Folks, I need your help. I’ll tell you a story and you’ll let me know if I’m completely deranged and need to get over myself, OK? I’ll be very happy to do so if there’s a popular consensus.
I’m on a committee that audits the work of one of the University’s academic departments. We talk to students and faculty, conduct surveys, visit the facilities, and in the end rank the department’s performance. If we rank it as unsatisfactory, it has to cease operations immediately because that means it’s not doing its job. This is called academic self-governance. The administration doesn’t do this. Only faculty revise each other’s work in complete anonymity. I happen to think it’s a very important principle, and I take this work very seriously.
Usually, we get together as a committee, decide the ranking, create a list of recommendations for the department and the administration, and write a report explaining our recommendations. That’s how it usually works.
This time, though, everybody decided (without me) that we will write the report first, and then the recommendations will somehow come out of that. We will all be writing separate sections in Dropbox without meeting in person and agreeing on what we want to recommend and why. There was never any discussion of anything.
So now I’m completely stumped. I don’t want to be difficult and complicate anybody’s life but I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to be writing about the recommendations nobody has outlined. This is all supposed to be done over the weekend, so I have no chance to talk to anybody. This is the fifth time I’m doing this committee, and I never had a problem before. I simply fail to understand this method of collective writing in complete isolation.
Am I being rigid? Am I a contrarian bitch? Should I just write any vague bullshit and agree to sign my name to the recommendations I never approved?
Sorry for a long post.