Office Hours in the Pool Hall

My favorite story comes from the week I held my office hours in the Brother Gorch Pool Hall. Named for the Congregation of the Holy Cross monk who spent decades in charge of our student center and sometimes played pool with students, it was the perfect location for office hours the week we discussed William Appleman Williams’s Empire as a Way of Life. Near the end of his jeremiad calling for Americans to think long and hard about the costs and dangers of an imperial foreign policy, Williams drew an analogy between the satisfactions to be won by that difficult thinking and the demanding brand of pool played in the working-class bar he frequented while writing the book.

One of my students came to office hours that week admitting that she had no questions but figured she would never have another chance to meet a professor in a pool hall. More important, none of the students in the class missed the quiz question about Williams’s analogy. —Office Hours in the Pool Hall – Do Your Job Better – The Chronicle of Higher Education.