Jun 18, 2010


My class is over and will be capped with an exam tomorrow morning. My students are already giving me a headache by:

  • preempting what kind of grade they "need" for their degrees (my only response to that is, "you should have thought about that when you did your assignments and worked harder"),
  • complaining about their participation grades (again, "you should have tried to speak up in class"), 
  • asking at the last minute if they can write their exams in French (and there is no one in the exams office to actually answer this question for me, even though it's well within office hours and it's the exam period right now!), 
  • asking what their grades are so far (it was posted to them yesterday, lazy buggers can't even be bothered to check their email), 
  • waiting till the last minute to do peer evaluations (and finding that it takes a day for the system to generate their password and so they will miss the deadline), or 
  • needling for information about what's on the exam (as if I'm going to tell them). 

This kind of behavior is guaranteed to put me in a bad mood. And that pissy mood will likely translate onto my grading.

On top of all that, I'm required to invigilate my own exam and read through a list of procedures that makes me wonder if this is just an exam or whether we're trying to negotiate for world peace. The red tape at our university is astounding. As a colleague of mine who will be a visiting scholar here in the fall can affirm: he had to confirm for the third time today that, yes, he'd like to be a visiting scholar and, yes, he accepts the terms. It makes me wonder about academia and management structures, and our poor budget that keeps getting cut. How about we cut some red tape and simplify our processes? We could probably get rid of half the administrative functions that way.

The worst part is, that during my exam, the Netherlands will be playing their second World Cup match so I won't even get to see it. Again.

The rest of the weekend looks no better. Hubby is on a long business trip, leaving me with the household until I go on my own holiday. A colleague is insisting on working Sunday morning. And then there is all the grading to do. Plus the convocation (graduation) ceremony next week. 

Ho hum. At least the sun is shining and I think I'll take the dog for a little walk later this afternoon to relieve my aching back.


  1. It's amazing to me how much work is created from the bureaucracy. Positions, even entire departments, are created to handle the stream of work our own induced policies and procedures create. Higher education lacks the will power to keep things simple. We want to be all things to all people, so we have an exception for every rule (which inevitably can't be incorporated into the existing MIS), so it requires one person to act as a QA/Filter on the particular issue, which then gets fouled up when said person is out to lunch/on vacation/extended medical leave and the world comes to a screaming halt for the individuals involved.

    We have an issue currently with our waitlist policy/practice. It's so out of control that when I raised the issue formally at President's Cabinet and then later at the Joint Deans meeting - I heard absolute agreement that is was an issue, followed promptly by 10 reasons why we couldn't fix it, and then it was moved into the slow and inevtiable death of being assigned to a committee to investigate. My response was, "I will fix it in two days," which was quickly followed by another 10 reasons/road blocks I would encounter it taking this "drastic" approach. FFS....KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid.

  2. I saw your post on the waitlist issue and had to work hard to keep my tongue in my mouth. If I hate anything, it's this type of inefficiency. For example, today I found out that an invoice from April (to a data supplier who did me a favor on the contract) STILL hasn't been paid. In spite of me "ok"-ing it three times officially already and several times verbally. The excuse was: oh, well, but we don't have the invoice. I nearly exploded. The invoice was the first document they got back in April. Then, I was told, NO, you need a quote first, so that we can approve the quote. So I got that. Then the MIS department added their OWN tax onto the bill (from MY fund, I'll have you know). So I'm now at least 350 bucks out of pocket. Then they kept bugging me if I had received the data. YES, YES, pay the poor people already. Nearly 3 months later and I get a very nice query from the company asking if we can please pay our bill ... I ask you?

  3. I think we may work at the same institution.