Employee Q&A: Faculty Relations Chris Schafer
Program Coordinator, Faculty Relations, UA BookStore
Number of years at the UA
Favorite part about working at the UA
"Working with student employees ... to help them find ways to do the things that they love to do and the things that they're passionate about while working here."
Chris Schafer almost always has his nose in a book. And when he doesn't, he's helping others to get their hands on books.
One of two employees in Faculty Relations at the University of Arizona BookStore, Schafer works with professors to help them place textbook orders each semester and make sure the BookStore is offering them all the resources they need.
In addition to his work with textbooks, Schafer helps coordinate BookStore events and other outreach efforts, including book signings and talks showcasing campus authors. He also has worked with the Tucson Festival of Books, serving on committees dedicated to bringing top authors to the annual festival, which marked its second year in March.
Schafer recently sat down with Lo Que Pasa to talk about his love of books and his work with UA faculty.
What are your primary responsibilities involving textbooks?
The primary duty that I have here at the BookStore as faculty relations (coordinator) is to help find out what the faculty need from the BookStore and to be sure that we're providing it. So if faculty need textbooks, they can get assistance in placing orders through me. If they need to get desk copies of those textbooks I can help them do that, and then a lot of what I do is really just try to communicate to faculty what they might not already know about the textbooks industry. ... The suggested date (for fall 2010) by which we would love for faculty to get their textbook adoptions in by is April 20. We do this thing called incentives rewards, where departments that get their textbook orders in on time receive BookStore credit back.Â
What's the most fun part of your job?
I love going out in the community and talking to professors and hearing what they're doing, what they're researching. I mean, if I could just go to school forever and be a student forever I would, because I really love being on a college campus. But the funnest thing in my job is that I get to do things that are kind of like outreach. I get to help with things like our children's program, W.A.L.K. (Wildcats Advocating Literacy and Knowledge). ... We have one program in W.A.L.K. that's called our Storybook Character Hour. On the first Saturday of each month, 10:30 to 11:30, we bring in a storybook character. We do fun activities and games, we sing, we do a reading or two for the children, and it's really meant for really young kids, maybe 3 to 6, who are just at the beginning of learning how to read.
How much do you work with faculty authors?
A lot. I don't know the exact numbers, but I think in the last fiscal year we probably had something like 70 author events in the BookStore; maybe a third to a half of those were faculty authors. I can name a long list of faculty authors who've come and done events here in the store, and it's really important I think. ... Publishing is a huge, huge thing in the world of academia. There's not only a pressure, there's an expectation, as part of their job, they need to publish. They go through all of that hard work and they publish something; it's really nice to be able to offer them a forum to be able to share that hard work with the public.
Can you find most books written by faculty here in the store?
There's a whole wall (in the center of the general books department) with campus authors. So if you ever wanted to browse through and see what kind of books our faculty members have been writing, that's a great place to visit.
Have you always been a bookworm?
I have. My undergraduate education (at the UA) was in creative writing and English literature, and I am a huge fan of books in general. I love reading.
What's your all-time favorite book?
"East of Eden." I'm a huge Steinbeck fan.Â
Is it tough working in a bookstore? Are you always buying books?
I buy books all the time. I spend probably way more than I should on books. ... Recently I moved in with my girlfriend and I moved all my stuff into her house, and literally when I say all my stuff I really just have boxes and boxes and boxes of books. ... I could probably build a house out of books. I could build bookshelves out of books and then put other books on them.
Faculty can order textbooks and access other faculty resources on the UA BookStore's Faculty page.
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