Alyssa O'Brien wins Phi Beta Kappa's 2006 teaching award by Christine Alfano
Congratulations to Cristina Huerta, Amy Blue Winner by Vani Kane

Claude Reichard, Commuting Hero! by Mark Feldman
Congratulations to Naomi, Scott, and Bump, by Mark Feldman

returning this fall

Reading the Boothe Essays, by Gabrielle Moyer
Learning About Audience and Being a Citizen Critic by Donna Hunter

Realisms from Ekphrasis to Neo-Realism to Documentary Film: A Conversation with Kristi Wilson by Mark Feldman


Marvin Diogenes: Funny Guy, Aristotelian Joker, and Administrator Extraordinaire by Mark Feldman

What are Your Summer Plans? Notes from the PWR Community

Sweet Hall 019: A PWRful Community away from PWR

by Serkan Gorkemli, Sweet Mate


If you dropped by the Sweet Hall office during the summer institute in September, you will recall its four cubicles accommodating two instructors each and divided by light green partitions set against the cream walls of the room. While the cubicles might make this office setup seem quite unusual to some at first sight, for the PWR instructors, who moved there in September 2005, this office has become a communal space by means of the social and collegial environment enabled by its very spatial configuration.

The PWR Open House continues on the walls of the Sweet Hall offices

The open space of the Sweet Hall office allows the "Sweet mates" or "Sweet peeps," as some of these office mates like to refer to each other in collective emails, to interact with each other more freely than is possible in separate offices. According to PWR lecturer Jonathan Hunt, "because the space is open, we all interact more-I think we have a better sense of how everybody is doing, and it's easier to ask a quick question or touch base." In the words of PWR teaching fellow Donna Hunter, the daily interactions enabled by this openness of the work space are what makes working in the Sweet Hall office a pleasure for her: "Working in Sweet Hall has been a pleasure for me, particularly as a new Stanford hire who had never taught on the quarter system or taught rhetoric. In fact, without the moral support and teaching expertise of my Sweet Hall colleagues, I don't know that I would have made it to the winter quarter. It is great having veteran instructors from whom to ask advice as well as share both successes and distresses."

While such daily conversations involving spontaneous brainstorming about pedagogy provide instant mutual support, they have also paved the way for collaborations currently in progress in the form of panel proposals for professional conferences. Of course, the office mates don't always talk shop; they frequently share personal anecdotes and non-PWR related experiences, which led to dinners off campus during the past two quarters, further bolstering their sense of community.

As an office away from the program's main offices, the Sweet Hall locale has also posed its own special challenges. For example, due to distance, returning rosters and filing equipment requests has been difficult. However, the conversations among the office mates and regular meetings with the PWR directors and administrative staff have led to many convenient solutions for such problems; recently, for instance, a fax machine to file forms and equipment requests has been installed in the office, and the instructors' mail is now being forwarded from Margaret Jacks. Additionally, Sweet Hall provides easy access to a wealth of academic and technology resources and a variety of nearby places for working and conferencing, thanks to its proximity to Meyer, Green Library, and the Education Library, as well as the Stanford Bookstore and Moon Bean's Café.

Most recently, the "den mates"-yet another moniker some of them use for each other-also received a water cooler adding to the convenience of having a printer, a Xerox machine, a scanner, and a microwave in the office. While these appliances render the daily operations smooth, the office walls displaying the instructors' PWR1 and PWR2 open-house posters continue to offer a visible sign of the PWRful community in Sweet Hall.