Let me be clear: I am willing to jump through whatever hoops are required. What annoys me is that the nature of the hoops cannot be described all at once. Months ago we heard that we had to come up with a set of disciplinary learning goals. Only gradually did I learn that we would have to prove we were trying to teach our learning goals by producing assignments and syllabi that pointed in their direction. And only a few weeks ago did I finally gather that we will have to create a set of rules for measuring whether and to what extent the learning is successful, as well as a method of assessing our method of assessment. Had I understood the assignment from the beginning, I would have had to spend much less time accessing my inner apparatchik.
And one more word. Nothing is going to make me see this as anything more than jumping through hoops. Lovely people have offered winged words about how the endeavor might benefit us, giving us more awareness of who we are, of our mission, of the nature and purpose of the liberal arts. Friends write to invite me to accountability workshops, as if such a thing could be anything other than three hours in hell. I will do it because I’m a soldier. But telling me it’s a valuable exercise won’t excite my sympathy, let alone my admiration.