Friday, June 17, 2016


I had cause to call our Human Resources office today, to check on something re the interdisciplinary basketweaving hire.  Holy Cow.

I see, day to day, the difficulties in my department from the budget cuts.  I hear from friends in other departments, too.  I talk to students, and know they're having problems getting courses, despite everyone's best efforts to keep things as good as possible for our students.

But I didn't think so much about how much difficulty HR is in.  First, I have to acknowledge that a good, experienced HR person is pretty employable all over the place.  It's not like a Shakespeare person, where there are 15 to 25 jobs in a year to apply to, all at once.  Nope, an HR person who's good (and ours are, pretty much.  Or were.) puts out feelers, and before long, they have another job lined up, one that probably pays better than ours.  And off they go.

So, the interdisciplinary basketweaving hire problem is, I hope, on its way to being solved.  I expressed my sympathies for the overworked HR person.

I know there's administrative bloat.  At NWU, there's a bunch of people whose basic jobs are to make work for other people, making extra paperwork, making assessment rules and then changing them mid-stream, and so on.  (We've now combined a few of those, thanks to some retirements and people taking other jobs.)  Their other job is to create acronyms to make it difficult for anyone to understand what they're doing.  This they call "accountability."  We're supposed to be accountable for how long it takes our majors to graduate.  Should we not accept students who switch into the major as juniors?  How about if we didn't accept students who can only take 12 credits a semester because they're working full time?

But at the basic level of people necessary to running an institution, those folks are really hurting here.

In, what, three years, the governor and legislature have shattered a university system that was pretty darned good, to the extent that even if they totally changed their attitudes right now, it would take 10 years to rebuild.  Of course, as far as they're concerned, this is a feature, not a bug.  They went in intending to devastate the university, and they've accomplished a lot.

I think one of our teaching units may lose accreditation from it's official area organization.  That could devastate it.  What student would come here for that area if the unit isn't accredited?

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