Friday, November 05, 2010

It's 10 PM. Do You Know Where Your Colleagues Are?

Presumably, if you are a professor in a small department, you know where your colleagues live. If you are in a medium-sized department (more than 15ish but less than 40ish faculty), you may or may not know. So my question, which is primarily aimed at professors in medium-sized departments, is:

Do you know where all of your colleagues live?

You don't need to have been to their homes or even know their exact street or color of their house. You can answer 'yes' if you know the eighborhood of residence of each of your colleagues, or at least a fairly specific geographic area in which they live.

I am specifying medium-sized departments because I am assuming that there are department sizes at which the question isn't even sort of interesting, either because there are so few faculty or so many.

I am in a meidum-sized department, and realized today that I sort of know where all my colleagues live, with one exception.

I think I acquired a lot of this knowledge early in my career in my present department, as that is the time when new colleagues are invited to dinner, even if such invitations become inconceivable later when you and some of your colleagues develop major differences of opinion about certain departmental issues and would therefore never voluntarily invite each other to visit.

And of course faculty move, but such moves are a common topic of inter-faculty conversation, so it's not difficult to keep track of the real estate adventures of colleagues.

Some days I am in the mood for a poll; some days I prefer to leave questions more open. Today is an open-question-mood kind of day, and I am wondering how well other faculty know the residential details of their colleagues in a non-small but non-huge department.

And, depending on the answer, what do you think this says about the level of collegiality in your department? Is it an indicator of collegiality (if you know where your colleagues live) or a lack thereof (if you don't)? Or is it unrelated to collegiality; e.g., merely an indicator of the level of obsession with real estate in particular regions of the country?

I don't want to exclude too many readers from this query, though, so if you are in a huge department, you could answer anyway, either for the entire department or based on a sub-section of the department, and if you are a grad student or postdoc, you could comment on whether you know where your adviser/supervisor lives (and for students, where your committee members live). Or, if you are in a small department and don't know where your colleagues live, feel free to contradict the presumption I made at the beginning of this post.

40 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Small department. I've been to one colleague's house, know the neighborhoods of four others, know the cities of two others, and have no idea about the remaining three.

Lest you think that we have 11 and that isn't such a small department, I should point out that one is emeritus, one is an HHMI investigator, and another is only 20% in our department with no teaching responsibilities for the department, so for teaching purposes, we have 8 except that several routinely buy out of half their classes or have reduced load for other reasons.

Anonymous said...

Grad student, small department. I know exactly where all of the professors in my department live, and I have some idea about where the professors in departments I interact with often live.

Anon R1 Dean said...

I'll start you with a very big "department": as a dean with of order 200 faculty in my unit, I could probably get close on 90-95%. In my medium sized home department I'd get 100% for neighborhood, with exact house for at least 90%.

Anonymous said...

I'm in a largish (~70 faculty) department with a variety of subgroups within it. I know where all of the colleagues in my discipline (~15) live, where all of the faculty in my cohort (~20) live, and where everyone who I have or conceivably could collaborate with lives (another ~15), in addition to a few random faculty that don't fit these categories. So, well more than half of the total faculty. Social events at each other's homes, defense parties at advisor's houses, and homemade dinners/BBQs for job candidates are all fairly standard in our department. I would say it's indicative of the collegiality that I think is the hallmark of our department.

Anonymous said...

In a dept of 25, I know where 9/10 women live but only 4/25 men. It might be because my sub-group has more women, but also because it is easier to socialise and discuss non-work things with the other women.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the one mysterious colleague whose residence whereabout you do not know. Is there something special about this person? Is it someone who is especially reserved about their personal life?

Anonymous said...

I am in my 3rd year of a TT position. There are 16 faculty in my department. I know where everyone lives, and have actually been to 6 of the houses.

Nicole said...

I know where most of my colleagues live in general. But... it's a small town with not many non-studenty places to live. So if they live in my neighborhood I sometimes see them biking around. If they don't live in my neighborhood then there's one other neighborhood to live in if they have kids. If they don't have kids, they're more likely to have entertained since we got here.

AnthroChick said...

Just-graduated PhD here. I've been to my advisor's house several times (only for department functions, though), house-sat for a member of my committee, and have been to two other committee members' houses once (course-related function). I don't have any clue, though, where my committee member from another department (a late add-on) lives, even down to the city.

