Choosing for ourselves


The APR has not only been mishandled, but it’s been a huge waste of money and resources.

According to what are some officially presidential-level claims, in order for our university to succeed, then our university “must be selective in the programs that it offers.”  A bit further down the Academic Program Review page on the president’s official website, we are judiciously informed that even more surprisingly, in order “to achieve excellence, choices need to be made.”

So far, this proverbial shit-flower of an academic program review has effectively taken course as any political-bureaucratic shenanigans predictably might. That is to say, it is increasingly consuming precious institutional resources and otherwise-productive time. It has also finally started blooming wonderfully into a steaming pile of crap that a majority of people don’t seem to care about. Worse, those who do seem to care often outwardly suggest that they only do so by, in fact, explicitly “not caring for the process.” While some may care about the APR process, they still don’t care about the APR itself.

Simultaneously, it seems like the APR is something a large number of students might remain perpetually unaware of. Now, just three short years into the process, the majority of practically useful information is finally being unloaded and publicized to the student and faculty bodies. Big changes in the theatre department. In fact, a couple of these wintery weeks ago, there was even an informative Q&A seminar held in the Education Auditorium – which just so happened to take place somewhere around 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning when, big surprise, most students are presumably either sleeping or already in their probably costly and time-consuming classes.

So, effectively, any student with potential fucks left to give is forced into a practical dilemma. If you want to go learn about what programs are being cut, how the faculties and organizational structure is being potentially compromised, or to otherwise if you’d like to see the latest production of student-funded administrative drama unfold, then we’ll make sure to hold the quasi-informational Q&A session – note: one administration-initiated session? – at a time which is practically unreasonable. Of course, the APR has only been weighing up and down on the string-bean merits of the status quo for three years – give it some time.

Then, boiling down the shit-mix, it’s only been about three years of fast-paced bureaucratic shenanigans and we’ve got a Q&A session along with a few pages of a toilet-paper-website full of some magically produced fun-facts. Take it easy, though, we’ve brought in the global HESA team; you’ve got your brain-examinations and term-papers and a daily schedule already jam-packed with rigorously methodological procrastination. Who cares how many dollars have been spent so far, at least we can trust that a HESA, with no real connection to this university aside from money, will do what’s best for the institution.

Is your program being affected? If you’ve missed the easily accessible Q&A session, all hope is not yet lost, because there is a surprising amount of information on the internet if you’re youthful enough that you can manage to navigate the mind-numbing labyrinth of the university webpage before succumbing to death by dysentery. Also available to the insatiable desire of curiosity is the HESA's webpage, where they’ve wrapped it all up in fancy colourful packaging to sell to you. Hell, some say you can get a potentially decent university degree online for free. That way you wouldn’t have to put up with the bureaucratic shenanigans.

Gathering up the whole bloody onion in one single, unfortunate breath: it seems practically unnecessary and it’s arguably not best practice nor does it seem to be in the best interests of our organization to hand-over and effectively pay directly out-the-ass for outside political management to re-schematize and re-strategize our entire academic program structure. What’s the end goal, anyway? Saving costs, increasing profitability? Increasing productivity and efficiency? Surely we can “choose” that for ourselves. Cut some of this flowery bureaucratic orgying. Why hire-out someone else to do these things for us, rather than work together and creatively develop and plan our own inter-organizational goals for the future? Are we that dependent on someone else’s generic Lego-block business model? Shouldn’t we all, as students and faculty, have a much larger actual presence and a more democratically relevant voice in speaking and deciding toward the development of our own organization than some third-party, for profit, outside agency?

Dustin Christianson

Photo by Edward Dodd

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