David Annison, Ronald Jackson, Haley Gagliano, and Brandon Daste
The faculty of LSU has modeled professionalism and respectability in its attire through the school’s existence. However, modernization of the school also comes with modernization of clothing. With this modernization, we see more relaxed clothing in different departments as liberal arts become more prevalent in schools. We can observe that professors from different disciplines dress in different attire tailored to their own needs.
The professors of the E.J. Ourso College of Business are the prime example of business casual wear for their students. The Business Education Complex is filled with students, staff, and other visitors but there is a very clear indicator of who is who. That clear indicator is the attire of the professors and staff who are more conscious of their dress than the others. The male professors usually have on slacks or khakis with a dress shirt. Sneakers are not a part of their wardrobe selection when coming to campus. Sport coats and blazers are typically worn in the fall when the heat is not as bad as it is in the spring. The female professors are just as, if not more, formal than the male professors. The female professors are usually seen in simple dresses and heels in the spring but wear slacks or another type of pants in the fall. Depending on the professor, they wear a blouse or collared shirt with heels or flats to go with their bottoms. Even though what they wear may seem like a requirement from the college of business, it is not. Some professors choose to dress business casual to set an example for their students. Economics professor Dr. Fang Yang said, “I choose to dress the way I do to show my class that this is the standard that should be set while in their future careers” (Yang). The professor’s influence can definitely be seen in their students who occasionally pull their suits and ties out of their closet for class.
The College of Science at Louisiana State University is home to various departments of science, such as chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and more. For most science professors, it is more ideal to dress comfortably and safely than to dress professionally. Within this college, there are many professors who participate in different research activities that cause them to dress a specific way. For example, pictured below is Dr. Isiah Warner, a chemistry professor at LSU.
As can be seen, Warner is wearing a protective lab coat to prevent harm. Underneath the lab coat, he is wearing a striped button-down shirt. His dress underneath can be considered professional, but is also comfortable and easy. To reiterate the casual but also professional dress of science professors at Louisiana State University, we spoke with Organic Chemistry professor David Spivak. We asked him personally why he chose the outfit pictured below to lecture his students in.
“Well,” he said, “it’s cheap, easy to find, and khakis go with everything. Also, it is casual,
but not too casual” (Spivak). This is an accurate representation of what majority of science professors wear during their lecture classes. Spivak also commented that he dresses in a comfortable/professional manner because it shows his students that he takes things seriously while not being unapproachable. His outfit took very little time to pick out and is very practical.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) tends to be one of the more relaxed departments when it come to the formality of their clothing. For instance, in the Religious Studies department (shown below), you can see that there is a wide range of clothing displayed, from more casual buttons up to a simple sweater or blouses for women. For shoes, everything from dress shoes to sneakers have been seen.
We further understand the dress of the humanities department, we interviewed professor and undergraduate advisor Kent Filbel . He is seen
with a relaxed long sleeve polo shirt that remains untucked, khakis, and some leather loafers. When asked why he chose the clothing he was wearing he replied, “I dressed for comfort today mostly. I knew I would have several meetings with students and I thought it would make them more comfortable to talk to me if I was dressed more casually” (Filbel). We found it very interesting that Professor Filbel was concerned more with how his students would perceive him than how his peers would. Being an undergraduate advisor, Filbel wanted to make sure he did everything he could in order to bridge the gap between student and professor and communicate availability. This reflects on the department’s focus on building relationships with students as well as preparing them for their future careers. Specifically, to Filbel, communication studies majors will have to make subtle choices like clothing in meetings throughout their careers to make them successful. He tries to communicate that through his choice in dress..
Professors in the College of Engineering adhere to a style of dress very similar to those in
the College of Science which makes sense because engineering is merely applied science. As seen the image on the next page, Engineering professors are usually seen wearing polo style shirts or long sleeve sweatshirts as seen in the image below, slacks or khakis, dress shoes, and usually some type of jewelry such as a watch or necklace. They also tend to keep clean-shaven faces as well as well-kept hair. Engineering professors that do have facial hair keep it neat and well-groomed so they do not look scruffy and also to exercise proper hygiene. When asking the professors why they dress the way they do, they stated that they present themselves in this manner to establish a sense of professionalism. They are not concerned with being stylish or trendy, rather they dress to communicate that they are prepared to do their job in a professional and efficient manner. Engineering professors also adopt this style of dress to show their students how to dress professionally. One of the biggest complaints that professors state they receive from industry is that students graduate and enter the industry without a professional edge to them. Therefore, professors dress in this manner to serve as a model to students. This style is also easy and convenient for engineering professors. Dress clothes are easy to find and are very affordable on a professor’s salary. Slacks and dress shirts are easy to match and there is not much room for fashionable errors.
As shown, various departments will have various standards when it comes to attire. Our research showed that, generally, liberal arts and humanities will have more relaxed dress while sciences and business oriented departments will have more formal standards. But regardless of the standard, it is believed that professors at LSU try to exemplify and model what should be expected of their students in their respective careers that follow their time at the university.
Conrad, Max. Enginering Professors. Digital image. Design.lsu.edu. LSU, 23 June 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2017
“David Spivak.” Personal photograph by Brandon Daste. 27 Nov. 2017.
“Fang Yang.” Personal photograph by Ronald Jackson. 27 Nov. 2017.
Filbel, Kent. Personal Interview. 27 Nov. 2017.
“Kent Filbel.” Personal photograph by David Annison. 27 Nov. 2017.
Spivak, David. Personal Interview. 27 Nov. 2017.
Welbourne, Bryant. Photograph of LSU Professor Dr. Isiah Warner. SECU, 2016 Southeastern Conference Professor of the Year PSA, 26 September 2016.
Yang, Fang. Personal Interview. 27 Nov. 2017.