I was talking to one of the powers that be here, someone I like and respect a lot, about how our department might do the evaluative work that we're under pressure to do, with the constant threat of "if we don't do it, they'll do it to us."
We were talking, and I asked if we didn't already have a sense of how well our students did X task by grading a given kind of paper.
Well, yes, my colleague said. So, why don't we use that?
My colleague said we might be able to do a special form so that it all looked alike so we could analyze it together, and that what we really should do is take random samples, say 5 papers from each of the courses in question, and all get together and read them all so that we make sure we are all on the same page about the quality thing.
Seriously? We have, say, ten of these classes, and you want me (and any number of other colleagues) to read and evaluate 50 extra papers about this one aspect?
I said I might be talked into spending an hour together with some colleagues to norm ourselves on the form, but there was no way I was reading an extra stack of papers.
Not even for money, my colleague questioned?
This school can't pay me enough, I said.
We're doing a separate program and there's going to be serious faculty development, and it's built into the program that faculty involved with spend about a week on faculty development and be paid $500.
I'm one of the lower paid folks in my department, but my paycheck grosses (for 9 months a year) at about 5K. So paying me $500 is asking me to work for a week (during summer) for less than half of my regular pay. So I have an idea of how much this place is willing to pay me for extra work. (Or not pay me, as last summer's fiasco of administrative incompetence demonstrated.)
I expect that faculty development to be useful to me, so I'm willing to do it despite the low pay.
BUT, given that that's the sort of pay this place is willing to give us, and given how torturous reading a stack of papers is, and given how utterly useless I have found all such processes in the past, I'm really not willing to spend my time reading an extra stack of papers.
We were talking about this stuff because that evaluative work might get tacked onto my little cheese administrative thing I'm doing this year. And if this evaluative work gets tacked onto the work I'm doing as interim next year, I sure as heck won't be putting my name into nomination to do the job again. That's an easy decision.
I have to say, I'm so sick of the threat that "if we don't do it, they'll do it to us" that I could spit. The they of that threat isn't doing diddly that's of use. There's no serious evaluative stuff happening here, despite blathering and spending money up the wazoo to talk about it. And what is being done is being done to us already, in ways that make me lose a class day in intro writing every fall.
I've never yet seen anything useful come out of all the money they've spent and all the crap they've made us do. I have seen viscious nastiness happen, however. And I've seen threats of more to come.
But right now, there's a bigger threat, and it sort of makes me want to say no to the evaluative stuff that doesn't seem useful. (If and when it seems useful, I will be happy to help and to get help.)