Baa Ram U. featured again on NPR

Clark Bldg., with Historiann’s office highlighted in red. NPR photo by Becky Lettenberger.

Now, this is how you build a national reputation–prominent and flattering placement in free media, rather than building $250 million stadiums.  NPR’s Renee Montagne aired two interviews yesterday and today on Morning Edition featuring people connected to Colorado State University and its local community.  Yesterday morning, she spoke with CSU Political Science majors, and today she talked to local Latinas about the presidential election in our swing state.  And guess what?  Montagne didn’t come here because she had heard about the famously losing record of our famously losing football team with its famously overpaid coach! My guess is that she rooted her stories here because of the work of political scientist and local pundit John Straayer, a faculty member who built his 46 year long career here.

NPR visited a few weeks ago on an unusual rainy day, so the photo at left was probably taken on another day.  The view is of the Clark building, home of several departments in the College of Liberal Arts including Poli Sci and History.  In fact, the NPR photographer got a shot of my office window, highlighted in red at left.  (I must not have been on campus that day, as I usually have the narrow central window cranked open.) 

N.B.:  there’s a good reason they didn’t want to show you the inside!  Let’s just say that although Clark is a notorious eyesore and menace to the health, safety, and comfort of its denizens (who include faculty, students, and staff, as it is a building with both classrooms and departmental offices), we didn’t get a $250 million renovation.  All we got was an exterior paint job (which helped to a surprising degree), a new HVAC system (because the old one kept flooding faculty offices!), and new carpeting in some corridors that looks like it was a remainder from the Carpet Barn.


15 thoughts on “Baa Ram U. featured again on NPR

  1. PoliSci currently serves as a magnet for media. Two statistical models (Linzer from Emory and Wang from Princeton) predicting the result of the coming election garner repeated mention in the media. Curing cancer will give you a week of headlines only.

    Aesthetics and university buildings: most schools use the cousin three times removed of the Stalinist architectural style. “Your” Clark building may be the cream of the crop of Stalin’s descendants. There are exceptions. Recently I saw the vastly expanded UCSD campus. Some of the buildings, and the vast outside art, amazed me.


  2. At least you got new HVAC and have a window that opens. I work in a building with notoriously bad air curculation. My windowless office has been growing incrementally hotter for years. It is to the point that I must wear summer weight clothing year round, even with a fan going full blast. They say the building design is the problem, no amount of reconfiguration would help.

    Oh, and they turn the air circulation off entirely on weekends, I guess to save $.


  3. I *do* appreciate the window I can open and close. I can live with the cement-block faculty offices, but the charmless, windowless, lifeless, and soul-sucking classrooms in the C-wing really should be priority #1. The students notice these things and they resent the low priority that classroom instruction gets at BRU.

    On the bright side: I’ve come to enjoy my teaching even more now that it feels like a subversive hack-tivity.


  4. Huh, I’ll trade you my old dump, Kieft Hall, named after an ancient colonial administrator, and infrastructured as if he actually built it back in, when, 1643? No elevators, no smoke detectors or sprinklers, mummified ham sandwiches in the lockers (of which, more, anon), “Boys” and “Girls” rooms, peeling, asbestosy-looking paint, and that’s only the preamble. A legislator over in Dynastia Albania once was even talking about holding hearings. Then they ratified the Constitution and he was effectively out of the business. The low priority for classroom instruction (and stakeholder-wellbeing) is discipline-specific, in a laser-focused sort of a way that does not escape the attention of students. False consciousness pretty much forbids our acknowledging this.


  5. There is a crew replacing the roof on Reavis Hall at Northern Illinois, not far from my office. Yes, some classes have been moved to other buildings for the duration. The work is being done now because the leaks in the ceiling have finally exceeded the condemning limit. There are a few other notices of noncompliance posted by the Illinois building inspector.

    Reavis is office space for English, Women’s Studies, and Journalism. Revealed preference?


  6. A bit of trivia: Sam Wang at Princeton is a neuroscientist, not a political scientist (though he did at one point in the past have a science adviser/communicator role on the Hill, and statistics are, well, statistics). I think he’s done quite a number of pieces on the brain for the media — would be interesting to know if the brain or the statistical model gets more attention…


  7. heard the NPR radio interview with your poli-sci students…still chewing on the concept of the female Romney supporter who is also a women’s studies minor. cognitive dissonance, anyone?


  8. But profs, students and academics are so messy and hard to monetize whereas football will always get you a spot on the news!


    The “Arts Building” here at our campus, touted by admin as our province’s “academic resort” is a three-story corridor where you tread stately halls of mismatched linoleum and no window opens larger than a 10 inch by 10 inch square (levering out, facing down so the actual fresh air risk is pretty minimal).


  9. We keep on having meetings about “future facilities.” At the last one I finally brought up the major issues in our current facilities (broken chalkboards, media either broken or missing in classrooms, doors that won’t open, etc.) and was told that that was off topic. Seriously, we have these chalk boards that are supposed to move up and down, and both are supposed to get out of the way for projecting things. In one room none of this works, and the one section of black board that is on top wiggles too much to use. (And no, I can’t really use the doc cam because it projects onto a blackboard!) I don’t want to talk about “expanded facilities” in that context.


  10. What are these “windows” you speak of? (And should I be concerned that there have been three faculty deaths in 18 months among those who work in our warren of offices tucked half under the library?)


  11. Pingback: A clean, well-lighted place | Historiann

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