Admin’s burdens

September 7, 2017

I wonder whether “another academic”, whose letter “State of the uni” bemoaned the “ludicrous amount of paperwork” in UK higher education (Letters, 24 August), could be induced to divulge which university he is describing? As an administrator, I would be delighted to apply for a job at an institution where the number of administrative staff is “ever-increasing” and where it is more efficient to ask the academics to complete and return forms than it is to do it yourself.

In my 10 years’ experience in higher education administration, I have found that the increasing workload is constantly being shifted on to a decreasing number of shoulders, and academics are asked to fill out forms only when the administrators’ powers of telepathy break down and they do not possess the information necessary to do it themselves (and even then the request is made with reluctance and in the expectation of three weeks’ chasing while fending off almost identical chasing emails from the central office to whom the form is destined).

It would be a pleasant change to work in a fully staffed office, and the barbed comments from the academic colleagues about “these folk” would not be anything new.

Jo George

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