50 maxims for market entrants

Christopher Bigsby offers some words of advice

September 19, 2013

Today, when universities are being created as stars come into existence in the Universe (and in similar numbers), the Office of Universities (OFFU) – a body completely independent of the government that created it – is pleased to offer the following guidance, which does not have any statutory authority but may prove of value to entrants:

1. When in doubt, reorganise.

2. Human Resources are always watching.

3. Plagiarism is not intertextuality.

4. Our students do not plagiarise.

5. Overseas students mean fees. What do overseas students mean? Fees.

6. Love your line manager (but not literally).

7. Pay rises threaten our existence and essence, whichever precedes which.

8. Believe in your heart that the level of fees is an indicator of quality.

Raising A-level requirements while widening participation is perfectly feasible. Discuss. Explain

9. Raising A-level requirements while widening participation is perfectly feasible. Discuss. Explain.

10. University rankings are unreliable unless they favour you.

11. Students are customers, but there is no customer parking.

12. We are better than the Russell Group.

13. What is the value, anyway, of a group whose name is based on a hotel?

14. Cuts equal efficiency.

15. The vice-chancellor is worth every penny of his six-figure salary.

16. Physics/French/philosophy/education is superfluous. (Delete/add as necessary.)

17. Of course faculty should be charged for car parking.

18. There are no drugs on our campus.

19. Do not mention contact hours. If asked, say: it depends what you mean by contact. And hours.

20. Never ask what the function of middle management is.

21. The benefits of opening a campus in China/Botswana/Swindon are clear.

22. There is no grade inflation, only remarkable improvement.

23. Although a terrorist, we take pride that he/she learned his/her chemistry skills at our university.

24. A PhD is, indeed, a terminal degree.

25. We are not a polytechnic. No, really.

26. We accept students with lower entry qualifications because we are socially responsible.

. We fail so many students because we have standards.

28. We are closer to London than we appear on the map.

29. We are proud that our students do not rush into employment.

30. A university education is an investment (but shares may go up or down).

31. Our seminar/lecture theatres are not underused. Our overseas recruiter assures us that students will soon be arriving from Vanuatu/Kiribati/Aruba.

32. The National Student Survey is overrated.

33. The external examining system is overrated.

34. Contrary to reports in the local press, we do not have an accommodation crisis/bedbugs/infestations. 

35. We are not liable to flooding. It is a lake.

36. Our campus is quite safe when compared with some other world universities.

37. Rumours about the vice-chancellor are untrue/unproven/libellous.

38. Sexually transmitted diseases are now under control.

39. We regard our performance on University Challenge as disappointing but not a disgrace.

40. Our change of name is for convenience and not because of the scandal.

41. The research excellence framework unfairly favours research.

42. We take pride in being a teaching university.

43. Our students are not depressed.

44. Our dean of students’ office is available for those students who nonetheless are depressed.

45. Our library is much better than it was.

46. After some well-publicised difficulties, we have abandoned our system of moral tutors.

47. Our laboratories have now been restored following the accident.

48. We expect catering/accommodation/the crèche/ audio-visual/security/the students’ union/the bar/the medical centre to run at a loss (but see 14 above).

49. We have only been going for X years, so what do you expect?

50. Terms and conditions apply.

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