As an educator, I’m approached by students, alumni, colleagues, administration and outside parties through email…a ton. In fact, a big part of my after hours is spent on replying to all sorts of issues. Some big. Some small. Never anything in between, interestingly enough. But, the big ones are the ones I’m really proud of because it’s usually a moment where I can address a significant issue that relates to the professional development of my students…
…emails that provide a teachable moment that happens out of class, out of the designed curriculum and with no current place in my class itinerary: teaching in real-time, as I like to say.
I put a lot of care into every thing I do and, although trying to be informative, my secondary intention with these well considered emails is to impress upon my students the power of words and the value in articulating thought through written form.
EMAILS THAT KICK ASS are a collection of such correspondence…cut and pasted directly from my Outlook box, but with names changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty!
*NETIQUETTE part 2* is the unfortunate situation of having to hold my ground when the organization’s representative isn’t pleased with our extensive reasoning as to why RIT Glass is unable to accommodate their request (as covered in the previous ETKA Vol 9). A persistent reply to my previous email had obligated me to make yet another incredibly thorough case as to why our studios could not accommodate the request of this non-RIT organization to access our studios for a non-RIT educational opportunity involving glass.
Although an agitating circumstance, “NETIQUETTE part 2″ is an example of the kind of diplomatic negotiation I sometimes have with individuals and/or entities who are highly displeased with not getting what news they expected to hear...
Thank you for sharing your / RIT concerns. In my early conversations with [fellow organization board member and RIT connection], I understood that the RIT would like to harness new opportunities to bring the public onto campus in the hopes of generating and awareness of RIT’s schools to attract enrollment to the various schools. This [symposium] will be in tandem with an RIT exhibit at the University Gallery focusing on modern and contemporary [flatwork] in which we hope to engage the School of Architecture, Interior Design, Glass Department, CIMS, Structural Engineering and Graphic Design Departments in projects before their year end and maybe have an exhibit of student work which could perhaps remain on exhibit during the [symposium].. Involvement of the glass department and or the use of the kilns was a significant reason the [organization] was attracted to RIT as a [symposium] site.
Early on, one of the thoughts I had when I visited the studio and met [RIT Graduate student], TA, was that perhaps [the organization] could pay him to run a cold working workshop and possibly oversee use of the kilns for firing vitreous painted glass and fused glass workshops. As TA, Is [RIT Graduate student] an RIT employee? I did mention this as a possibility when I met him a few months ago while at RIT and he seemed interested in working with [the organization]. If not, is there another RIT employee willing to assist. [The organization] can budget for this. Are there other dates we can work around to make this a possibility? Is there the possibility the technician can begin his summer / year end maintenance with the furnaces in the hot shop and the cold shop equipment service can be scheduled around the [organization event], after?
We would love to have the glass department involved one way or another.
Here are a few thoughts based on your recent email:
[Fellow organization board member and RIT connection] is certainly right: RIT is always looking to harness new opportunities to bring the public onto campus in the hopes of generating an awareness of RIT’s schools to attract enrollment. As a program, we have a long legacy of outreach and exchange to both our glass and non-glass communities.
In fact, RIT Glass has demonstrated this value of providing opportunities to bring people on campus such as our annual Glass Pumpkin Patch sale, national and international glass program exchanges, CIAS Open House events, invitational high school outreach strategies, the annual CIAS College and Careers event workshops we offer, and the annual SAC Walkthrough just to name a few. However, these are opportunities that have been conceived, designed, and initiated by the faculty on our own accord... and based on an interest in serving the Institute, our College, and our School in ways that coincide with the educational objectives of our Program and our vision for its evolution.
If involvement with the RIT Glass department and making use of our studio was a significant reason that the [organization] was attracted to RIT as a [symposium] site, it would have been of great benefit to contact the faculty before committing to [Western New York region] as a Conference venue. Proposing these interests to the RIT Glass faculty prior to making RIT an official Conference destination could have initiated the conversations we're having now...which would, in turn, have allowed the [organization board] to potentially reconsider the [upcoming symposium] site based on our inability to provide our studios for any workshop opportunity.
In terms of having our Studio Technician delay his end-of-year studio maintenance, it isn't an option. He is an employee of CIAS who has been hired to conduct his duties under the direction and supervision of Facilities Management. Aside from being employed and managed by a CIAS entity beyond the Glass Department's jurisdiction, it is simply unimaginable to ask him to not do what his job obligates him to do. Secondly, the maintenance that he ends up needing to do once the studios are emptied for the Summer are of a great quantity...they are time-sensitive, never straight forward, and need to be accomplished well in advance of the beginning of the Fall term. Depending on the nature of his tasks, it could take all summer to get the equipment back to being in ship-shape and in working order. Delaying his work could subsequently disrupt our teaching the following Fall and, in turn, disrupt the learning of our students...students who are paying a hefty tuition to earn their degree with us.
I'm glad you were able to meet and speak with [Graduate Student]. He is an incredible guy and a promising talent. However, he is a graduate student going into his Thesis year this Fall...which means in late May of 2017 he will graduate from our program. Having accumulated all the necessary credits to fulfill his MFA, [Graduate Student] will no longer be enrolled as a student within CIAS and, therefore, have his access to the studios revoked shortly following Commencement. No longer being enrolled within CIAS also means that he will then become ineligible to be hired by CIAS as a student worker. In turn, any opportunity [Graduate Student] would have to be hired on as a TA by [your organization] for any [symposium-related] workshop wouldn't bypass the fact that CIAS policy doesn't allow for him to work within any of CIAS's facilities due to him neither being a CIAS employee or an enrolled CIAS student at the time of the [symposium].
Even if there was someone else we could provide to monitor/TA the workshop on behalf of the faculty, it wouldn't matter. The major contributing snag in making the studios of RIT Glass unavailable to host an [non-RIT symposium-based] workshop is based on the same policy stated above: none of the instructors [your organization] will hire to lead these workshops and none of the [members of your organization] who sign up to take these workshops will be CIAS employees or CIAS students enrolled within a CIAS summer course. For liability purposes, only CIAS employees or CIAS students enrolled within a CIAS summer course have permission to access CIAS studios, work within CIAS studios, and use CIAS equipment.
Again, I know it's not news you'd like to hear, but I think it's important that I, on behalf of all Glass faculty, make it clear that we cannot provide our studios and our space for a workshop during the [upcoming non-RIT related symposium] based on all the above...as well as what was written within my previous email.