This is not a joke

UBC people, please share, distribute, go, and talk to people including people outside our institution. Others elsewhere, comments welcome. Resist the rot:

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.34.19 AMTranslation for non-UBC people:

  • Sauder = the UBC business school
  • Vantage = UBC’s international college for international students who take “one year of academic courses combined with intensive academic English preparation” then “transition into the second year of [their] chosen degree program”
  • professional programs = the usual suspects (law, medicine, etc.) plus more recent more-or-less red-headed stepchildren (accountancy, pharmacology, etc.)
  • continuing studies = various non-credit courses, short intensive courses, certificates, some online ones, and other descendants of the fine and noble institution that was Night School. Obrienaternally approved.
  • Advisory Committee on UBC Learning Spaces = according to a UBC site search, don’t seem to exist? though there is an Informal Learning Spaces Committee but it’s a student committee about informal learning spaces.
    Whoever these good people might be, either which way I’m pretty sure they’ve not read anything I wrote about chairs some years back.

All other terms appear in their usual, non-institution-specific, Un-common Non-senses.

Dear Faculty Members,

The Advisory Committee on Learning Spaces, chaired by the Provost’s Office, is reviewing UBC’s Scheduling Guidelines and is seeking your input, as part of the consultation process. You have been identified as a faculty member who is involved with timetabling and familiar with scheduling issues. We hope you can attend one of two upcoming Workshops to gather feedback on some proposed Scheduling Guidelines changes. A document outlining proposed ideas for discussion is attached. Your insights and comments will be valuable feedback as we consider how to improve scheduling across campus.

The Workshops are being held:

Session 1:  Tuesday, April 14, 2015  11:00 – 12:30pm, location TBA
Session 2:   Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 3:00 – 4:30pm, location TBA

If you are able to attend, please RSVP […it’s too late now, but hopefully there should be at least one person from your department there, ex. chair or associate chair] by Friday, April 10, 2015.

On behalf of the Advisory Committee for UBC Learning Spaces, we look forward to your input.


Associate Registrar, Scheduling & Student Records Management

I have no date for the original message; it was shared with us by a colleague at a meeting a week ago. At least one member of our department will be attending (and RSVP’ed in time). I am not attaching the original attachment but it should be accessible by FIPPA request; I would seek legal advice before posting it in its entirety here or anywhere else public online. I shall, however, post a commentated version.

[cited from a colleague, anonymised]

“the university is currently contemplating a centralized classroom assignment system that will give priority to some programmes (notably where students pay higher tuition!!!!)  and not others.  Six people will be assigned to schedule classrooms for the 12,000 students in the Faculty of Arts. The proposed centralized system will  only aggravate the situation that already has us scrambling [for rooms all over a very large campus…]”


(1) Selling classrooms to the select on the basis of their paying more money through fees is clearly a terrible and stupid idea. These people need to be reminded of the following facts:
This is a university.
This is a public university.
It is in a first-world democratic country in the 21st century.

(2) The university also has rules and statutes, going back a century, and even the current mission statement is contrary to the letter and spirit of any such actions (and longer-term more permanent policy changes). I think you’ll find legal objections.

(3) The paucity of allocated staff is an outrage. These poor people will be overworked, underpaid, and suffer horribly from faculty complaining all the time. This is doubly bad given how many people are employed elsewhere in university administration (interestingly, so many of them below the $70,000 annual salary thresh-hold, plus the external consultants and sub-contractors who fly beneath the public information radar), in less obviously useful jobs. Take for example the research office people who automatically top-slice all SSHRC etc. grants (and faculty have to lie on their grant application forms to include that percentage without declaring it). Half of HR. Half of IT (the other half are fabulous).

(4) There is a need to communicate intense displeasure at the farcical approach to consultation. And to the timing of all communications and insistence on any feedback being provided at ridiculously short notice. Again, see point 1 above. This is a university. The core essential people in a university are faculty. We are the contingent whose work, as we see every day, and time and persons have no basic respect (let alone human dignity etc.) in this institution.

Faculty have other work to do, more and more of it, with bigger and bigger classes (and often worse and worse students, due to the destruction of the [primary-secondary] school system). People working 50+ hour weeks with no overtime (because that’s when marking, reading, writing, and research get done) cannot spare this sort of time and energy to Orwellian bureaucratic BS from unelected neoconservative overlords subject to no checks and balances.

I’m sorry if this is ranty, but I’m typing fast and tired and have an hour to finish another load of marking before a meeting then catchup classes to replace ones I missed because ill earlier in the term. Story of my life. Unless it’s a cunning plan to kill us all off and replace us with one machine and a hapless undergrad work-study / co-op student.

(5) It would be interesting to see what the reaction would be to mentioning every UBC employee’s right to talk about such issues with their union, and with their political representative (MEPs for those who have them; I am disenfranchised as a non-citizen), and indeed more publicly with the press. Whatever any individually chooses to do in the exercise of such rights, these rights remain. At least in theory. Asking a neutral hypothetical question could produce some translation from theory to policy and practice. And of course, assuming this meeting is on record, rope for hanging purposes and suchlike.

(6) See further, inter alia, Terry Eagleton writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education on “The Slow Death of the University.” (2015-04-06)


Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.08.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.08.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.19.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.09.16 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.09.27 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.09.35 PM

thisisnotajoke (PDF), feel free to distribute: #CommentIsFree + Down With The Project Management Handbook.


Programme expansion (and other expressions of the Viagra Paradigm of Cancerous Growth) vs. UBC keenness to be the No. 1 Green University (on campus, anyway; outside, investments, and cooperative work with industry are a different matter) and super-keenness on sustainability

ubc sustainabilityFrom the “Place and Purpose” Strategic Plan:

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.54.32 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.57.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.58.10 PMAnd a sustainability that extends to Human Resources (no joke intended):

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.56.59 PMIf you want a real good laugh, have a read of this.

And yet:

divest ubc divest ubc

See further still: Rutebeuf, Jean de Meun, Erasmus, Rabelais, fabliaux, Roman de Renart, Jonathan Swift, and others in the grand tradition of commentary on HYPOCRISY and other HUMAN FOLLY. It is a marvellous irony that folly should be the most human aspect of the actors, plot, and work in which we all play here at UBC.


Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.49.54 PMThe full plan is here. Pertinent excerpts follow…

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.54.10 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.55.21 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.55.51 PM Hence why I am posting this here, publicly and openly. As an act of “engagement” that “actively invites community participation” through “deliberate public dialogue on [this] issue of public concern.” Or: “Strategic Plan QED”

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