Laurie Taylor – 18 February 2016

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

February 18, 2016
Business people on roof playing pin the tail on the donkey
Source: Corbis
Dazed and confused: a recent picture

The don’t knows have it!

Janet Fluellen, our Director of Curriculum Development, has responded testily to the suggestion that Poppleton can never be in the forefront of modern curriculum design until it emulates the University of Liverpool by advertising a Chair in Uncertainty in Engineering.

She told The Poppletonian that she was aware of the Liverpool post but could see no reason for Poppleton to follow suit. “To my knowledge, we already possess at least two thoroughly Ambivalent professors, three Unpredictable Readers, and a veritable clutch of Confused, Anxious and Sceptical lecturers. All in all, that seems to me to be a sufficient complement of uncertainty for any modern university going forward.”

To the barricades!

“Dangerous talk.”

That was how Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, reacted to the recent suggestion by Jill Derby at a Times Higher Education summit that it might be an idea to involve actual academics in university planning.

“According to reports,” said Targett, “Dr Derby properly acknowledged that modern universities had moved away from involving academics in such decision-making because of their need to play ‘an increasingly central role in the development of national knowledge economies’.

“So far, so good,” said Targett, “but then Dr Derby unfortunately got carried away and went on to say: ‘In terms of what’s going on in the classroom, faculty know about that [and]…it’s important we see the important role they play’.”

Targett said that he had no quarrel with the idea that academics knew all about such classroom matters as chalk and board rubbers but the suggestion that their role should extend beyond the actual lecture room was “alarmingly reminiscent of the sentiments being expressed in the days immediately before the storming of the Winter Palace”.

Positions vacant

Director of Learning Quality Strategy (TEF)

In anticipation of the teaching excellence framework we are seeking to appoint a person who will be responsible for ensuring that the University of Poppleton somehow or other achieves high scores in this new scheme for measuring teaching quality and thereby earns itself the right to charge even higher fees.

The successful candidate will not only possess the expedient capacity to overlook the wholly dubious connection between teaching quality and the metrics that are proposed for its assessment, but will also be a person with sufficient skills in data manipulation to ensure that the scores on these inadequate metrics produce a favourable TEF outcome.

Preference will be given to candidates who have displayed a capacity for duplicity and legerdemain in such other key areas of higher education as the allocation of first-class degrees, the determination of the vice-chancellor’s emolument, and the resolute game-playing associated with recent research excellence framework submissions.

BA (Honours) Chop logic

The lifting of the cap on tuition fees “gives the government the right to say ‘WE have done our bit…[and] have successfully increased the cash behind each student’”. (Lord Willetts)

Q1. Critically discuss the concept of “we” in the above declaration.

(NB The average student will leave university with debts of more than £87,000)

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