But it turns out that South Africans are mere amateurs at bureaucracy compared to Higher Education in England. My life is paperwork. Paperwork if I want to give students an extra week to write their essays. Evaluations to write up about my students' evaluations of my courses. Then evaluations of the external examiner's evaluations of my evaluation of my students. (Most American universities don't even have external examiners.) Evaluations of all the courses in the department, then evaluations of all of the degrees on which those courses are offered. My reading lists have to be written up in at least three different formats (one for the library, one for the bookshop, one for the students) before each course. And, just like in South Africa, there's always someone in some office to tell you that you've misinterpreted a question or you were supposed to fill out a CQ3 instead of a QC3, and therefore your proposal/evaluation/application won't be considered again until the next committee meeting.
But the most difficult part is that I have a big block against talking about this paperwork, because I just can't get my brain around the local terminology. My colleagues use the term pro forma for what I would call a form. This is a Latin prepositional phrase that means 'on account of form'. Using it as an adverb seems natural (It was done pro forma), as does using it as an adjective (a pro forma document). My colleagues use it as a noun, though, which I've never experienced outside the UK. The noun sense ('an official form for completion' [OED]) is not found in American dictionaries (well, at least not Merriam-Webster's or American Heritage), but is in Oxford's. It's spelt a variety of ways:
1945 Ann. Trop. Med. & Parasitol. XXXIX. 226 A senior member of the nursing staff..checked that the patient took the tablet and recorded each dose given and taken on a pro-forma. [OED]The examples above make clear that use of this term is common in medical jargon, but I'm here to tell you that the term is alive and well in English Higher Education as well.
1978 Jrnl. R. Soc. Med. LXXI. 413 Details of the illness were recorded on a proforma. [OED]
Use of a pro forma for head injuries in the accident and emergency department [Journal of Accident and Emergency Medicine, 1994]
Now, form in this meaning is perfectly sayable in British English, so I'm not really sure what has motivated the use of pro forma as a noun. But we can note that form has another sense in BrE, relating to a division of students in a school, discussed back here.