Pissing contests with admin staff

On the 8th I received an invite to review a textbook.

Well, I would love to!

However………

The deadline is the 31st of May……..

Seriously? How good a job do you actually want me to do?

I did inform the nice lady that she would have difficulty at this time of year, with it being exam season and all, finding anyone to review in that time period.

But, this is part of a larger problem.

All the add ons in teaching and research are managed by nonacademic staff who pretty much have no clue of what we actually need to do these things, the things which seriously impede our abilities to do them, and that thorny issue of “academic standards”.

For example, I’ve been waiting 6 weeks for Finance to give me an answer about PhD students on a grant. Six weeks! Firstly, they made some bullshit answer up on the spot but where unable to actually provide the documentation to back up what they said. So, I am left waiting while they “consult” and produce “guidelines”…..neither of which actually involve research staff. Seriously, what do Finance staff know about conducting research or what we need?

For example, Disability think that it is not breaching “academic standards” to provide students with a copy of the exam paper beforehand. Fuck off! The breach is so big that the Queen Mary II could sail through it.

For example, Estates think it is appropriate to keep academic staff stood for 2 hours waiting for their photo to be taken for staff ID, while they take pictures of international students beforehand. And this was after 4 previous attempts to have said photo taken for which Estates didn’t turn up for.

For example, Estates missing 6 appointments to renew car parking permit to the point that the old one expired. Apparently, they don’t “work” after 4, which was the only time I could get onto campus without a permit.

For example, journal publishers giving you access to their library but failing to provide you with the correct password and then not responding to emails.

For example, HR requiring you to come over to them to pick up RA applications because it would be a security “breach” to put them in the internal mail, but not actually providing info anywhere on the website as to where they are located, or even putting “HE” on their door. And apparently no-one in your building knows where you are either. Must be doing a sterling job!

For example, the HR person who insists on sitting in on your RA interviews and asking completely unrelated questions about taking staff development courses, and how they would solve an argument between colleagues. Fuck off HR, I hate you more than the rest. Well, perhaps not Estates….

I don’t want to detract from admin staff altogether. I have come across some wonderful ones, and departments wouldn’t run without the trusty admin manager. But, seriously, if you are going to tell me I can’t do something, I want to see the paperwork that says so. I want to know that you haven’t pulled it out of your arse.

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