Addressing the “No Time” issue


I’ve been thinking about the “we don’t have time to do assessment activities” issue, which we are repeatedly hearing across campus.  I’d like to consider it a real bottleneck that our unit could develop strategies to address.

Of course there’s a question of what individuals and programs are prioritizing.  There’s also a question about what has been heaped on faculty plates.  I wonder if anyone knows, in any systematic way?

Over the weekend, I remembered a comment that one of the foreign language instructors made to me — she teaches the 494 course (special problems) entirely for free.  She’s a full-time instructor and 494 doesn’t count in her teaching load.  It sounds like its some kind of directed independent study for individual students to address problems.  She observed that if she has three students taking 494 this semester and she does this bc otherwise the students would have no help.  Another faculty in that department told me she’s on 12 committees.

I’m not saying this is a good or bad solution; however, it simply never occurred to me that such a situation could exist.  And how would a program or chair remember all the supplemental or off-load work that some instructors are doing?  How many of these tasks become invisible after a while?

One way to interpret the scarcity of time issue is to agree with it.  Yes, so many of us are severely under-resourced.   Ergo, for many programs part of assessment could be to regularly survey your faculty about where they are spending their time.  Then the program can discuss and prioritize and make informed decisions about what to, regretfully, postpone or eliminate.

Monday morning thoughts ….

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