Friday, July 9, 2010

The bureaukleptocrats are still at it!

Imagine a university where the following things happen:
  • A "short" summer course is offered, to be taught in July, and students begin registering and paying for it.
  • By early June, only eight students have registered, so some klepto administrator decides to cancel the class. The instructor slated to the teach the class is notified, not in writing, but verbally.
  • The day before the class is scheduled to begin, the class is still listed on the university's web site, and nobody, other than the instructor, has been told that it was canceled.
  • On the first day of class, the course is still online and the eight students are still registered. The instructor goes to the classroom at the appropriate time. Seven students are present. None have been told that the class was canceled. Some are upset to learn this, since the course is required for their major.  When asked whether they had paid for the class, most students answer affirmatively.
  • Finally, the day after the first class, the course is removed from the web site.
  • At least one student was able to get a Late Schedule Adjustment in order to register for a different class.
  • As of this writing, the instructor still has not received official, written word that the course was canceled.
If there seems to be no clear, established routine for canceling classes and informing those affected in a timely manner, this is because the klepto administrators of this university prefer to keep it that way. As one of them was reported to have stated in a faculty senate meeting, they prefer to keep things vague, so that they can be "flexible."  One wonders what this means. We have already learned that one thing it means is that they can decide, after the fact, whether and what to pay a faculty member for teaching a course. Perhaps it also means that they can keep the money students have paid for registration as long as they want to, all the while pocketing the interest.

Apparently, also, this klepto administration prefers to offer students fewer choices in courses, and herd everyone into one large class. In the case described above, they "saved" $1200 (the medieval salary this instructor would have received) by canceling a class that would have brought in at least $3840 in tuition and fees. Based on this evidence, they aren't really very smart.

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