There’s never been a time when the Higher Education sector has had more information about staff working hours and responsibilities. Likewise, structures of line management are far more clearly drawn today than ever before. Everyone is in-the-know about everyone, it would seem. But few are in a position to relieve academics and administrators of their sometimes intolerable workload. There simply aren’t the resources.
The news of Dr Malcolm Anderson’s death came as a dreadful shock, but hardly a surprise to anyone who’s worked in the sector. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to commit suicide. That death might strike an intelligent person as being preferable to their conditions of work ought to give us pause for thought, and for a long time. And, of course, it’s only the very diligent – those who always give nothing short of their best, bear their students on their heart, and who work insanely long hours, without relief, under constant pressure and mounting expectations – that ever consider this course of action. The system sacrifices its most worthy.
8.30 am: A review of the week ahead from the perspectives of teaching, research, and admin. But before all else, and to assuage a week’s prevarication, I studied, and was tested on, data protection and security, on line.
Q: ‘A thief breaks into your office and steals your breeches. Is this a data breach?’ (‘John! You’re not taking this seriously enough!’, my remote-conscience chastened.) Admittedly, I was attending to other things in parallel.
2.00 pm: A swift jaunt to the School to pick up a parcel that ought to have been delivered to home. More memory. Another upgrade:
Now, no computer runs with less than 8 GB RAM. This is adequate for recording and performance purposes. 2.30 pm: I returned to ‘All Scripture’, while other devices were upgrading software, to review Friday’s work. The sun was out; the temperature had risen to 20 °c. (A record).) I need, now, to capture the text of 2 Timothy, Chapter 3, and verses 16 to 17, from which ‘all Scripture’ is derived.
7.30 pm: After a post-dinner coupling of socks etc, I looked over the new RME Babyface Pro – one of the finest analogue/digital interfaces on the market. This will serve as the ‘performance’ unit, in conjunction with either one of the upgraded MacBook Pros or an iPad:
I looked more closely at the text on which the composition would be based: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The idea of Scripture as a divine exhalation – the motif of breath – drew my attention. The verse is, in one sense, an index to, and an encapsulation of, everything written in the Bible. In the composition, the part and the whole would be heard together for the first time ever, I imagine.