November 8th, 2004

Flute

I hate bureaucracies.

Who doesn't hate bureaucracies? But the past few weeks I have been gearing up for hours and hours to deal with my most hated bureaucracy ever: Penn State's Office of Research Protections. I thought their previous name was more appropriate: Office of Research Compliance: ORC.

In recent years this office has been the most picayune, obstructive, petty, problem-causing agency I have ever dealt with. No matter what I submit, they always find something they think is objectionable, and it is always something that the office had no problem with at all 10 years ago when they were called the Human Subjects Committee. And by taking their good, sweet time, their full three weeks for an "expedited" review, they have more than once left me at the very end of the semester requesting changes that I didn't have time to make before the course was over and I lost all my potential research participants.

This semester I began writing my proposal weeks earlier than usual to try to avoid the last-minute time crunch. But as I worked on the proposal, I kept worrying about not saying something or saying something wrong that would lead to rejection, so I kept writing and re-writing until today, which is going to put me right back in the familiar nail-biting position, wondering if I'll get approval in time to do my research.

The stakes are a little higher this time, too. I've been invited to give a talk in New Orleans next January, and I've been counting on having some data to talk about. Not sure what I am going to do if I don't...

I hate bureaucracies.
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