When I recently returned to my department after a decade in administration, I looked forward to reconnecting with former colleagues, getting to know the grad students, going to lectures and colloquia, teaching undergrads, and yes, even serving on departmental committees. But when I moved into my faculty office and began my work schedule, I had only one question as I looked around my department: Where did everybody go?
A 10-year absence presented a fairly stark before-and-after picture of a very real transformation that is happening on our campuses. Many faculty rarely come into their offices anymore.
Entire departments can seem like dead zones, and whole days can pass with only a glimpse of a faculty member as someone comes to campus to meet a student, attend a meeting, or teach a class. The halls are eerily quiet. Students, having figured this out, are also absent. Only the staff are present.