For capturing a catty “memento mori” that would inspire any Dutch Golden Age still-life painter to break out the vermilion pigment, Nebraska’s Mark Hinchman has earned Husker Home Office of the Week honors.
The image — of work and a coffee incomplete, interrupted by a seemingly uncaring Siamese lounging on a dining room table temporarily converted to a computer desk — is a modern twist on a theme that defines 17th-century Dutch painting. In those works, the classic landscape and still-life painters balanced light and dark extremes, capturing moments of mortality (memento mori) to remind viewers that life is fleeting and that judgement can be stern.
Or, honestly, we really like a good cat photo and sea of red.
Either way, the Husker Home Office award was launched April 10 to showcase how faculty and staff have adjusted to working remotely as part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s response to COVID-19.
The award repeats weekly until employees return to widespread working from offices on campus. Details on how to enter are below.
Hinchman, a professor and graduate chair of interior design in the College of Architecture, has served for 22 years on campus. Here are Hinchman’s responses to how working from home is progressing and a few tips for other faculty and staff to consider.
Why does this space work for you?
This is my dining room, right off my kitchen. I’m cooking a lot more now, so this makes it easy for me to get up and attend to something simmering on the stove. Last night was ground lamb burgers with mint jelly and root vegetables with garlic yogurt sauce.
What tips for a successful work-from-home day do you have for fellow employees?
Simple is fine. Also, this generation of students is very adept, so it’s okay to ask them to do something technically you don’t totally have down, then work through learning it and figuring it out with them.
What is your favorite item in the home office space?
The wireless mouse and coffee cup. I had a wired mouse, and Fauzalina (Hinchman’s cat) chewed off the cable. When I complained she said “It is called a mouse you know.” Also, I get two cups (of coffee) in the morning that I make at home. At some point in the day, I get a trip to McDonald’s drive-through for my third and last cup. This is a luxury I didn’t previously allow myself.
What do you miss most about your campus space?
Running to the library to get a book and getting into a conversation with the librarian
Is there anything from this experience that you hope to integrate when you return to campus?
I want to have students do more with videos. With my teaching assistants, Pedro Aguero and Brenton Rahn, I had architectural history students do videos. Next I’d like to move into the world of Tik Tok and Boomerang and have them produce really short videos that succinctly get to the point about some aspect of architecture history.
To be considered for Husker Home Office of the Week, submit photos of your space via email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with answers to the questions below. The award winner will be notified on each Thursday, with their space appearing in the Friday edition of Nebraska Today. For more information, send email to email@example.com.
Entries must include your name, university position, home department, phone number (for contact, if necessary), years employed on campus, home address (to mail the award), and answers to at least three of these five questions:
- Why does this space work for you?
- What tips for a successful work-from-home day do you have for fellow employees?
- What is your favorite item in the home office space?
- What do you miss most about your campus space?
- Is there any process/concept/idea that you’ve experienced working from home that you hope to integrate when we return to campus?