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Work Attitudes

For most of my academic career I was part of the contingent faculty. I am approaching my second year as regular, full-time faculty at my institution. When I was a part-time faculty member I took my job very seriously and felt a sense of obligation to the students more so than the university, my employer. Has this changed? Yes, it has. I have a stronger sense of loyalty to my employer, but this is compounded with an even stronger sense of loyalty or obligation to the students.

I have noted previously that I am content with my job and feel quite lucky to be part of the students’ higher education experience. But, I also have a sense of making this experience as seamless and supportive for them. At times I do occasionally feel like I am hitting my head against the wall. Yes, I am going to momentarily complain about the bureaucracy. There are rules about the major and overall degree program and I am here to help the students with the Political Science portion of their degree. My department has the least prerequisites of any department that I have worked for previously. This is good for the students; however sometimes the students will make a mistake and not take the proper courses and will find out about this later and in some classes, too late to graduate on time.

What I have been surprised to see–the unhelpful attitude from bureaucrats in the university. Sure, the student miscounted or misread the course list, but surely when a student is about to graduate we can make substitutions, right? No. Occasionally, it feels like Dr. Evil is the Bureaucrat–no, no, no, no. And, I think is a damn shame. Playing Devil’s Advocate, I suppose the university can (and does) say that the student should have known–should have checked, should have double checked. In the meantime, I will continue to balance my advocacy for students and the university.

5 thoughts on “Work Attitudes

  1. The best part, of course, is that under the current system, students can get into classes for which they don’t have the prerequisites. FAST/BANNER can’t apply prereq’s properly, so all of this year’s graduating students have always been at the university under BANNER. I won’t be surprised if a whole herd of them are approaching graduation without the proper requirements from their first two years.

    • Dear Richard: Thank you for your comments. And, you’re right. The current registration system is too user friendly in terms of allowing students to enroll or register for many courses. Then, they shop and at times forget about their list of required courses. If the system doesn’t always catch the requirements, then they end up in a pickle. Personally, I think the FAST/BANNER system stinks and is the cause of lots of the problems that I noted.

      I think that the next year or so will be very interesting, as more attempt to verify their graduation programs. I expect that the bureaucrats will continue to be just as accommodating as they currently are. Ironic, eh? Recruitment and retention mantra that is met with this “No” attitude.

    • Dear Dan: I am so sorry that I didn’t respond sooner! Banner/FAST is the registration, accounting, and records system that UVIC uses. I definitely prefer the old system, but the old system had not been updated in a decade ore more. You know us academics, when it comes to certain things, we don’t like change!

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