It's things like that

  • I like Erfurt. The university drives me nuts, however. Yes, I said this before.

    Last week I was once more in Erfurt. The idea was to hand over the keys of my old flat, and at the university to sign all the 200 something course certificates and clear my office. (This alone is insane. I have to fill out everything by hand. The grade, the credit points, the type of exam. I have to copy the content of my spreadsheet to the forms and later some poor soul has to copy the contents of the certificates – the examination office gets a xerox of each certificate – to a spreadsheet or data base.) This was supposed to be my last trip to Erfurt as a professor of the local university. Handing over the keys to my old flat was the only thing that went as planned.

    I was not able to reach (phone, e-mail) anyone at the personnel department during the morning. Only in the afternoon I finally got my check out list via e-mail. So, I need some signatures certifying that everything is fine, that there is no unfinished business.

    I got the signature from the library immediately. There were, however, several departments I had (almost) never dealt with before. So I wrote them an e-mail, asking for whether I can collect the signature or if there is still something I have to take care of first. The IT department answered first. And, as of today, one week later, they are still the only ones who answered. Great.

    Since my department’s administrator was ill I had to reschedule my checking out regardless of the missing signatures. Everyone can get sick. And I still feel sorry for asking her for so many favors. So I decided to pay Erfurt another visit at the end of the month and left without hunting down the missing signatures.

    Now, one week after I left, I am still waiting for answers to my e-mails. And this really drives me nuts. Clearly, the university’s administration is not working for the academic staff. They do not assist us. My feeling, and this is shared by some of my colleagues, too, is that the administration seems to believe it should be the other way around, the academic staff working for the administration. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. And without them nothing works; if they are ill everything is running on idle.

    So, let’s hope no one is ill when I’ll try to get the missing signatures.

It's things like that

  • I like Erfurt. The university drives me nuts, however. The last few years rooms and dates for the exams were assigned at the beginning of the term. Not this winter. Oh, dates were stilled fixed and published in the university calendar at the beginning of the term. Not the rooms. And, of course, everybody (the professors that is, or, in lieu of the professors their secretaries) has to ask for a suitable room or two for the exams. Nobody told us. Since this is the first time that they did not assign the rooms when they fixed the dates you may have noticed rather late that you still do not have enough room. That for the exam you were stuck in a cubbyhole instead of a lecture hall.

    So, this is what happened. My secretary fells ill (or one of her kids), and then she is under maternity protection before she took care of the rooms. The university does not even care about a replacement. They never tell you about any replacements, anyway. And I got four different secretaries during my three year stint here. I could live with not being told who the replacement is. But now, they don’t even care for a replacement. I leave in a few months.

    So now, I have no secretary and a room too small for every student having a place at a table. Let alone a table of her own so that they are not tempted to cheat. And, what does the administration tell me? There is no other room at the time of the exam. None. Not in the whole university. Bollocks!

    It’s things like that why I started to apply for a position elsewhere. I pity the students.