Random acts of ignorance ...

A couple of years ago via the request of a 'professional' friend, I agreed to step in as an external for a University undergrad programme that is on teach out. As programmes come and go and need updating, they needed someone who would be happy to sit as an independent external examiner while the second and third years of an exiting programme completed its natural process.

To say that they could not organise a fight in a fairy cake factory is an understatement. First mitigating with an idea that they were playing catch up was unrealistic. This mob are actually less organised than a bag of kittens and singularly lacking any sense of direction.

Either the silence was deafening, or the lack of communication annoying. Last minute requests for award boards, aggravating and an inability to book meetings in advance, frustrating. Their handing of any quality assurance process reaction, rather than action (with a smattering of inaction).

I finally blew my gasket when a promised set of scripts came later than expected during a few days when I was away on business for my university. I started getting several text messages before 08:00 -- has it arrived yet? Really - is the internet-email thing broken? What took the biscuit was when I collected it from the post office, before I could even sit down and consider the students work. I get another more narky text message at 11pm from the department head.

Consider my gasket blown.

A fair report was given on the students work, the marking and overall academic validity.

Coupled with a strongly worded go stick your head in the blender email + don't annoy me with your piffling ways; please consider this to be my resignation. Please organise collection of the students work you have sent.

Then one waits - seven days later, I receive a special delivery letter. The gist, why have you not sent the students work back.

I photograph the letter and email the fool from the quality office who sent it - dear muppet, if you don't arrange collection. I cannot send it, you know my address, you have my email why the frig can your university not arrange a simple task.

Within a couple of hours, I get an email -- we have arranged for DHL to collect the package, tomorrow! 

Fuming, I rap off another email -- asking them what their concept of professionalism is. First check, am I available, is there anyone in to hand over the package.

After some negotiation (them with me, not I with them) -- I eventually nailed them down to a practical time.

So, the moral of the story and a salutatory tale to some universities; if you cannot organise yourselves, don't expect your externals to play ball. I have worked with three other universities who have always been professional, communicative and capable. This one, who will remain entirely anonymous does not seem to understand the culture of support that it depends upon.


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