The Shakespeare Requirement

By Schumacher, Julie | Phi Kappa Phi Forum, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

The Shakespeare Requirement


Schumacher, Julie, Phi Kappa Phi Forum


Economics Department to Celebrate Grand Reopening of Willard Hall

--by Madelyn Rao

The Campus Scribe (September 3, 2010): Payne University's economists will soon be toasting the completion of a yearlong renovation of Willard Hall, celebrating with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception hosted by Econ Department chair Roland R. Gladwell.

"It was a long and difficult year," said Professor Gladwell, reached in his spacious new office. "The second floor of the building was gutted, and we had to beg a year's lodging from our friends in Geology. But you can see that the result is well worth it." The Economics Department's portion of Willard Hall now includes state-of-the-art technology-enhanced classrooms, a fully equipped computer lab, elegant seminar and meeting rooms, faculty offices, and a cafe.

Stunning mosaic tile floors and skylights were underwritten by the Morse Foundation; digital LCD wall displays were donated by philanthropist-alum Bill Fixx.

Asked to comment on the nearly completed project, University President Nyla Hoffman praised Payne's corporate and private donors and said she looks forward "to a renewed era of growth for the Department of Economics, a jewel in the crown here at Payne."

Willard Hall is also home to the Department of English, which occupies the lower floor.

On the first--unrenovated--floor of Willard Hall, Jason T. Fitger, recently elected chair of the Department of English, stuffed his copy of The Campus Scribe into the shredder. He had recently returned from a visit to Econ's portion of the building, where he had been mistaken by one of the clerical staff for a vagrant or tourist--another gawker come to admire the hot-and-cold water fountains and Orwellian flat-screens, the espresso bar, and the sunshine filtering gracefully through the skylights and casting itself in subtle patterns on the tile floor. Descending the stairs again to English, he left behind a silent, air-conditioned Erewhon and reentered the grim and steamy underworld that served as heart and soul, at Payne, of the liberal arts.

Muttering, Fitger flipped the switch on the shredder. Nothing. His office--the entire administrative "suite," or English Department headquarters--was barbarically hot, and he had just spent forty minutes duct-taping a rusted, squeaking fan in his window and tracking down a series of extension cords (the outlets in his office were only sporadically working) which, end to end, snaked their way to a distant receptacle in the hall. He'd had to prop his window open with a dictionary and several rolls of toilet paper: due to two broken sash cords, it functioned more or less as a guillotine.

Careful not to yank the fan from his window, Fitger crawled under his desk to fiddle with the plug on the shredder. The semester--including his own freshman class on "The Literature of Apocalypse"--would begin in four days. Sweat cascading down the neck of his shirt, he reminded himself that there were benefits to being head of the department: his new office did not abut the men's room; his teaching duties consisted of two classes pet year instead of five; and he had been granted permission to select from a glossy catalog an ergonomic chair that, should the photo turn out to be accurate, would not be crisscrossed with electrical tape that adhered to his pants. Still, these perks were a handful of penny candy sprinkled over a minefield: English, one of the most ungovernable academic units at Payne, had a reputation for discord and dysfunction going back forty years. Fitger's predecessor, Ted Boti, recruited during a moment of administrative despair from the Sociology Department, had abandoned his post after only nine months, racing out of the office as if his head were on fire. He had bequeathed to Fitger a scrim of dead insects on the desk, a defunct computer, and a file cabinet containing a Sudoku puzzle book, eleven pencil stubs, and a tube of psoriasis cream. …

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