Laurie Taylor – 22 September 2016

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

September 22, 2016
Boardroom of people celebrating and throwing papers in air
Source: iStock
We are the champions!

This is a special teachers’ edition of The Poppletonian. Why a special teachers’ edition? Because teachers are special!

Former glories

“Ozymandias has fallen.” That was the surprisingly neoclassical reaction of our newly appointed Head of the Teaching Excellence Framework, Graham Chips, to the news that Poppleton had, according to the 2016 National Student Survey, leaped ahead of five Russell Group universities in terms of student satisfaction with teaching quality.

Mr Chips told a hastily convened press conference in the atrium of the Justine Greening Neuro-Linguistic Programming Centre that although Poppleton had attained only a joint 118th position out of the 128 higher education institutions included in the survey, this had still left it “comfortably ahead” of such former Russell Group stars as the London School of Economics (128th in the survey), the University of Edinburgh (127th), Imperial College London (124th), King’s College London (123rd) and University College London (121st).

Although Mr Chips insisted that he had no wish to gloat, he could not help but wonder if these results might lead Russell Group members to consider whether it remained appropriate to name their group after a leading London hotel. Might not their newly diminished status be better conveyed to the outside world if they were now to become the Premier Inn Group?

A spokesperson for the Russell Group who requested anonymity said that the results tended to confirm the growing view among Russell Group members that they must quickly think up any old excuse not to take part in an exercise such as the TEF that failed to confirm the intrinsic excellence of their institutions. The spokesperson further confirmed that none of his members had ever heard of Poppleton or its attendant university.

Less research is needed!

A mass suicide attempt by a group of our university’s leading research-only academics was thwarted earlier this week when a hurriedly assembled safety net successfully caught 14 members of the group who had sought premature death by throwing themselves from the top of the Learning and Resources Centre (formerly the Library).

One of the saved researchers, Dr R. D. Dugdale, told The Poppletonian that he and his colleagues had been driven to such a desperate act by the knowledge that they were no longer members of the university’s elite.

“Only months ago”, Dr Dugdale told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), “we were being praised to the heavens for our ability to turn out an endless stream of impactful research articles. In those days, never having to do a hand’s turn at teaching was a badge of honour. But now with the teaching excellence framework looming, the teachers are in charge. