Pull the plug and hide it


Our editorial staff was already moving at half speed this week – which, incidentally, didn’t result in any less output – but after today we’ll switch to summer mode. Others won’t be switching to that mode any time soon, especially lecturers with teaching duties at the start of next academic year. Their vacation will be shorter/more stressed/more uncertain (circle what applies) than normal. I hope that they’ll somehow manage to still find some tranquility and relaxation.

How much more resilience, flexibility and willingness to take responsibilities do our lecturers still have left? It’s a question every faculty dean and the Executive Board probably ask themselves as well on a regular basis. The issue was also brought up during the most recent meeting between the Executive Board and the university council. The Board once again repeated its by now familiar mantra: “We recognize it, we really do see it, and we ask managers to keep a close eye on it. But the works still needs to be done.”

All very true, but how does that help all those hard-working lecturers as they slog away at their teaching duties? The only thing that might ease their pain somewhat is the fact that they’ve by now become quite efficient at digitalizing their teaching material (comes in handy for after the crisis), and that their presentation skills have probably increased.

But many of them want to be confronted with their students face-to-face again, and ask their colleagues at the coffee machine how they are doing. Because now you mostly spend your meetings with colleagues trying to see what books they have on the shelves behind them, or you’re can just catch a glimpse of a drying rack with a few boxer shorts hanging on it.

A significant number of auxiliary staff members, too, will be working during the summer holidays to make the one-and-a-half-meter university a reality. An interesting problem concerning this issue was brought to my attention this week. How will all these people get to the higher floors of Atlas, Flux or Vertigo in the near future? Packed together like sardines in an elevator won’t be an option, and the waiting times for the elevator in Atlas, for example, was a source of complaint before the crisis already.

I hear that a consultancy firm from The Hague will help us with this. Footsteps will be placed in the elevators on which users need to stand. Back to back, faces directed to the wall. Just when you’re finally back on campus, you’re not allowed to look each other in the eye on the elevator, and you’re forced to talk through the back of your neck. Those of us who are in good physical shape take the stairs of course.

In short, it needs some getting used to, even when it comes to planning a vacation. And when we carefully start again with an Intro in August - which will also take on quite a different guise this year - we can only hope that the rules will have loosened a bit, so that we at least get the impression that things are returning back to normal.

We at Cursor pull the plug for now, and I think I’ll be sure to hide mine from sight carefully. Adieu!

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