Terminal Degree

life at a rural university in the South, accompanied by the sweet sounds of the kazoo

>Academic Red Tape

on August 21, 2007

>Here’s a great example:

A kazoo student needs to register for my class. Once she registers (but not until the moment she’s registered), she’ll be one of my advisees.

Simple enough, right?

Except she’s a first-year, and that first week was a little overwhelming. She lost her “alternate pin number,” the one needed to add classes to her schedule.

She called the Registrar. She was told to contact her adviser (yes, that would be I) to get that pin number.

Except that when I go into the system to look for pin numbers, I can only get them for my advisees. And guess what? A student can’t be my advisee until she has registered for my class.

Which she can’t do. Because she doesn’t have that pin number. Which she can only get from me. Which I can’t find for her until she registers for my class. Which she can’t register for until she gets that pin number. Which she can’t find until…

(Sing to the tune of “There’s A Hole in the Bucket…”?)

We fixed it, but not until I called the Registrar’s office to get that number. (You know, the office that told HER to call ME because THEY couldn’t give out the number. Even though they eventually did. And when I asked what that “alternate pin number” is actually FOR, no one could actually tell me.)

I’m sure this was just one of those funny things, although it chewed up some time. What’s your best example of Academic Red Tape?

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