Congratulations Barney on being appointed the looneyversity’s new Vice Chancellor. Here at UWS Dissenter we’ve cracked open the spumante and UWS Connect party pies, and are dancing a jig on the copy-room floor in our ug boots and flannos.  To prepare you for the formidable task ahead, we will publish a series of short, sharp commentaries on the institutional malaise.

First up, red tape, the bane of our working lives. Now it’s true of course that academics everywhere complain about this: too many rules and regulations, risk-management paranoia, time wasted completing meaningless paperwork that nobody ever reads, clunky and inefficient systems and processes. But the looneyversity has turned administrivia to a fine art. Newly-appointed staff can often be spotted wandering the corridors in flabbergasted bewilderment as it dawns on them that they will have to trade their academic careers for a life of form-filling slavery. The looneyversity’s institutional arteries are so sludged up that academics can barely begin to do what they’re supposed to do.

It’s difficult to estimate the how much is spent on bureaucratic nonsense because the Werrington mob go to great lengths to conceal the true cost. But ponder this for a moment: UWS has more students per full time staff member than just about any university in Australia. Given that our students are disproportionately 1) minority 2) low income 3) first in their families at university, this in itself is a scandal. Too much is spent on administration and not enough to pay for teaching. But it’s actually worse than it looks.

This is partly because the Looneyversity’s robber barons take nearly two thirds of the money government gives us to pay for teaching, and most of the teaching is done in the Schools. Now the bean counters Werrington will tell you that most of it flows back to the students. But does it? You’d be well advised to get a forensic accountant on the case because unless something changes it won’t be long before some fairly pointed and fairly public questions will be asked about bureaucratic waste.

But even this doesn’t tell the full scandalous story. It is not just about management hogging such a large proportion of the resources, it is also that much of the money grudgingly given to the Deans to spend in their schools has to be used to cover administration that has nothing to do with teaching. And don’t believe the Werro mob when they tell you it’s all about government reporting requirements because much of it is concocted exclusively within the institutional bowels. When you get here, Barney, take some time to speak to both professional and academic staff about their work they do. I’m sure many will ventilate about the vast edifice of policy and paperwork that dogs their lives. Check out the policy manual yourself. It’s all online, a monument to the managerial control-freaks who have run this place for too long.

So how much do we actually really spend on teaching? 25%? 20%? 15%? In the race to the bottom the looneyversity has legs like Usain Bolt.

 

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