(I was in a medium-sized department, but one where members of my subspecialty were collegial and had their own functions separate from the department as a whole, so those professors/grad students I know quite well.)

Anonymous said...

I am at a University in New York City. I am joint in 2 departments, one has ~20 faculty, the other is in the 30-40 range (depending how you count various types of joint appointments).

I certainly don't know the neighborhood or even town where most live, of the suburban people. I think for the city people I roughly do. I do know who lives in the suburbs vs. city, mostly at least, and in most cases with the suburban people I know which general suburban area (i.e., Jersey, Long Island, Westchester).

Prof-like Substance said...

I'm in a medium department, and although I probably couldn't go knock on everyone's door, I have a decent idea of where others in my department live. I've been to at least half of their houses. I would say that my department get along well enough, without major divisions or blood feuds.

Anonymous said...

It surprised me as a grad student the first time I went to my advisor's house for a party she was having for our group. Like, this is my advisor's HOUSE! Where she LIVES! She has had a few group dinners there, potlucks, which I think is really nice. And at one point I had a meeting with her there because she was in the final stages of pregnancy and it was uncomfortable for her to trek to campus. I like this aspect of my relationship with my advisor, actually... it makes it seem more friendly and informal and less bossly. (Although one of my advisor's flaws is that she is friendly and informal almost to a fault and doesn't manage things much at all, so make of that what you will.)

Namnezia said...

In my department of 16 I could point out where 15 of them live down to the level of region within a neighborhood. One I have no idea where he lives, and another I had no idea until recently, when I found out she lives in a boat!

Anonymous said...

I'm a 2nd year grad student in a department of 14 professors or so, and thanks to department parties, I've been to the houses of five of them. I know the neighborhoods of the rest of them, except for the two older male professors I have deliberately avoided and one sessional professor. We live in a large city, so I think this is pretty good (especially since most professors don't tend to live near the campus).

EcoPhysioMichelle said...

My department has ~50 faculty, and I only know where 3 live.

I know the approximate neighborhood of my advisor, since I know he lives close to a particular Greek restaurant where we take invited speakers.

I know where my department chair lives since the new graduate student reception was at his house.

I believe one faculty member that I have little interaction with lives in my neighborhood, because when I worked a nearby ice cream parlor as an undergrad, she always took her kids there.

The grad students, on the other hand... I know where most of them live. :)

FSGrad said...

Grad student, small dept. I know where my committee members live and have been to their houses frequently. I'd say I know exactly where half of the rest of the faculty live, and roughly where most of the rest of them are.

Sally said...

Medium department here, bumps up to large if you include research scientists. I know where roughly 1/2 of my colleagues live down to the neighborhood, and I know the exact street address of a few. But I've only been here for a year.

Anonymous said...

Grad student; I know where all my committee members and some other professors live within an accuracy of about a couple of blocks.

DrugMonkey said...

don't know, don't care. for the vast majority of my department. Don't know where my lab staff lives either.


Dudes, this is professional work, not Care Bears Dinner Party tyme..

Anonymous said...

I have two colleagues who live on the same street as me, so I know those for sure, as well as the biologist, the admin guy.......

For the rest in my department, ca 30, it's no surprise to find that there is a direct link between my knowledge of where they live and whether I am on friendly terms with them. I.e. some colleagues I count as friends, I socialise with them and know where they live. Whilst there are others I don't care for personally, don't know or want to know where they live. Most are somehwere in between, but I guess this is the same in every work place? (N.B. for an t= data point, which is important in asking this question, I have been in this place ca 15 years)

GMP said...

Faculty, mid-size dept (~40 faculty). I don't know where most of my colleagues live. I've been to the houses of 4 of them, and I have a general idea where the houses of maybe 3 or 4 others are, but for most I have no idea. The department is friendly enough, but everybody minds their own business and there's not much socializing. My collaborators are outside the department, I know where most of them live.

Anonymous said...

Of course I know where they live -- they all live on the internet at 10 PM!

Anonymous said...

Around 15 faculty, and I know where most, but not all, live. I've been to about half of the faculty homes at some point. We have really poor conviviality, but that is not a reflection on our excellent collegiality. It definitely leaves a certain something lacking, though... I'd say we are excellent and friendly colleagues, but we are not close friends. I wish we were.

Anonymous said...

