Prof. Gregg Franzwa had to settle for a shallow pool, but his thoughts,
as always, run deep.
IT DIDN'T LOOK that hard. Dig a hole, line it with tile, add water. Swim.
Who could have guessed that an average pool job would result in seven
months of work and the manual removal of more than seven tons of rock?
not philosophy Prof. Gregg Franzwa, and definitely not the unwitting pool
man who agreed to a price, stuck to it despite overwhelming problems and
then got out of the pool business.
out about 12 inches of dirt then hit solid rock," said Franzwa, entering
his 22nd year at TCU. "The pool was going to be seven feet deep. We settled
for five and a half."
unexpected lode of fossiliferous limestone on-hand, Franzwa hired students
to move the mountain into something resembling art on two sides of the
new there. The prof hires undergrads for all his building projects, which
have been many over the years. It gives him a chance to interact with
students informally. And more opportunities to mold expanding minds.
to instill a critical attitude toward institutions and power structures
and all of the stuff in the world that sweeps people along without them
thinking about it much," he said. "I like to think I contribute to people
being able to step back from their immediate circumstances and take a
longer look at things. A lot of people get sucked into a lot of things
simply because they didn't think how they wanted their lives to go."
the unexpected outcome of his 30- by 15-foot swimming pool -- complete
with waterfall, hot tub and impressive rock garden, Franzwa wants his
students to begin cutting their own paths through life's rocky places.
the current vogue of 'outcome assessments,' the new buzz phrase for evaluating
faculty and everything else, kind of amusing," he said. "You really can't
assess the outcome for students in a philosophy course unless you ask
on their death bed, 'How did it come out, was it useful to you?' "
Franzwa hopes others won't have to come along later and fix what he's
tried to instill -- critical contemplation when caught between that rock
and a hard place.