Wednesday, December 02, 2020


 I got copied on some emails today sent out by an administrative aide telling colleagues in my department that they need to do X before the year is out or else.

I get these sorts of emails fairly often.  We're supposed to do time sheets, pretty much like any other job, saying when we took sick leave and such.  But some people don't do them or skip some, or whatever, and so I got a bunch of copied emails telling people to get caught up or else.

I can sure understand missing a month.  It happens.  But not doing them for an entire year?  That's not just a mistake.  That's on purpose.

And we have a departmental email that goes out at the beginning of the month as a reminder, and then a week later as another reminder.  

This time, it was trying to get people caught up on "training" stuffs we're all supposed to do before the beginning of the academic year.  There's one on email and other security, and one on not sexually harassing students, and so forth.  Yes, they're useless.  And yes, someone is making way too much money supplying these mandated training things to large employers.  For each, it's about 90 minutes of stupid irritation.

But just do it and it's done.  (I did three for the coming year over Thanksgiving break.  Two one day, and one the next, and now I'm done for the year.  Yay me.)

I'm sure pretty much every largish employer or government agency has these for employees to do.  And mostly, I'm sympathetic to the goal: don't think you're going to get millions of dollars if you send your bank info to that Nigerian prince.  And don't sexually harass people.  And try to treat people with respect and decency.  All of those are worthy things, even if the training module thingies are dreadful. 

What I've decided to do is send one follow up email about whatever, reminding the person of the consequences (you lose some benefit that's nice, usually).

Today, I got a polite email back, thanking me for the nudge.  Okay.  Nice.  At least it was nice.  But seriously, I shouldn't have to nudge someone who's been here for nearly 10 or more years.

I think the biggest shock for me as chair is the constant reminder that my fellow faculty members haven't bothered to "read the syllabus" or "do the reading" or "do the homework" or whatever that we all complain that students don't do.  

And for exactly the same reasons: we're overwhelmed, and the things we're supposed to do don't seem as important as other things, and so on.

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