All entries for Wednesday 07 December 2005

December 07, 2005

Teleportation as a management tool

I'm coming to the realisation that a large part of my job involves relaying messages or requests or questions from one person to another. Often this is because the person with the question has been unable to get anyone to provide a useful answer, and therefore wants me to try and use whatever connections or authority or seniority I might (theoretically) have to get a response where they've been unable to. Two points strike me about this:-

  1. It's kind of depressing to think that a chunk of my job exists simply because so many people are so pathetically bad at responding to their emails or phone messages.

  2. The ideal resolution for many of these sorts of issues would be if I could instantly teleport people from whatever they happened to be doing into the meeting I'm having right then. Most of the questions or issues I'm asked about are not in fact difficult problems, and if the right person was in the room right then, the answer could very often be provided easily and immediately. Of course, it would be slightly inconvenient and occasionally potentially embarrassing for the teleportee, but that seems to me to be a small price to pay in exchange for the enormous increase in efficiency it would allow me to effect.

(If teleportation isn't arriving any time soon, a jet pack which allowed me to fly across campus in mere seconds and crash through the window of the person from whom answers are required ("Ah, Mr Don't-Answer-My-Emails! Just thought I'd drop in.") would be an acceptable substitute.)

International student influences

Interesting snippet in the Times Higher on 2nd Dec: International students report the following influences – in order – on their choice of UK university:-

  1. Word of mouth
  2. Institutional web site
  3. Access to the internet when at university
  4. Good IT facilities
  5. Feeling 'safe and secure'
  6. Good teaching
  7. Library facilities
  8. Academic content on courses

Nearly half the students surveyed were dissatisfied with the cost of accommodation, low levels of financial support via bursaries, employment opportunities and experience, and university careers services.

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