Office hours should not be slashed

In a 26-7 vote (with 5 abstentions), the SJSU Academic Senate approved a motion to drastically reduce office hours this week, as reported in Tuesday’s Spartan Daily article, “Office Hours Slashed by Academic Senate.”

If we accept a decrease in office hours and instead use email as an equal replacement for talking face-to-face, we are accepting a larger worldwide trend.

We cannot accept this — technology should be used as an enhancement as opposed to a replacement for the way we live our lives.

When you call someone or see them in real life, they cannot hide as easily behind a digital veil. They are there, in the flesh.

Office hours provide a neutral ground — a portal of communication where students can approach their professors without pressure.

Sure, we ask questions about the content, but more importantly, we learn how to talk to people, how to ask for favors and how to improve relationships with people we see on a daily basis.

People should be approachable — we know our professors and they should know us.

Though they spent 10-plus years getting a post-graduate education, they are people, too.

Can’t we agree to be on a first-name basis with our professors? Can’t we get to know each other and understand one another?

Our society needs to eliminate the notion of the ivory tower, and instead replace it with the realm of an education sphere.

Education should be a two-way relationship, not just a one-way stream. The CSU website states two of its core missions of our education system is “quality in instruction,” and “an environment in which scholarship, research, creative, artistic, and professional activity are valued and supported.”

In truth, the CSU is framed with a teaching method of approachability and practicality, whereas the UC system is built on grants and academic research.

Students go to SJSU, or any of the other CSUs, to learn actual skills, not just to attain a theory-based education.

However, as our larger society changes rapidly, our professors need to see how things change. They can learn from students, too — we’re into social media, modern art and the like. We’re different from the students five years ago, and extremely different than the students 20 years ago. We don’t agree with the way things were done: understand where we come from.

One such example is the hailed substitute for office hours: email. However, it’s a cold, dreary impersonal system.

Even worse, email has become the slowest form of digital communication in our society. Some people simply don’t answer their emails for days, if at all. Messages get “caught” in the “spam filter” or sent to “the wrong email address.”

These excuses are unacceptable.

We need to mitigate the problems of generational culture clashes with an attempt at symbiotic learning.

An online distance has replaced interpersonal communication in our society.

Though we are, with technology, the most connected our world has ever been, we are increasingly becoming the most disconnected people to ever live.

Why us? Why SJSU? Well, we are the oldest public university in California — there was no UC Berkeley or UCLA before there was our university.

We’ve been a model for public education on the West Coast since our school’s inception in 1857, so why not continue to improve our university?

Let’s find a way to make it easier for students to graduate without compromising our education: to keep the quality of our learning while removing the difficulty of our bureaucracies.

What are we paying for as students is for an education, not just borrowed time in a classroom. We seek actual learning, not to copy notes from a computer presentation.

The role of the professor is not just a job — at some core level, it is about the enrichment and betterment of our society.

We are not just creating simple worker machines. What we are creating are model citizens — that is the ultimate goal of higher education.

Face the facts: people are social creatures and nothing good can come by reducing the time we can see each other. Don’t accept this farce for educational reform.