This is a near-tripling of the workload per student. Individually, it's not much - if each meeting is 20 minutes long, adding five is less than two hours. Doing the paperwork is supposedly the responsibility of the student, but the staff member is ultimately responsible and is required to set the appointments, remind the students, keep records of how they 'supported' any non-attendees (e.g. offer alternative appointments and file the email trail appropriately) - this will add a bit of bureaucracy time. Maybe 3 hours per student over a year, on average? However, with a staff-student ratio of say 20:1 in a department, that is 60 hours - one and a half working weeks, according to the Stated Working Hours - of extra work for every academic in the department. PLUS the Department needs to have a Designated PT Champion who will ensure the system is working, meet with student reps, address any issues that arise due to say staff sickness or absence, study leave, students having Issues with particular staff members... oh, and collate data and write regular reports for the relevant Provot's Office. Needless to say, we are not allowed to drop anything else - oh no, those classes were advertised in the calendar, and that administrative special project is vital, and you still have that Triple Research Income In Five Years requirement - and there is no funding for extra support, not even a graduate student worker or admin assistant a few hours a week to help keep the paperwork straight. Some of my colleagues literally do not have enough spare hours in their teaching schedules to fit all the individual appointment slots in the 'standard day' (9-6, when appointments must be scheduled to avoid inconveniencing students) in the mandated Individual Meeting Weeks. Apparently time to eat or pee is not something academics need.
The documentation tells us that this new system was developed during a two-year process of research, planning, consultation and piloting (not in the STEM faculty, possibly explaining how we were expecting recommendations or a reminder to follow the current policy, not a totally new and punitive mandate). Yet it was released THREE DAYS BEFORE THE START OF SEMESTER. The administrator in charge is a Deputy Dean, only partially seconded - as in, still teaches one or two classes and has a small research group, as well as DDing - and rose from the faculty ranks after a couple of decades as an excellent teaching colleague and solid researcher in a department closely related to mine. He led the whole process, the pilot concluded early last academic year, yet no information went out to departments AT ALL until two weeks before the semester.
Can any Miserian tell me what could have possibly happened in two short years of secondment to make a formerly respectable colleague think this was in any way a good idea, or a valid way to implement something foisted on them by a higher-up?
I met one cohort of my Personal Tutees over Monday and Tuesday. I asked them how they felt about the new system - did they think it would be more supportive, did they feel it was what they needed, what could I do within it to help them as individuals? (customer service speak TO THE MAX). The comments included "it feels like being back in High School" and "it's stupid" and "the leaflet explaining it talks like we're all helpless thickos not university students."
Hopefully this will be a one year thing, then will quietly wither away over next summer. But in the meantime, where's that extra week and a half coming from in my schedule? Annual leave, or research writing (which will affect my career progression - I don't think PTing is going to COUNT in annual reports any more than it does already somehow), or sleep?