Monday 5th April 2010
I know I just emailed last week, but there’s been even more fun and drama so I thought I would share it all with you!
The Inspection is all over now, and was actually quite funny. The University was so desperate to make sure that everything was in order and met the UGC guidelines that they ended up making all sorts of last-minute changes. The staff-student ratio was way too low, so about 2 days before the inspection they went round altering people’s contracts to make it seem like we had more teaching staff!
I was given a brand new contract, complete with a forged signature from the Vice-Chancellor, stating that I am now an Assistant Professor, and a member of the teaching staff! We were told we’d have to give back those contracts after the inspection, but if I offer to give a few lectures next year I can probably keep the title (although I’d feel a bit of a fraud putting that on my CV!).
Also, our registrar, Dr M, a really lovely but quite elderly man (rumours have put him at somewhere between 67 and 72), realised that he’s not legally allowed to work at the University after 65, so poor S in HR was sent an order from on high to change his date of birth in all of his HR files so that he wouldn’t be found out!
It was all a lot of drama, and everyone went a bit crazy getting ready for it, but I have to say that for me things went very well!
On the second day of the inspection, I had to give the UGC guys a short 10-15 minute presentation on our CSR activities. I was told they were on a very tight schedule, so I had to keep it brief. None of the senior management were there, so it was just me, A (the head of CSR), and about 7 of the UGC inspectors. I gave my presentation, (complete with powerpoint slides, diagrams and flow charts!), and then afterwards they sat and asked loads of questions and seemed really interested in it all. They were so absorbed in the details of some of our programmes (designed by moi of course!), that they forgot about the time and the VC had to come and see what was taking them so long!
That night at their fancy dinner with the Chairman, Chancellor, Pro-chancellor etc, the inspectors apparently raved about me and my programmes, and said it was one of the strongest points of the inspection! The VC told me the next day that I’d made such a good impression that the Chairman and the Pro-Chancellor had both asked to see a copy of my presentation, and everyone was talking about CSR!
It’s fantastic for me, as obviously it means that people are taking notice and saying positive things about my work, but it should also help us to get some funding for our programmes, as so far we still haven’t had a committment on it, but now seems like the perfect time to strike while the iron’s hot and go for some money to get things moving!
Everything else is going really well too. I’m making a lot of progress with our NGO Internship programme, and we are starting a computer literacy class for under-priviledged children today, courtesy of a couple of student volunteers and Microsoft. We are also slowly getting on with the vaccination programme, although we hit a couple of snags on that one, mostly because A, my boss, is a bit of a moron. She and I have had several fights, and although we’ve always made up quickly (I am very good at hanging my head in shame and apologising after I lose my temper!), it can be extremely frustrating to work with her sometimes!
She’s a truly lovely woman, but very very unreliable, and not terribly together at times! She’s the head of CSR and also Head of Mass Communications, and has been a professor and academic for years, but sometimes I really do have my doubts about her!
At the moment, I am working on the majority of our projects alone, as she has academic commitments, but she wants to set up a Post-Graduate Diploma in CSR, and so that is one of her activities. I asked her the other day if she had thought about all the things she needed to do for it, as we were discussing deadlines for implementation. She looked at me blankly, and said “like what?”, so I explained that if the course is supposed to start in August, then in the next two or three months she’ll need to decide who is going to teach the course, interview candidates and hire someone, plan the modules and write the module descriptions, order books for the course in plenty of time, and obviously advertise the course pretty soon, or else no-one will know about it and no students will enrol! She looked at me blankly for a minute, and then looked shocked and stunned, and said “Oh yeah! I guess I will have to do all that. I’ll have to start thinking about it soon won’t I? There’s a lot of work to do!”.
Sometimes it’s like gently placing her finger on the switch and then waiting for the lightbulb to go off, and it’s almost embarrassing to watch!
But anyhoo, like I said, everything else is going great. I’ve been here just over 2 months now, and I feel like I’m finally fully settled in and getting into my stride nicely! I have also made some great friends in Delhi now, who I’ve been hanging out with most weekends, and they are all a lot of fun.
Hope this find you well, and that you all had a lovely easter! (Lucky bastards – some of us worked Friday and Monday!)
tons of love and hugs,
p.s. – For those of you not familiar with the phrase FIGJAM, well, google it….