Laurie Taylor – 7 January 2016

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

January 7, 2016
Deflated inflatable globe
Source: Alamy

Imagined corners

We can exclusively reveal that one of Poppleton’s leading private colleges of higher education, the Middle Poppleton Flat Earth College of Applied Geology, has been denied access to public funds for its students.

A director of the college, Dr W. Sodington, who asked to remain anonymous, told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that although he recognised that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills needed to do something to slow the explosive growth in public-backed funding for students at private colleges (a total of £533.6 million was awarded in 2014-15), it seemed “discriminatory” to turn down the Flat Earth College when public funding was currently available for students taking courses at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine and the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance.

However, an informal source at BIS told Ponting that while he could not speak about Chinese medicine, he believed that Lord Willetts’ decision to award public funding to the Elim Alliance had been prompted by a recognition that its core values (see below) were very much in line with “the spirit of critical enquiry that should always animate higher education”.

(Core values of Elim Alliance: “We believe the Bible, as originally given, to be without error, the fully inspired and infallible Word of God and supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.”)

Business people in boardroom meeting (black and white)
Impeccable credentials

Too hard to Stern?

“I’m sure we can all place our trust in someone called Lord Stern.”

That was the reassuring response from Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, to suggestions that the government’s decision to set up a major review of the research excellence framework under the chairmanship of Lord Stern of Brentford was about as likely to produce any fundamental shift in the present state of affairs as an inquiry by Sir James Dyson into the efficacy of bagless vacuum cleaners.

Cynics who took this view pointed out that Lord Stern’s nine-member steering committee included seven academics and vice-chancellors from UK universities, all but one from members of the Russell Group.

Targett admitted that this news could suggest to a “committed cynic” that the committee’s final conclusions might just be those that coincided with the interests of its members.

However, Lord Stern was very much alert to this criticism and had publicly explained that the only reason for packing the committee with Russell Group apparatchiks was because, in his words, they were “of the highest intellectual quality” and had experience in “running things”.

“Let’s face it,” said Targett, “no one can possibly question the credentials of the Russell Group when it comes to ‘running things’ in higher education.”

An awfully big apology

The Editor and staff (Keith Ponting) of The Poppletonian sincerely apologise for the fact that this week’s edition of your newsletter exactly replicates last week’s edition, which itself was an exact replication of the previous week’s edition.

We can now reveal that these repetitions were initiated by the leading market research firm 3F Marketing to test the relative degree of attention that readers paid to the content of The Poppletonian.

Although more research is clearly needed, 3F Marketing has produced the following interim analysis of readers’ responses to these experimental repetitions:

I can’t say that on the whole I noticed any difference – 72.7%

I thought that on the whole it was an improvement – 14.2%

We arrived tired and hungry at just after 9.30pm and were told that the dining room was already closed – 2.0%

I’m sorry, but could you repeat the question? – 11.1%

Jennifer Doubleday is working on her Resolutions.

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