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IJIET 2013 Vol.3(6): 624-626 ISSN: 2010-3689
DOI: 10.7763/IJIET.2013.V3.349

From the Ivory Tower to Activity Based Workspaces

Dolly Samson

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 non-territorial workspaces.

Index Terms—Activity based workspace, faculty office, shared workspace.

Dolly Samson is with the Stamford International University, Bangkok, Thailand (e-mail: dolly@stamford.edu).


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.

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Jon-Chao Hong
  • Managing Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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