Abstract—In a typical university, a fulltime instructor
teaches from three to fifteen hours a week. For a teaching
university, this may even be as much as eighteen hours a week,
up to 50% of the standard working time. During non-classroom
hours, an instructor has many duties - advising students,
committee meetings, conducting research, evaluating student
work, and preparing for future class meetings, as well as
serving as a community liaison. Much of the time, an
instructor's office remains empty - a place simply to store books
and papers. With a large proportion of empty offices during
teaching times, and with a faculty becoming more
technology-savvy, combined with perennially decreasing
education budgets, it makes sense to revisit the traditional,
cellular faculty office (the ivory tower) and consider
alternatives that can both maintain a good academic workspace
and make optimal use of resources (activity-based workspaces,
or ABW). Unfortunately, many instructors loathe giving up
their traditional office space, as it signifies status as well as a
sanctuary away from students and colleagues. The tension
between collaboration and privacy is difficult to resolve. As
academic models change, case studies and best practices of
successful projects present a path to faculty ABW. This paper
reviews the academic tradition of a single or shared, enclosed
university office space. It takes a forward-looking approach to
activity-based workspaces– a concept that will be commonplace
in the coming decade as Millenials start academic careers - and
reviews supporting practices in industry as well as academia.
Finally, this paper presents best practices and
recommendations for transitioning faculty to open, shared and
Index Terms—Activity based workspace, faculty office, shared workspace.
Dolly Samson is with the Stamford International University, Bangkok, Thailand (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite:Dolly Samson, "From the Ivory Tower to Activity Based Workspaces," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 624-626, 2013.