Laurie Taylor – 17 March 2016

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

March 17, 2016
Bowl of fish curry
Source: Alamy
A smorgasbord of flavours

Even though our vice-chancellor was initially unable to recall his name, he was “only too delighted” to learn from our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that yet another member of our university team had achieved success.

This time, however, the achievement was recorded in an often-neglected part of the campus. For although Derek Trough, the catering manager of David Willetts College, has earned the respect of students and staff alike for such signature dishes as Tandoori Hake with Morello Cherries, he had not previously gained wider recognition.

But all that has changed with the news that Mr Trough has been awarded a “four-star world-class” rating in the recently concluded Recipe Excellence Framework.

Mr Trough told our reporter that he was particularly pleased with his new rating as he was only too well aware that his failure to produce recipes of sufficiently high standard in the past had aroused concerns that he might be relegated to “washing-up only” status.

What, wondered Ponting, had been the key to his REF success?

Mr Trough explained that his award had been based upon a peer group panel’s assessment of four submitted pieces of work.

And what, asked Ponting, were these pieces of work?

“They were,” Mr Trough explained, “basically, four small jars of strawberry jam.”

“More or less the same strawberry jam in each jar?” Ponting queried.

“That’s right,” Mr Trough said. “Anyone who knows anything about the REF will confirm that you have to spread yourself as thinly as possible in order to maximise effect. If you make a reasonable pot of jam, then you need to put it into as many jars as possible with slightly different names: strawberry jam, strawberry preserve, strawberry confiture and Mrs Trough’s Oxford vintage strawberry jam. That sort of thing.”

Was there any sense, wondered Ponting, that concentrating on jam might in some way be seen as playing safe?

Mr Trough brusquely dismissed any such suggestion. “It’s true”, he admitted, “that in the old days there was a certain amount of cordon-bleu-sky thinking. But the great thing about the REF is that it soon cut out all that sort of intellectual pretension. Nowadays all of us who enter the REF know that the only route to Jam Tomorrow is through Jam Today.”


Workman smiling and holding adjustable wrench

Peep show

One our most precariously positioned academics, Mr Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, has leaped to the defence of Nicholas Goddard, professor of analytical science at the University of Manchester, who was pilloried in the popular press last week following the discovery that he had been appearing in sex films under the pseudonym “Old Nick”.

Mr Odgers told The Poppletonian that he believed that Professor Goddard might well have been influenced in his choice of second career by his regular exposure to the pornographic size of his vice-chancellor’s emolument and the bodice-ripping dimensions of her expenses claims.

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest