Gus was on his own in the cafeteria when I got there this morning, which was just as well as there was something I wanted to have out with him. "You were supposed to wait until we had both signed off our copies of the appraisal paperwork before you spoke to Mike Rowe" I said.
"Oh" replied Gus, "Has Mike spoken to you already?" "Yes" I replied, "He wants me to take over as Library coordinator with immediate effect. I thought that when we were discussing new administrative roles for me we were talking about next year".
"Mike asked me if any of the people I was doing appraisals with might be willing to take on the Library role" said Gus. "You know that Patrick Murray has really let it slip and there are some big decisions about journal subscriptions that need to be taken urgently. The Librarian and the Dean have both been on his back about it."
"So what is Mike doing about Patrick Murray?" I asked. "How is it that he can get away with not doing what he is supposed to do?" Patrick had the role at present although it was common knowledge that he was not exactly fully engaged with it. Gus said that as well as letting slip his Library responsibilities there had been student complaints about his attitude in seminars where he had called certain individuals "thick" or "stupid" when they couldn't answer his questions. There were also questions about the adequacy of the feedback that he provided on assessed work. This was just the kind of thing that could cost us dear in the National Student Survey.
Mike said that Patrick had been given a warning and asked to attend some special workshops run by Dr Weasel in the university's Centre for Independent Learning and Assessment (CILTA). Actually it had not got off to a great start. Patrick was told to attend a workshop on Communication last week but when he turned up for it he found that it had been postponed. The only trouble was that Dr Weasel had forgotten to tell anyone that it was going to be rearranged! "Why doesn't that surprise me?" I thought.
Gus told me that Patrick is also down to go to the Assertiveness Workshop next week, also to be run by Dr Weasel. I commented that Patrick seemed to me to be more than averagely assertive. I recalled the occasion when someone had said that the students found him to be unapproachable and he had shouted out at full volume "Who says that I am unapproachable?" Gus said that was the point. Being assertive is not the same as being aggressive. "Anyway" he went on" the point is we do need someone to take on the Library role asap. Did you agree to do it?" "Yes" I said. "You know how good Mike is at persuading you that whatever he wants you to do is actually in your own best interest." He had emphasized to me that it would mean working closely with Jenny Jones, which he thought would appeal to me. It does!