Automation! Time allocation

While I hear weird rumours of staff in other colleges being asked to document their activity in half hour chunks, at goldsmiths we think in grand percentages. Eg, of the 120 hours you worked this week, how much of that was on directly funded research council postgraduate support etc.

I fill in the forms as required, so was thrilled to receive the following message:

Dear John,

As you know, during the last Academic Year we conducted a Time Allocation Survey, sending survey requests out to Academic Staff electronically for the first time in the hope that this would reduce the admin burden on departments. However, the return rate that we have achieved (57%) across the College is below the level that we need (circa 80%) to satisfy the Research Council UK regulations. To try and increase the return rate a final reminder is being sent out for all the outstanding forms for the whole year.

You have received this email because you still have a number of surveys that you need to complete (there are 0 outstanding from 8 issued). You will have already received an automated email reminder for each outstanding survey

Ha ha ha ha!

(there are mitigating circumstances, of course, but the wording of this note is just priceless. I have asked for my 100% reliability reward prize money to be deposited in the usual off shore account.)

And a few minutes later:

Dear John,

You will have just received an email from me (with the subject ‘Time Allocation Survey Reminder – Summary’) telling you that you have some outstanding time allocation survey returns to complete. The email will then go on to say that you have 0 returns outstanding. Please ignore the reminder, the automated system has generated an email to everyone, whether they have completed all their returns or not.

My apologies for any confusion.

Nothing if not thorough. All good.