In the last few weeks, most of Imperial’s undergraduate populous will have received their exam results. While almost everyone else rang up (or came into College) to get their results as soon as possible, I had decided to wait the oh-so-efficient IC registry to send them to me in the post.
When the registry finally sent me results notice two weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised that I had done better than expected. However, there were more surprises in store. A few days later, I got a second results notification. At first I was worried this was an error-correction and would show that I had indeed failed. However, it was identical.
This time there was a cover letter showing how to convert exam marks from the “College Scale” to the “Mathematics Scale”. I was a little confused and wondered if this meant that my mark in Maths wasn’t as high as I thought it was. Eventually I looked at the letter in more detail and realised that it was from a “Ms Lynda White” who is a Senior Tutor in the Maths department. So, my second ISE results notification (and the ISE 2 pass list) had been sent to me, as part of the Maths mailing. How odd? I put this down to Registry incompetence and forgot about it.
That was until last week when I received an email from an ISE 2 colleague in Malaysia. It was a long-winded apologetic email, but the crux of it was that they had sent him a copy of my exam results – and he had opened it because his name was on the envelope. I wasn’t that bothered about this guy seeing my results. However, in principal this was more serious than the previous Registry error. I’m sure a lot of people would mind if their exam results were sent to someone else (particularly those who did not do as well as they would have liked).
Having been a dutiful Dep Rep all year, I fired off some crude emails to various people in the Elec Eng department. I got a response from the ISE course administrator (a very efficient lady, unlike Sherfield bureaucrats) who filed an “official” complaint for me with the Registry. A couple of days ago I received yet another copy of my exam results – this time with a cover letter from the Registry apologising for them having sent me someone else’s result! What was worse was that it looked like a standard letter (implying this sort of thing happens quite often). It was at this point that I gave up.
The fact is that despite the much heralded arrival of a business man as Rector, Imperial still has an excess of useless, ineffective, idle, incompetent admin staff in the Sherfield building. Official government figures show that Imperial is one of the best-staffed universities in the country (in terms of staff per student). But if you look closely you find that only about 60% of IC’s payroll is made up of academics. Some of the rest are genuinely useful people (technicians, lab people and other random staff in your department). But there are far too many self-serving bureaucrats in the Sherfield building.
When quizzed about his plans for a new College headquarters, Sir Richard told Hamish Common that he couldn’t “blow up Sherfield” because the College didn’t have enough money to build a replacement. Perhaps he should just blow it up and not build a replacement. After all, the few Sherfield residents who actually do something useful could easily be re-housed elsewhere in College…