head of department, day 96

I’ve developed an inability to get anything but administrative work done in my office.

There are practical reasons. My phone rings, people knock on my door, and of course they have issues that need to be dealt with immediately. Since three of the 4 1/2 tenured lecturers have left our department in the last two years, and we have yet to INSERT two of them, and another is on sabbatical (though he’s been pitching in a lot more than he should) the department is taking a lot of work right now. It’s running OK on the day-to-day level, sort of, with lots of help from people being hired 6 months at a time (sigh), but for there to be any sustainable future a lot of alliances need to be built and choices made and agreements come to and it’s really time-consuming work that screams out to be done immediately.

Yet I’m only paid to do about seven hours of administration a week. Yes, that’s taking the lower course load because I’m heading the department into consideration. I actually think seven hours would be realistic now I’ve got a handle on how stuff works, if we weren’t trying to rebuild the department and if there were enough other tenured staff members that I could delegate the things that are supposed to be delegated: you’re in charge of international students, you’re in charge of keeping track of research, you’re in charge of keeping track of teaching in general, you coordinate the MA program and answer all their questions and know who’s writing about what and hunt down supervisors not doing their jobs and coordinate external examiners when they hand in their theses and make sure the courses work together, you coordinate the undergrads, you pay attention to what the IT department’s centralisation will entail for the rest of us. No, we don’t need an individual for each task but the system isn’t set up for one person to do everything.

I’m really sick of not getting any research done except when I’m travelling. So this morning, instead of going in to the office I’m home, ignoring my email and finishing up – well, not research exactly. Just getting permissions to reprint pictures in my paper on distributed narrative for the AoIR Annual, which has taken an hour because of its stickliness. See, even research comes with fiddly bits!

03. May 2005 by Jill
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