I'm starting a new job this year, and for the first time ever I'll have my own office. As I need to plan four new courses and publish at least two articles this coming year, I'd like to discourage students from return trips to my office hours. Have any decorating tips to help me with this goal?
You've come to the right place. I've been keeping students guessing for seven long years, with nary a repeat visit.
Here's the key: it's all about the theme. You must decorate your office in a motif as distant from your area of study as possible.
Here are some fields and unrelated or inappropriate themes to get your creative juices flowing:
Area of study--Theme
Marine biology--Precious Moments figurines
Music theory--RUSH paraphernalia
Psychology--Pet rocks (at least 200 of them)
Asian-American literature--U.S. Presidential memorabilia
Veterinary studies--Dias de los Muertos shrines
Studio art--Thomas Kinkade canvas giclee
Women's studies--Velvet Elvii
For example, my MA in creative writing + my almost-Ph.D. in cultural studies means I'm a prime candidate for dinosaur art.
Once you have established your theme, it's important to be as inconsistent and inscrutable as possible in your aesthetic choices. With this principle in mind, I selected these prints from Art.com:
Before you put up your posters, be sure to paint your walls a nice institutional gray. After awhile, you'll find it serene; students will find it depressing.
In addition, it's always a good idea to burn incense to the journal peer review gods. As far as scents go, I recommend Archival Paper, Perfect Binding Adhesive, and Brimstone. Avoid patchouli, as that attracts the dirty hippie students.
I hope you've found this tutorial useful. I'm always available for consultations.
Do you have a question, academic or otherwise, for trillwing? Put it in the comments or e-mail her at trillwing AT gmail DOT com. All reasonable questions will be answered, as well as some unreasonable ones.