Friday, 4 September 2009

Home again

The flight back from Coolangatta was tedious but uneventful, and we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule because of strong tail winds. Crossing the Southern Alps on a moonlit night was quite special, and I was through duty free and customs in 30 minutes. Even the ride home from the airport was quick, helped by an older Samoan taxi driver with a fairly casual attitude to traffic lights.

Heather's knee is rapidly improving, thanks to Lindsay "Magic Hands" Jago, our local physiotherapist. She should be able to walk without the single crutch in another day or two, and her broken arm is healing really well. It's been a rough few weeks, though.

I'll start work a bit later than usual this morning, with the main business of the day being the massive restructuring of the university's service (non-teaching) departments, including our teaching support group. We have a department meeting this afternoon, to start framing our response to the plan, which will split us into separate groups. We've worked hard for three years to form collaborative working arrangements between academic staff developers and flexible learning advisers, and now we're being scattered to the winds to suit someone's organisational chart.

I've been repeating the famous quotation seen on office walls when restructuring is in the air, purporting to come from a Roman general: "We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress, while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation" - Caius Petronius Arbiter (AD 66)

Unfortunately, it's not genuine. It's still a good quote, though, like the opening motto for "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" - "It's all true, even if it never happened."

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