A wake-up call on mission creep

As an example of how mission creep adds to administrative bloat, Jay P. Greene reports that the University of Central Arkansas is contracting with a company, called Snoozester to provide a wake-up and reminder phone call service for students.

Students, at no additional cost to themselves, can arrange to have Snoozester call their cell phone to make sure they wake-up on time in the morning or to remind them of a test or appointment. Never mind that almost all cell phones already have alarm functions. We need the university to pay $11,000 to a company to make phone calls to students.

In addition to the $11,000, UCA is paying administrators to write and approve the Snoozester contract and monitor performance, Greene adds. And once the university is responsible for getting students out of bed, what’s next?

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  1. While I will say I’ve had students who were late for exams because (a) their alarm clock was mis-set, (b) the power went out overnight or (c) their roommate turned off the alarm to spite them, it seems excessive to hire a company to provide wake-up calls.

    (I would think an enterprising student group on campus could provide a similar service for less money. Maybe the Computer Students’ club? I’m sure they could program a mass dialer.)

    Especially if there are departments on campus largely staffed with poorly-paid adjuncts because the university “can’t afford” to make a full time position there.

  2. This is really curious. This is one of the “helicopter parent” functions I provided to my college kid for a while–I’d call and make sure he got out of bed in the morning. I suspect that this is the sort of thing someone would consider inappropriate hand-holding for a parent, but apparently they think it’s necessary, so we should pay someone else to do it? Most odd.