Field of Science

Post semester clean-up and end-of-the-semester rant

In addition to grading and grades, followed by tears and gripes, TPP's research lab and teaching classroom/lab are basically a pit.  The debris left over by a semester of student work is considerable.  Fortunately disposable petri dishes may just be disposed of.  OK, this isn't green, but it is ultra convenient.  Bits and pieces of student research projects either get removed or discarded as well.  Much of it was recycled material anyways.  Glasswear gets washed.  The refridgerator, oh, this can be very scary.  Maybe you've never had a lab fridge, but you don't want to put your lunch in there, although ours is safe for food, safe in a certified sense.  All sorts of slides and specimens must find their way back to there respective homes, their cabinets, drawers, and cupboards.  Most people have no idea how much of this stuff it takes to teach botany labs, but it takes up more space than the classroom itself.  This is why it's so helpful when a facility manager declares that "they [biolog] have plenty of room if they'd just throw out all the junk the keep around."  Yes, "all the junk" we use to put biology into the hot little hands of students. "All the junk" that makes us a university not a high school.  Remind me again why faculty must tolerate such morons?  Students come into two flavors with respect to general lab cleanup; those who take care of their own messes and trash, and those who expect someone else to follow them around and deal with it.  Whose apartment would you want to visit?  The fun part is rediscovering things you had sort of forgotten about.  It's like re-discovering a toy you hadn't played with in a great while. Some things have for unknown reasons taken a beating like the four balls of clay used to demonstrate a tetrad of spores and the fomation of trilete scars on the spore wall following meiosis.  Yes, clay.  What do you use?  Fortunately it can be remolded. And lastly you have to make a list of supplies and commodities that got used up so that when the new budget year arrives, and if some budget actually arrives with the new year, you can get replacements.  Lab stools dropped like flies having demonstrated that their have a 12 year useful half-life; exactly half the stools broke during the last 2 semester.  Wonder if we can get some new stools or continue to display a stool/chair museum.  This is the latest outrage in misguided and phoney baloney cost accounting.  Since the lab classroom is only used by our department, buying furniture for the lab is the dept's responsibility.  OK you can understand this, but, and this is a big BUT, the dept never gets any of the revenue the teaching generates.  So no tuition money to buy stools exists in the dept, but it's the dept's responsibility.  It must take the combined intellects of at least 3 assistant provosts to think of stuff like this.  Oh, so now TPP is back to grading.   

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