Monday, February 08, 2010

Review Letter

It's time for the annual faculty review letter! But this time, we're in for a reversal. Yes, instead of my supervisor reviewing me, I'm going to review the university.

Dear University,

Once again, you've admitted a full class of first year students! Good job admissions folks.

And, somehow, against the odds, you've managed to retain a record percentage of students between the first and second year. Well done, people who've worked with first year students.

We remain an accredited institution of higher learning, though things were iffy for a bit there, related to, well, some iffy behavior in a specific area.

You've cut the employee pay raise promised six years ago, and in addition put everyone on a more than 3% furlough pay cut combo. You've also managed to cut funds for faculty/staff development, travel, etc. And you're continuing to up the ante for tenure and promotion in a mode of "continuous improvement."

And yet, our headmaster made a strong statement about loyalty by continuing the university's contribution to the specialized athletic area owned primarily by the city. Thank goodness the area serves the headmaster's favorite sport!

You've raised the numbers of students in classes by about 5% in my departement except for first year writing classes.

You put everyone in the university through a grueling one year evaluation and self-improvement process. The result for my department is that you think we should combine our linguistics and sci/tech writing majors. I hope the results for someone's area in the department was actually a little more useful.

You've cut tenure lines in most departments, and pulled searches even at the point of verbal commitment. You've hired more adjuncts than ever before, and given them less real job security.

But you've added a couple important administrative positions, including an alcohol awareness educator; this is especially important because our students aren't aware of alcohol, despite the fact that adults in our state have a higher rate of binge drinking than any other state. Go us.

We now serve coffee and have exercise machines in the library. We've cut almost all our journal subscriptions, haven't hired new librarians to fill empty positions, and are continuing efforts to clear our shelves of books so there will be more room for exercise machines. But you did recently decide to go back to buying reserved textbooks so that students who don't have the money to buy their own can read reserve books.

You've managed to hire men to interim serial positions despite their inexperience. For example, the headmaster's drinking buddy became assistant headmaster for a year, and is now filling another administrative position. It's supposed to be for two years, but seriously, who's counting when it's the headmaster's buddy, so you've dropped the "interim" from the title.

In summary, if you were a faculty member, you'd be on the brink of losing your job for incompetence. Thanks for playing.


  1. Perfect. I wish you could send it.

  2. Anonymous9:30 AM

    Oh, I wish you could send it, too.

  3. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Bardiac, you've outdone yourself with that letter. Brava. (Sigh)

  4. We have the coffee shop in the library, but not the exercise machines. Wow.

    Otherwise, I think the admin doesn't get a merit raise, right?

  5. Our library just moved all the books and journals I use off-site (so they can no longer be browsed, and have to be requested several days in advance), in order to make room for couches and bean bags.

    Exercise machines are beyond the pale, though!

  6. Bardiac, you are brilliant!

  7. To be fair, whenever I find myself on a treadmill, I spend that time reading a book. But let's face it, it's been a while since I've been on a treadmill. :)

    I really wish you could send this in, too. Think you could do it anonymously?

  8. Exercise machines?!?

    This is a lovely letter. You should change any details that might ID you, and send it!