Business building windows shine bright in assistant dean’s office

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

After spending 15 years in an office in the Cashion-Hankamer basement, Krista Howell — assistant dean of undergraduate programs at the Hankamer School of Business — has a new office shining bright through the windows of the Paul. L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Howell began working at Baylor in 1991 as an assistant director for what is now known as Campus Living & Learning. She later became an academic adviser at the Clifton Robinson Tower.

By 2000, Howell began to teach in the business school as a lecturer in management and information systems. She was then offered her current position as an assistant dean. Back then, the business school was located in the Cashion-Hankamer building.

“Every other place I’ve worked in had windows in it, except for those 15 years, so it does make a difference,” Howell said.

Howell said she understood that Baylor had to use the space it had to give people offices, and she said she is not sure where else they could have had offices if they hadn’t been there. Now, having spent seven years in Foster, she said she appreciates the space and windows she has in her office.

“It was a very small space,” Howell said. “Some people’s offices were basically in what used to be a closet, so you had just enough space for a desk and maybe one or two chairs, and that’s it.”

Howell said there were small windows in the offices in the Cashion-Hankamer basement, through which she could only see the feet of people who walked past.

Howell said the designers of Foster did a really good job with the lighting of the building, placing offices on the edges with windows while classrooms were put in the center without many windows.

“I teach in a class over here that does have windows, and it’s distracting for students, I’m sure,” Howell said. “They’re going to start looking out the windows and see what’s going on.”

One of the differences Howell pointed out between her offices is the uniformity that is required within Foster, per the request of the former dean. She said as people walk into Foster offices, they will notice that everyone has the same desks and chairs, whereas in Cashion-Hankamer offices, everyone had different furniture.

Howell said when she changed offices, she had to leave behind a cherrywood desk that not everyone had.

“I don’t know if they kept them over there in that building or if they’re in storage somewhere or what they did with all of them, but everybody’s desk was different,” Howell said.

Although she had to leave valued things behind, Howell said her current office is a lot nicer given the space and lighting. She also said having uniform offices makes them look nicer. Additionally, Howell said Foster now receives a lot more visitors, as it is a very nice building and is part of the Baylor tour.

Pam Bailey — associate director for advising initiative and graduation at the Hankamer School of Business — also had an office in the Cashion-Hankamer basement.

“You just really felt like you were in a dungeon,” Bailey said. “I will say, the good side of it was that it was a small office where we were all really right there together, which was really nice.”

Bailey spent five years in the Cashion-Hankamer basement before she moved to Foster. Within those five years, she changed offices four times.

“So when we came over here and we were able to just have all this natural light, it was just a complete change of scenery,” Bailey said.

Howell said since the last time she stepped into the Cashion-Hankamer building, it has been completely renovated. Because the structure has changed, she said she now has to rethink where her office used to be.

“After we left, they renovated it, and the Robins College moved in over there, so it looks very different too,” Howell said.

Howell said for her, an office is just an office, but what makes a great difference is the people she works with. She said a nice office is just a bonus to the job.

“Having a nice office doesn’t make up for it if you didn’t have really good co-workers, but in our office, we all get along so well, so it makes for a nice environment all the time, so this was just like a bonus,” Howell said.