14 June 2016

Students vs staff: case sort of closed

Last year I had a dispute with the students. I wrote all about it here. Back in December, it was concluded that the students had no case; they had just performed badly and it wasn't due to bad teaching. That was, relatively speaking, a good thing. But they had claimed I had been rude and unhelpful in my e-mail correspondence with them; something I had denied. Both sides of the dispute had asked the current Head of School to arbitrate. Heads of Schools are busy people; nothing then happened for a while.

In April my reminders had effect; he read the emails and we had a meeting. He told me my emails were fine. Not necessarily perfect, but nobody expects that. So that was it then, case fully closed! He thought. But I reminded him of the fact that the minutes of the meetings with the students we had had were on the website of, I think, the students' reps, including the open case of the emails. In order to close the paper trail an addendum would have to be added to the site. This would be the job of the staff-student liaison officer. He's got more on his plate. I asked about it a few times but I have not yet got confirmation he has actually uploaded the document. I'll have to ask again.

If he uploads it, does that mean the case is really closed? Yes. The last resort of the students was the external examiner; this is a person who comes in and reviews all the teaching once a year, for those who aren't familiar with the concept. I think the Dutch call it a visitation committee or something. External examiners have the power to change grades if they think they are unfair. Anyway; the external examiners have come and gone now. They saw no issue with the assignment so the grades stay the same. As soon as it is officially documented on the university website I have been judged not to be rude and unhelpful, the last word about this dispute has been said. And none too soon; the next cohort of students is waiting to do this year's fieldwork, which leads up to the assignment. Let's hope this time, all will go harmoniously...

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