Laurie Taylor – 14 April 2016

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

April 14, 2016
Person stepping onto pedestrian crossing
Source: iStock

Best foot forward

Our Professor of Logic, Bill Ockham, has rushed to praise the managing director of a private company that may be among those bidding to take over the higher education quality assurance functions from the terminally ill Quality Assurance Agency.

Professor Ockham told The Poppletonian that Jon Baldwin, managing director of market development at education support services firm Tribal Group, had been “on sound philosophical grounds” when he had pointed out that the dramatic growth in the number of for-profit degree-awarding private colleges meant that it was “the logical next step” to have the quality of all higher education assessed by such private for-profit companies as his own.

But Professor Ockham suggested that although Mr Baldwin had correctly identified one logical step, he might have demonstrated his full mastery of logic by adding further steps to his analysis.

After all, if it was now the logical next step for companies such as Tribal Group and Serco and Capita to take over the assessment of higher education, then surely the next logical step along the broad highway laid down by Lord Willetts would be for private companies to take over the diminishing proportion of not-for-profit universities.

At that point we would logically have reached that happy state in which higher education in this country was no longer any sort of public good.

“You know, it really is quite amazing”, said Professor Ockham, “where you can get to by doing nothing more than taking the logical next step.”

Businessman standing before table of executives
The loneliness of the non-Russell Group member

BA Honours (Intermediate Logic)

a. An independent review of the research excellence framework is currently taking place under the leadership of Lord Stern, the president of the British Academy

b. This independent review is due to report this summer

c. In a submission to this independent review, the Russell Group of research-intensive universities has argued that in the future the REF should place much more emphasis upon research-intensive universities rather than upon those universities that are less research intensive

d. The REF review is being conducted by a panel of nine people

e. Only one non-Russell Group academic is on this panel.

Critically assess the chances of the Stern review providing an outcome favourable to the Russell Group.

(Write on one side of the page only.)

Artist's impressions of Poppleton universities
Poppleton’s two universities: our artist’s impression

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir

According to a recent and most disturbing report from the Leadership Foundation, snobbish attitudes among some universities are stopping cooperation that could save institutions millions of pounds in efficiency savings.

One very much hopes that no such snobbery characterises the relationship between our own ancient time-hallowed ivy-clad university and the Johnny-come-lately, ex-poly, body-and-soul-stinking institution laughably known as Poppleton City University.

Yours in the spirit of cooperation

Professor D. W. Dingbat (Fellow of several annual subscription-based Royal Societies)

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