I have committed to a three month let with an option of six, and my hope/intention is to get a new job and get out by the end of that period. I am feeling particularly inspired this morning after having had my blood-pressure raised by the ghastly piece of self-congratulation that is the “Oxford Magazine”, a university publication produced twice termly (I think), its front page graced by the usual sneers at administrators. Fine. Let’s remove all bureaucracy. Then when the university hits the headlines because it has caused members of the public to contract [pathogen] and die, because the bureaucracy of ensuring adequate safety standards was inhibiting of academic freedom* - then you’ll understand why a bit of administration is important. Similarly when you can’t get the library book you want because someone has had it out for three years – just as you’ve had a couple of books yourself and never thought until now that it was a problem. Or when you end up in the press because no-one remembered that the students on that field trip to a location adjacent to a war zone needed special travel insurance, rather than the stuff that suffices for a fortnight in the Dordogne. And whilst I’m at it, maybe those management consultants were inadequate – but it was the senior body staffed by academics that called them in, not the administrators. And maybe if the academic management of the nations higher education institutions had not spent the last 50 years ignoring all the administration that it could and rolling over waggling its paws at successive governments, then it wouldn’t find itself in the uncomfortable place it is now. Vice-Chancellors are career academics, so stop blaming me for their collective inadequacy.
*Such as the 1978 smallpox outbreak caused by taking a gamble on Health and Safety standards at the University of Birmingham. The smallpox victim recovered. The scientist died: he cut his throat.
In better news, at least for the sewing parents of small girls, Clothkits rides again!