The Accreditation Blues

I've got the accreditation blues at the moment. I'm acting head of a study program that is up for accreditation - next week the accreditation team will come for our inspection. But Monday the documentation is due in-house for the accreditation of the program I teach in.

I am *swamped* with digging out information, emailing colleagues pleading for input, writing stuff, getting tables and chairs organized in a room for the committee, etc. etc. And then there is a bad case of organizational infighting going on, and I'm specifying hallway furniture for the school, and there is a report on what happened in the faculty last year due. Soon. Oh, and I am teaching 16 hours a week this semester. Did I mention that I'm associate dean? I get 4 hours off my 18 for this, but rules prevented us from hiring a qualified teacher to teach an entire course by himself, so I jumped in and took over the additional 2 hours.

Sure, it's great that we are updating all our data, writing down for posterity all the cool things we are doing. But without the two people we have hired to do the actual writing and formatting of these two reports, there would be no possibility for us to get it done. Our days only have 24 hours in them, just like most everyone else.

The amount of teaching that we do must be decreased. We desperately need people who can read and write and maybe even do research who work with us in the departments. We need far fewer rules regulating what we can and cannot do.

The current system only works because we all wort far too much for far too little money. We are creative in making ends meets. But the system is starting to come apart at the seams. Adding "quality assurance" to the toxic mix will not necessarily neutralize anything.

Teaching is not about counts of people and classes. It's about content, creativity, communication and caring. But since we can't measure that, we declare what we can measure - even if it is beyond our control - and declare that quality.

Sure - people needing longer than 6 semesters to finish can be an indication that we have screwed up the organization. But it can also be an indicator that people preferred to have more money on hand and worked in parallel to studying. Or it can be an indicator that they spent time studying additional subjects. Or just that they wanted to have an additional semester of the student bus ticket.

A German educational organization had requested that their members no longer participate in this system, something I heartily agree with, even though I am not a member of the organization. But I'm afraid that the pressure from the money-giving bureaucracy will force people to participate.

I have decided that I won't participate in auditing other schools - mostly because I don't have time. Now, back to my to-do list of number collecting.

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