In support of all staff

May 14, 1999

Phil Race ("Make a friend of a paperbin", THES, April 30) had much to offer, but I take exception to his academic bias. As an administrator, I can give academics tips on cutting stress that do not include off-loading work onto hard-pressed administrative staff.

Race offers sound advice on meetings and prioritising work. However, he misses some fundamental points, the most important being "work smarter, not harder".

Learn how to use that wordprocessor or spreadsheet. One hour spent exploring the software will pay long-term dividends. Learn to use email so you can ask colleagues questions without having to catch someone at a desk.

I agree wholeheartedly with one comment. We do not cost anywhere near as much as an academic and often are paid less than research students. Perhaps if institutions invested more in their administrative staff, in terms of more posts and better wages, all academics would have access to the dedicated support Race obviously enjoys.

Jo Rontree

Secretary to head of mental health and professional studies in nursing subject group, School of Health and Social Sciences, Coventry University

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