I know where most of my colleagues in a department of 14 or so TT faculty live. I used to think this is a good thing. Then I noticed the role of personal ties in some hiring and evaluation decisions, and the way that people tolerate mediocrity in friends. Now, well, I like hanging out with many of them, but I wish that hanging out didn't play a factor in these decisions.

Usually I use a screen name here, but I think I need to stay anon for this one.

Anonymous said...

Medium-sized and collegial department. I'm a grad student, but I know where a number of faculty live because I'm at a similar life-stage (have a young child) to many faculty and have asked for advice about things like pediatricians, child care, etc. which are locality specific. Other (older life-stage) faculty have hosted pan-department events, as well. I've been to the houses of most both co-advisors and most of my committee.

Anonymous said...

I'm science faculty in a mid-sized department at a high-profile research intensive university. I know where a good number of them live locally, but where they are at 10 PM on any given night? -- probably about 40-50% are in an airport somewhere.....!

Anonymous said...

Mid-size department (~40-50 faculty) and I know where 7 of the faculty live. I'm a new faculty member, but I did my PhD in this department. Five were on my committee or involved with the degree program, the 6th has a child in the same daycare as my son, and the 7th was a postdoc at the same time I was grad student and is a good friend. We don't have outside of work functions for the faculty that I know of thus far, although I really wish we did.

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the post title, I thought this was going to be about Assistant Professors wondering if they are the only ones still working at 10 PM, while all the tenured-folks are asleep or having fun!

Can you write about people's work habits (and how they stretch the description of them to co-workers) - if you haven't already?

Anonymous said...

I know where a couple colleagues live but not many. I'm in a mid to small department. Why don't I know more? Partly because I'm new and so don't know many of them well and partly because no one seems to socialize. I've only even been invited out to coffee by one colleague. Very different from previous departments, and not in a good way :(

Anonymous said...

I am in a ~45 faculty department. I've been to the homes of 4 of them, and I have a vague idea where 2 other live. I have no clue abut the rest (I live in a very large and spread city).

Anonymous said...

10 PM? Most of my colleagues will be in front of their computers. Unlike during the day, you will get a reply to an email that needs one within minutes if not seconds. And that seems to hold for all my colleagues, locally, nationally, and internationally. So for all I care that's where they live, on the internet.

Anonymous said...

This is something that can at times be a struggle for someone who is in a same sex relationship. Who you invite into your home and life can often be a source of stress and uncertainity. Also, do you take your partner to the dinner, even if they are another scientist?

Old Biddy said...

Mid-size department, and I'm relatively new and non TT, but I know where at least half of them live since everyone uses the same real estate agent, who is married to one prof in the dept.

Anonymous said...

Small department (6 people), fairly small town. There's one person in my department who keeps details of his life to himself, including where he lives. He gets along with everyone, collaborates on developing teaching materials, etc., but he keeps his personal life to himself. (Also, we haven't hired anyone new in a while, so we haven't had the parade of homes that we did because taking candidates out to dinner was expensive.)

A. Non Mouse said...

Small dept. I know where everyone lives, and have been to everyone else's house in the last year. Is it wierd that when I first came (12 years ago) everyone lived within walking distance of the office? (One person has since moved to a farm outside of town; everyone else, including the emeriti faculty, still live within walking distance.)

Anonymous said...

Columbia University, New York. Don't know where most people live, don't want to.

Janice said...

Small department and I know exactly where five of my colleagues live. The other six? I have a vague idea where they live but nothing sure, however, I could look them up in the phone book and go stalk their houses if I was so inclined!

Anonymous said...

I'm a grad student in a fairly large department. I know exactly where my advisor lives, as he hosted a party for a graduating student once. I also have kind of a secondary co-advisor, and I know which nearby city he lives in. Oh, and I saw another professor in my local hardware store once, so I guess he must live in my neighborhood.

Hmm... now that I think about it, I know the home locations of 8 professors in my department, with exactness ranging from street address to small town. Does this make me sound like some kind of professor stalker? I swear, I came by this knowledge innocently!

-AJ

Anonymous said...

Small dept (15) for 6 yrs. I know where the chair lives. And the city of my favorite prof, and the prof in the office next door.

I know most of their cars, though.

Anonymous said...

36 faculty
All know each others neighborhoods (small town).
Little intra-departmental collaboration as we see each other too much.