupying the former bookstore. Carrel space at the library is indispensable for many many GDR students preparing for exams or working on dissertations. Since the renovation will include the removal of those carrels, the GDR could install its own private carrels, perhaps in the form of office cubicles with locking desks. Any remaining space could be a shared office for Teaching Fellows to schedule regular office hours or student appointments. Such an office would make us more credible with our students and would also be more conducive to preserving their confidentiality than our current (improvised) office spaces. The creation of this space will no doubt contribute to your investment in us insofar as it will contribute to our own professionalization.

    Regards,

    David Dault
    Josh Davis
    David Dunn
    Graduate Theological Society

    Comment by Dave Dunn — March 4, 2006 @ 4:00 pm

  5. I don’t know if the gradutate theological society is necessary – not because I have a problem with it, but I am not sure that hte GTS is actually signing onto this. Perhaps you could send out a general email with the letter in the body, to participant in GTS, and see that they think.

    Comment by Josh Davis — March 6, 2006 @ 6:00 pm

  6. Pardon, that should read: “you could send out a general email, with the letter in the body, to participants in GTS and see what they think.”

    Comment by Josh Davis — March 7, 2006 @ 12:25 am

  7. I have no problem appending my name to this letter as part of the GTS, in helping to lend corporate support to these efforts.

    Comment by Nate — March 7, 2006 @ 12:51 am

  8. Ok. Well unless there are objections I will do the following. I will remove GTS and add Nate Kerr. That way it is corporate but not officially corporate. Unless there are objections, this letter will go out tomorrow.

    Comment by Dave Dunn — March 7, 2006 @ 12:36 pm


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