Professors begin to move from McClelland to WLLC


With the potential sale of McClelland Hall, the oldest building on the NVU-Johnson campus and home to the Education and Behavioral Sciences departments, the University is looking for places on campus to relocate existing faculty and staff.
All courses that would normally be held in McClelland were moved up the hill or have been done remotely over the 2020-2021 academic year. As fall courses are being planned, no classes are being scheduled in that building in anticipation of an eventual sale.
The plan comes as part of cost and footprint reduction efforts which are taking place across the VSCS. “One of the buildings that we’ve identified to potentially lease, or sell is McClelland,” NVU Provost Nolan Atkins said. “We’ve had some preliminary conversations with a couple folks who have been interested in the building, but really that’s where it’s at. There’s nothing really definitive at this point.”
According to Atkins, the plan is to relocate professors and staff to the Willey Library Learning Center, as there is adequate space available, on the third floor in both the Humanities and Writing and Li

terature wings, as well as in additional office space in the library itself.
“Having been through the space in the WLLC and in the library, I’m pretty confident that all of the existing faculty and staff who currently have offices in McClelland could be relocated there,” Atkins said.
While there is no deadline for professors to move out of their offices in McClelland, the goal is to get faculty and staff moved to the main campus before the fall semester begins.Assistant Professor of Education Rob Schulze has already vacated his old office, moving to the Humanities wing on third floor of the WLLC.
“I simply put my things in my trunk and drove them up here over a period of a couple days,” Schulze said. “I’m teaching on campus this semester, and I taught on campus during the pandemic, so I’m here. I believe that many of the other faculty are teaching more or fully remote, so they are not here to move their things. As to when that’s happening, I suppose that depends on them and when they have the time. If the administration has a deadline for moving out of McClelland, I haven’t heard about it.”
As for the classes, there will be no major changes to the programs and classes that are held in McClelland. They will simply be moved to other locations on campus by the fall.
With the current timeline for the move, professors and administration are hoping for a smooth transition.
“One of our hopes is that we don’t end up scattered in a way that we can’t collaborate with our colleagues,” Chair of the Education Department Hannah Miller said. “Something we have learned about COVID is that it’s really nice to just be able to share physical space and to be able to say ‘hey, how are you?’ and ‘hey, let’s check in on this student’ or ‘hey, let’s work on this collaborative project together,’ and that’s really hard to do if we’re spread all over campus.”
McClelland will be missed by some if the plan to lease or sell follows through, but some of the faculty and staff seem to be excited by the move and the prospect of being closer to their peers as well as students.
“I think it’s a great idea to have all faculty up on the main campus, so students don’t have to trek through the snow up and down the hill,” said Janet Bennion, professor of Behavioral Sciences and director of the Anthropology and Sociology programs.
For many of the professors and staff who have worked in McClelland, it has been a home base, so the move provokes complicated reactions.
“For me, it’s bittersweet,” Associate Professor of Education Kathleen Brinegar said. “I’ve had an office in McClelland since I came to Johnson State in 2010, so that’s where my home at the college/university has always been. We’ve created a great community down in McClelland, and I will miss that. There’s also a lot of history in McClelland when it comes to our institution. In some ways, it feels like the end of an era. That being said, it will be nice for students not to have to slog up and down the hill for classes, especially in the winter. I also look forward to being more of a part of the everyday life on the main campus. It will certainly take less time to get to all of the meetings we have to attend on the main campus.”
Other professors, like Schulze, are fully embracing this change and agree with the notion that it will better for faculty and students.
“McClelland was a nice building, and I enjoyed being there,” Schulze said, “but it was more remote from much of what was happening on the campus. I think it’s nice being up here in the library building, even during the pandemic. You see more people than you were seeing in McClelland. I think it, at least for education majors, helps them feel more a part of the mainstream of campus. I think that us being more a part of the main campus will be good for us and our students.”

WLLC’s 3rd floor, where Shulze’s new office is located, will soon be home to others. (Rebecca Flieder)