Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Funding Fable

There's a project on campus that has big potential. It's a big project, and there's a good deal of state funding involved.

A couple weeks ago, the underwater basketweaving department got a view of how the project would affect them. And they began to ask questions. Why, in this project, are there no new basketweaving pools for our students to use?

The project organizers explain that the students will use the old pools across campus. They say, "We don't need new pools. Instead of pools we don't need, we're going to put in large lecture halls for the departments across campus. But we'll put a shower in, and it will work as well as a pool, right? It's got water and everything."

But the underwater basketweaving department says, no, that's rainweaving, and that's another department.

The project organizers respond, "But the rainweaving department needs weaving showers, and says your students can use them when they're not already scheduled. By the way, the swim team will be sharing your underwater basketweaving pools for practice."

And the rainweaving department chair, looking worried, asks, "how will we supervise our students in the showers in the new project when our department is across campus."

"Quit complaining," say the project organizers. "You need the exercise of walking across campus."

"Wait," the underwater basketweaving department objects, "we've been scheduling our pools for years; we don't have open times for swim practice. Our students need to use the pools for basketweaving."

"Things are going to change," the project organizers patiently explain, "we're going to take over all the scheduling. We'll be arranging everything."

The underwater basketweaving department replies, en masse, "We really don't think this big new project is being well planned. We want better planning. We don't think you understand what we need."

"Shhh," the project organizers say, waving their arms dramatically, "shhh, if the state funding folks hear that you have questions, then they won't want to fund the project. Don't worry, they say, our project organizers are taking your concerns into consideration. We've got this plan, and it will be great, just trust us."

2 comments:

  1. It's the same kind of fable over here..

    We have the new building. The folks planning it promised the department four or five new classrooms, they got three and some really pretty public spaces. As a result, their classes are still in many of our classrooms.

    The next bits of construction promised new classrooms to fix the problem. Final plans don't include a net increase in classrooms.

    Meanwhile our enrollment is up 15% this year and it increased almost that last year. This means more sections etc...

    Funny thing, the last phase of remodeling hasn't changed, and in fact will result in a net loss of two classrooms (that's 38 sections). Meanwhile, our students will have a place to play video games, counseling will get two classrooms to use on the edges of the day but that cannot be otherwise scheduled and I'll be teaching in the same crumbling classroom as I have for 7 years.

    Been there, doing that --

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  2. Geesh. This sounds so familiar. Sigh.

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