Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For some mysterious reason, I am angry all the time lately

Actual conversation:

Person from the Research Office: "Hello, I'm calling about your application for a teaching innovation grant."

Me: "Hi. Yes, thanks, I received your letter saying I was unsuccessful."

PRO: "Well I wanted to follow up on this. Basically we thought your proposal was a great idea and really important. I think you should go ahead and do it anyway!"

Me: "Without funding?"

PRO: "That's right."

Me: "Well, you see, I'm not actually employed to teach the course in question. The grant application was a joint proposal between me and the guy who IS teaching it. He was willing to let me develop the materials I mentioned, paying me from the funds we applied for."

PRO: "But, you know, it's so important to have interactive online materials for modern courses. And it sounded like yours would have been very effective."

Me: "I agree. That's why we APPLIED FOR THE GRANT."

PRO: "So, you should contact one of our Educational Designers. They might be able to give you the technological assistance you require to develop those materials."

Me: "I don't require technological assistance. I require to be paid some money. So that I can afford my rent. And not have to spend all day diagramming sentences for Microsoft.* [Okay, those last two sentences might have just happened in my head. Not in the actual conversation.]"

PRO: "Your plan was to develop, um, a class blog, right? And wiki?"

Me: "No. Not a blog. The main materials would have been interactive online environments where the students could play around with some real language data, which we were going to digitise from simplified versions of people's fieldwork. There would be built in hints and guidance for exploring it, and relating it to the readings and lectures. [Thinking: if you had actually READ my grant proposal, you would have known this.] We were going to set up a wiki alongside this, so that the students could collaborate on their analyses."

PRO: "Right. A wiki! Yes, wikis are great! So, how about you contact the educational designer I mentioned? She'll show you how to set up a class wiki. It's very easy to do, so you probably didn't need all that funding you applied for anyway."

Me: "I'm hanging up now. Goodbye." [Okay, that last line was just in my head too. Instead I politely re-explained why I wouldn't be pursuing this project (BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE A JOB HERE. IT IS NOT MY COURSE) and eventually he went away.]


* Looks like this might actually be my new money earner. Big. woo. hoo.


quietandsmalladventures said...

argg! how frustrating!!! in other words, we think this is great but we want to get it done via the scientific five finger discount. (haha i have a finger for you mr non-funding person!)

Arbitrista said...

What an ass.

Anonymous said...

you should be angry. they want you to do the work so they can take credit for it while not having to fork over some bucks!

Weekend_Viking said...

Want to have a rant and drink session when I get in town next week? I have mining exploration rants, we can trade war stories.

Breena Ronan said...

Lame! You should have asked them what the hell they did fund. Sounds like they just didn't get your proposal at all. :(

Terminal Degree said...

I'm sorry. This would make me angry, too. I used to deal with this kind of crap all the time when I adjuncted. I think that a lot of folks at the uni simply could not imagine that a person might not be full time. Even the president's office used to ask me to work for free (or close to free). And every time it made me so angry.

I finally started saying, in as polite and matter-of-fact a voice as possible: "I made $5K for the entire year here last year, and I do not qualify for health insurance or retirement at this university. I hope this helps you understand why I cannot do this project for you for free." Most folks were stunned. They honestly had no clue what "adjunct" meant.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

If your idea is so important and helpful to learning, I wonder what they DID fund? It must have been something like technology to do assessment via Vulcan mind-meld...

liz said...

And universities are always wondering why more people don't go into academia.

undine said...

This is just nuts. What kind of person calls and wants you to work for free?