It should have been an OK day but of course that's not how it panned out. I had to leave home very early at 6.30am to ensure I beat the crazy traffic between Mornington and Frankston, and again at the Ringwood end. I still can't fathom how the shortest two distances can take double the time of the longest in the middle. Roll on Peninsula Link... sorry Baxter Township we need to bypass you to get across the sprawling burbs!
The announcement that Melbourne was set to become Australia's largest city by 2030 is scary. All the wonderful grazing pastures nestling between the outer suburbs and the Peninsula and Frankston region is disappearing behind square bland featureless boxes for home buyers, cramped on small allotments with 30 square floor plans! What about building in community spaces? Gardens, parks, playgrounds... let alone bus stops and TRAIN lines. Every bloody house needs at least two cars just to get to and from work and schools... How sustainable is that?
I know the livestock grazing at present contributes methane but surely it is balanced by the actual trees and grasslands?
Well I arrived some 45 minutes early but had I left 15 mintes later that would have been cut by 30 minutes or more. I am amused by these Committee meetings. The things on the Agenda fall under the responsibilities of Admin staff and our Middle level management yet there is a pretext that this is a consultation process. What a joke... it is top down decision-making where policy drives all and the deck chair arrangements are left to the rank and file at the work face. All the committees look good on paper but there is little scope for radical thinking or challenging hierarchical strategic or policy decision-making.
As for students (clients/customers) they are definitely seen as The Problem to be dealt with. They are the ones whose needs and requests require altering and adapting exixting procedures... what a pain. The main focus is how to document the changes and alterations within existing administrative models and recording rather than the pedagogical or equitable application effective education provision... despite the hollow rhetoric about Teaching and Innovation.
Given the various academics and academic group heads have little input, aside from being delegated tasks and deadlines, there is definitely no space for genuine student consultation and upwards information flows. The levels of bureaucracy ensure status quo rules at all times.
The priority is to wrap things up in under 2 hours rather than looking critically at the procedures (and underpinning policy imperatives). It is the worst kind of administrivia I have witnessed in the Higher Education sector over the past 30 years.
Is it any wonder I leave feeling stressed, despairing and my poor finger nails suffer from savage biting attacks? My head is saying "just think of the cash" but my ethics and heart is saying "do something". But what?
Home and of course all my energy is completely sapped. So much for another day of MY work! It takes all my efforts at present to get up, dressed, attend to my meals (and digestion of), my medications, stress levels, and mental health without attempting serious levels of protracted periods of concentration.
It's the whole Maslen's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid again. Worry nightly about the budget, fear the future but focus on the food/shelter/health issues fisrt and foremost. Intrinsic rewards and sense of academic progress/achievement seem so insignificant amongst the daily grind.
Is it any wonder many of us long to escape to the magic of the 'footlights'. Fantasy sure beats reality, hands down.