Monday, April 28, 2014

Fresh, hot, and Adminiflakey!

April of last year I put in a request to my program adminiflakes for stuff to modernize and vastly improve some courses. These courses have extra fees for the students, accumulating maybe $12,000 for the AY. Supposedly, the students pay the extra funds to help make these kinds of (expensive) improvements.

I had sent the request to the under-adminiflake (UAF), summarizing the request, the justification, the background work I had done (about 40 hours total of webinars, online research and talking to vendors, along with some student piloting). I had also done some student polling: students were panting for the opportunity to use said expensive new improvements. All this info goes to UAF. Me to UAF: “Let me know what else you need from me and in what form.” UAF to me: “Oh, this is GREAT, I am SURE Senior Adminiflake (SAF) will get right on it.

April – September: [crickets]

Approximately every two weeks, then every week, from Septmember to mid-December – me to UAF: “what’s going on, UAF?” UAF to me: “Oh, it’s still under consideration - SAF and I will talk about it early next week!” after week… after week…

December 31st rolls around. I want to finish writing my Spring syllabus. I can’t until I know if expensive improvements will be in place. Me: “Dammit, can you just give me an ANSWER?? YES or NO???” UAF: “Oh, well SAF thinks it’s awfully expensive, and we don’t know anything about these new improvements, and why can’t the students fund it themselves, and maybe you could pilot it first, because maybe the students won’t like it and that would be an awfully expensive mistake.” Apparently UAF had lost all the info I had originally submitted. I did NOT have a stroke, surprisingly, even when SAF pouted and said I was “unfair” after reading my scathing criticism of the whole process.

Fast forward to a month ago: I resubmitted the request, this time with pages and pages and pages of background and justification and numbers and adminiflakey bureaucraticandy crap. I had endured by then most of a semester of student pouting about not having the new improvements (they had heard about the request from last years’ kids).

Fast forward to last week: notification from UAF that our external advisory board is coming to review us, and that the visitors want a tour through the (woefully awful) facilities SAF has refused to upgrade, and would I handle it? Oh, and by the way, my NEW upgrade request was being viewed “very favorably” by SAF. (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Oh me, oh my, the temptations faced by a seriously annoyed tenured proffie who is close enough to retirement to seriously not give a rat’s posterior about keeping adminiflakes happy ….

-- Horrible Meanie Prof


  1. That's like how my last department head did things.

    Whenever I proposed something for the department and he didn't like it or couldn't claim credit for having thought of it first, his reaction was always: "We'll talk about it." It was a nice bureaucratic tactic. Saying "No" sounded negative and, so, a wishy-washy marshmallow answer gave the impression that it would be given some consideration in the future.

    But I knew better and didn't spend much time pursuing the idea. Then again, that was what he wanted all along.

  2. Horrible Meanie Prof, you are the perfect person to lead that tour. When the reviewers visibly recoil at the inadequacies of the facilities, you can tell them of your proposal, submitted a year ago and updated last month. You can speak of it as if it is already approved in principle by the SAF, already funded by student fees, etc. When you deliver the tour party back to the SAF, you can say "I told them about our plans to rennovate" and subtly make sure the whole party hears it. SAF will not be able to back away from it, and furthermore, you'll have saved SAF from a damning review of the current facilities.

  3. The same thing happened to Harry last night on Mad Men.

  4. We had been lobbying for five years to fill a position of someone in our department who passed away.. The only way we finally got permission to do this was to tell our external reviewer during our last program review what we wanted. He included it as a recommendation, and within two weeks of his report coming out, we had approval for this "new" idea.

    1. That's actually pretty close to what I was trying to get at in my comment of 9:21AM yesterday. The review is an opportunity to get things in writing that the adminiflakes can't back out of. It can be accomplished through finesse or blunt force as the situation demands. In my own case, when the reviewers complimented a certain aspect of the program, I let them know it was a recent development and that it was done on the cheap on a program-by-program basis without direct institutional support. In their review, they "suggested" that the effort be supported and coordinated accross programs. And lo, word from my superiors is that it will be done, for in the parlance of the review a suggestion is a recommendation and a recommendation is a requirement.