Laurie Taylor – 19 November 2015

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

November 19, 2015
Group of old men signing paperwork
Source: Rex

Men matter too!

Our Head of Equality, Mike Bluster, has warmly welcomed the news that the University of York will mark this Thursday’s International Men’s Day by “highlighting some of the issues that have an adverse impact on equality for men”.

Mr Bluster said that he had been “shocked” to learn from Dr Adrian Lee of York’s Equality and Diversity Committee that “men were under-represented in the York student population as a whole” and that “in York academic departments, the support staff is heavily weighted towards women, with some departments employing no men at all in these roles”.

There was, though, the reassuring promise from Dr Lee that this serious under-representation of men “in such key areas” would be addressed systematically and fairly, “in the same way that we approach unfairness and discrimination faced by women”.

Perhaps, suggested Mr Bluster, such discrimination against men at York should be brought to the attention of its highest authority, the 12-person University of York Senior Management Group.

Support for the cause could surely be expected from the vice-chancellor himself, Professor Koen Lamberts, or if not him, then perhaps from Professor Saul Tendler, the deputy vice-chancellor, or perhaps Professor John Robinson, the pro vice-chancellor, or perhaps the registrar, Dr David Duncan, or perhaps the dean of the Faculty of the Social Sciences, Professor Stuart Bell, or perhaps the dean of the Faculty of the Sciences, Professor Brian Fulton, or perhaps the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Professor Mark Ormrod, or perhaps the finance director Mr Jeremy Lindley, or perhaps the director of corporate planning and deputy registrar Mr David Muckersie.

Whatever the outcome, said Mr Bluster, we should all be grateful for York’s “highlighting of the issues”. Men at the university could now walk the campus in the secure knowledge that with such a formidable champion as Dr Lee, they could look forward to that blissful day when they were no longer the object of “unfairness and discrimination”.

Measuring the measures

Our Corporate Director of Human Resources, Louise Bimpson, is “delighted” by the news that the research excellence framework will now be supplemented by a teaching excellence framework.

She told The Poppletonian that any new centralised, top-heavy, bureaucratic, managerialist way of measuring academic activity could only be an improvement on “the bad old days” when academics freely chose their own areas of significant research and decided the most appropriate content of their own lectures.

But she thought there was now room for a measure of commitment to both frameworks. Such a measure would check an academic’s subscription to the REF by considering the extent to which he or she only published short-term expedient research in journals that duplicitously claimed to enjoy “high impact”.

In much the same way, excellent commitment to the new TEF could be demonstrated by solid proof of an academic’s readiness to dilute the complex parts of their current lectures and seek high scores on the National Student Survey by the tried and trusted method of handing out inflated marks.

Those who successfully demonstrated such a thoroughgoing uncritical gaming commitment to both the REF and the TEF would then be accorded a high mark on the new FEF – the framework excellence framework.

Top marks on the REF and the TEF and the FEF would provide conclusive numerical proof that although academics might no longer conduct meaningful research or deliver uncompromised lectures, they positively excelled in their capacity to jump through any hoops that successive governments thought fit to place before them.

Jennifer Doubleday is still considering her position.

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