From Dr Legal

It’s that time of the year again when we have to do our annual reviews through the wonderful (read clunky) online program Compass. My supervisor has already e-mailed me twice about it. Early in the year I sent my annual report on what I might be doing in 2013. It was a work of guessing, wishful thinking, and lots of conjecturing in order to assuage the supervisor (read someone who is not really an academic and does not understand fully what I do). At the time he was never happy with whatever I wrote and we went through a game of volleying emails back and forth with answers to his ‘further questions.’ It was an exhausting exercise and it wasted a lot of my time.


Now, it is time to show whether I have lived up to the expectations created in the first report. This time I wanted to make things different. No more wasting time with e-mails back and forth, my plan was to give him so much information, be so thorough, that he’d back off and let me be. After all, academia is one of the few professions in which you feel you have to be productive (and you want to be for the love of what you do!) even if you have no boss breathing on your neck. But the university does not believe it is in our own interest to work hard. It spends money and time devising endless online forms to be checked by a bureaucrat somewhere up the food chain. (Please note that the same bureaucrats are NEVER assessed or made to justify what they do and why they command salaries which are usually three times those of teachers and general staff).


So last week I spent 5 hours of my time not teaching, not writing, not supervising PhD students, not writing grant applications. No, I spent 5 hours filling out my compass annual review report. I had to justify how each of the things I did during the year benefitted UWS. Humm, how does publishing, being invited to conferences, presenting my work overseas, or having a PhD completion assist UWS in its mission? In my view, it is self-evident how they do. What is also clear is what doesn’t benefit UWS: the Compass review. Now the big question is: will my supervisor finally leave me alone to do my job as a teacher and a researcher? Watch this space…