American "faculty teas"?

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mbanu
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Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:39 am

Apparently there is an academic tradition at many American universities of "faculty teas", either for faculty to collaborate with each other in an informal setting, or to allow students (especially graduate students) to talk with the faculty of their department in a setting that is not so task-focused, or to encourage faculty to seem approachable to undergrads.

I'm assuming they use teabags and a hot water spigot or maybe tea-urns? These and their coffee equivalent are fairly standard at any catered university gathering, I think. How did this tea-practice develop, though? Are there any teapot-based faculty teas still happening in the U.S.? (Perhaps not just right now due to social distancing concerns, but in general?) There was a 2017 article on this happening at Dartmouth in the English department: https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2017/11 ... ock-ritual

Any others?
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LeoFox
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Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:03 pm

We had master's teas at yale. At least in the early 2000s when i was there, we were always served teabags and/ or coffee.
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debunix
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Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:37 pm

We had weekly 'high tea' on Wednesday afternoons in my thesis lab. A whole floor of scientists and staff took turns bringing in desserts, but most did not bother with actual tea; I was not yet as into real tea then and wasn't mixing my own herb/spice blends, but I still usually brought something from Celestial Seasonings, and maybe some SeaDyke TKY.
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Victoria
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Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:39 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:03 pm
We had master's teas at yale. At least in the early 2000s when i was there, we were always served teabags and/ or coffee.
Cool, I was at Yale during the same time as you, teaching architecture, and drinking a lot of expresó. Maybe we meet? Lived near Romeo’s on Avon St. We never had faculty teas though.
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LeoFox
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Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:39 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:03 pm
We had master's teas at yale. At least in the early 2000s when i was there, we were always served teabags and/ or coffee.
Cool, I was at Yale during the same time as you, teaching architecture, and drinking a lot of expresó. Maybe we meet? Lived near Romeo’s on Avon St. We never had faculty teas though.
I was an undergrad at silliman's residential college. I was a science major and didn't take any architecture. Maybe we passed by each other as strangers?

I think a lot of my room mates took scully's class that focused on architecture, but i don't remember the details. I did take an art history class on bronze age mediterranean palaces; that was interesting.

The master's teas were mainly to host celebrity speakers. The teas were not memorable.
mbanu
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Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:14 pm

I think this is what makes the idea so fascinating to me -- America is a majority coffee-drinking country, but this academic tea tradition was created and still persists, even if the tea itself is often forgotten in the process. The only Yale tea trivia I know is that Mark T. Wendell blends a custom tea for the Elizabethan Club, which seems to be an English literature student group: https://marktwendell.com/victorian-afternoon.html
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