In my Big Cheese capacity, I got an email from some administrative folks asking me to schedule some times to do some repetitive (and necessary tasks). The times they gave me were pretty much all MWF at the same two hour slot. Unfortunately, that's a two hour slot that's taken up for me by teaching, pretty much, and regularly scheduled meetings on Fridays.
So, perhaps they've asked me to meet with them to do X task and they give me potential time slots to choose from: MWF 8-10. But I teach in there. And pretty much, if someone at my school teaches Monday at 8, they also teach W and F at 8. That's just the way teaching schedules tend to work around here.
This seems to happen pretty regularly with some administrative folks. They set up a schedule, and do it so if I'm teaching a class on one day, I'm also teaching that same class on the next possible day.
In a way, this is like the office hour problem. If I set up office hours after my course X, say Tuesday and Thursday from 10-11:30, then I'm going to need to make appointments with students who have classes then. So I usually vary my office hours to hit different sorts of schedules. I still have to make appointments, of course, and am happy to make appointments. But I don't imagine that students are suddenly not going to have their regular Tuesday/Thursday course just so they can come to my office hours.
My initial response is to think naughty things about administrators and how they don't remember that teaching students is our primary job, and how class scheduling generally works, and don't take that into account.
But upon a bit of reflection, I realize that I have no clue, none at all, about how administrators fill their time. I guess I assume they have some set meetings. I'm in a set meeting once a week where one administrator regularly comes. I've been on other committees (and in faculty governance work) where administrators pretty much always were at our set meetings, every week. I'm guessing there are a fair number of meetings with other administrators, either regular, set meetings, or meetings scheduled more on the fly to deal with an issue or problem.
And then I'm guessing there's endless paperwork.
So, folks, how do administrators fill their schedules? Let's assume for a moment that they're neither stupid nor insensitive to the lives of instructors. Why do they put all the potential meetings at the same time on days when instructors are likely to be teaching a given class?