Bob Giges---UCSC Alumnus and Still Preceptoring at Porter After 35 Years

October 02, 2014

Bob Giges, Porter Academic Preceptor
1980: Bob, UCSC’s First Staff Academic Preceptor

A Remembrance of Porter College 35 Years Ago 

by Bob Giges 

It was 35 years ago today that I first arrived at College V (Porter’s original moniker) as UCSC’s first staff Academic Preceptor. Hired to work half-time ($7.22/hour, no benefits), I was excited, nervous, incredulous that I had been signed on, as I was only a couple of years older than the typical senior. Sometimes I lie and tell people I started when I was 14, but 1979 was actually two years after my Kresge graduation, a ceremony at which the beloved and esteemed poet William Everson  passed a conch shell to each  graduating senior as it was his/her moment to speak—but I digress…

I could shock and amaze you with tales of how we made do without computing of any kind in the college. Yes, we had to retype each letter from scratch every time an edit or correction was made. And no mail merge! Every personalized-looking letter really had to be typed from blank letterhead. In the early days, colleges were charged with typing up handwritten faculty narrative evaluations for the Registrar to attach to the transcript. Too much to convey in an email--perhaps a few pictures can give you a feel for the old days.

Bureaucracy Simplified—a few choice excerpts about the “Course Enrollment Form” (think #2 pencils and bubbles) and Narrative Evaluations.

CEF Flow Chart—Students were required to attend an Advising Fair to meet with a faculty member to get their Academic Advising Form signed in order to file their Course Enrollment Form. Yes, really.

Porter had been the new name of the college for a couple of years in 1985, but the literary publication  no. 5 was emblematic of a nostalgia for the pre-endowment College V. It always tickled me that students were attached to the absolutely generic and random name associated with the college, but for whatever reason, they were invested in the mystical and beloved Five-ness of the college. (I don’t think most know that its name comes from College V, but the student improv group Humor Force Five persists to this day.)

“Porter College: Where Creativity and Rigor Meet”

This was our attempt at a low-budget recruitment and retention brochure circa 1990. When you see the low angle shot of the wave sculpture (which in those days was often termed The Flying IUD), you get a sense of how hard we were trying to overcome the Uncle Charlie’s Summer Camp image that too many outsiders had of the campus.  Cue Fanfare for the Common Man!

Porter Handbook 1979-80

A window into advising in the college at the time I was hired, the first year of the “reorganization” in which colleges lost most of their remaining curricular roles, and departments became the sole provider of majors and arbiters of faculty promotion.

UCSC (Under Cover Student Conspiracy)—the Disorientation Manual.

No editorializing needed--The table of contents says it all!