Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bureaucratic doublespeak, or how i messed up my final

Okay, I can only blame half of this morning's snafu on institutional babble. I did, in fact, stay in bed too long, and was, in fact, late getting to campus. So that when my students went to the room they were told (by moi) to go to, and found it full of students preparing to take an actual final exam, they meandered in a safety-in-numbers sort of group over to the other classroom, to be greeted by a sign I had asked to be posted informing them that we would meet in the aforementioned classroom. Which was full of strange students. They emerged from the other building to discover me scurrying across campus, whence I expected to find them, loudly and boisterously occupying their usual Monday classroom.

Confused? Here's the thing: the scheduling paradigm here at Urban University schedules classes on different days in different rooms. So, this particular class met Mondays from 12-1:50 in one classroom, and on Wednesdays from 12-12:50 in another classroom. Yup, two different class periods in two different places. Wait, it gets better--there's also a writing lab that's "linked" to the composition class. This was originally assigned to yet another classroom. Yup, three different rooms on two different days. I was able to finagle the room assignment into one place on Wednesdays, at least.

So, then comes finals. According to the Official Final Exam Schedule, "For Classes with First or Only Meeting on M, W, F at 12:00 p.m.," the final would be Wednesday, December 14, at 10:30am. Fair enough. Except...the semester started on a Thursday. And the following Monday was Labor Day. So my first class meeting was actually Wednesday. Do I count the first day we would have met, or the first day we actually met?

With the help of support staff and experienced faculty, I got that sorted out. Next came the room dilemma. Where would my final be? The aforementioned Official Document states emphatically (in bold, in three different places) "Rooms: All exams are held in the room in which the course met during the semester." Hello! I'm in two different rooms. (Just channeling aerobil there.) So I emailed the room assignment high priestess, but she emailed me back a response to the question she was no doubt getting constantly: "When is my final?" Not my question, "Where is my final?" So, I asked the faculty. This time, advice not so good. Hence, the wrong room.

Whatever. It's over. Oh, wait, I forgot: a form suddenly circulated yesterday from the administration. Each faculty member was supposed to attest to when and where they were holding finals. Yes, we were expected to demonstrate that we were abiding by policy. A policy clearly communicated to me by the faculty member who keeps watch over me (i.e., the Director of Composition, a.k.a. the Assistant Chair). What other policies do they want me to fill out a form stating I'm following? 'Cause that's a lot of policies. I'm sure there's one about not downloading fun games onto my PC...

tee hee

1 comment:

aerobil said...

mother of jesus h. christ. thanks for channeling me, because I would indeed be speaking in BOLD.