Thursday, June 08, 2006

Faculty Follies - when a deputy is not a deputy

In a faculty within the institution wherein I work, word on the street is that a plethora of position descriptions is about to be introduced. Academe is rife with meaningless descriptors for dodgy roles (adjunct professor, professor emeritus etc). However meaninglessness is about to reach new heights (or depths). The faculty in question is about to create Deputy Heads of Schools to work "alongside" Heads of Schools. It's official: the deputies will have the same status as the Heads of School.

Deputy (OED) "a person who is appointed to undertake the duties of a superior in the superior's absence".

Ironically, at the meeting where it was announced that the word deputy was about to be stripped of all useful meaning, concern was expressed about the declining literacy of undergraduates!

Also I understand that Heads of School will have assistants, as will the Deputy Heads of School. It's unclear as yet whether the assistants to the Heads of School will be of equal, higher or lower status than the assistants to the Deputy Heads of School. Or indeed, whether the assistants will be equal in status to those they assist.

All of this change will not affect me of course, because I am not a respecter of persons. Quite the contrary - I only respect good ideas. (In academe, there is a high correlation between bad ideas and high status.)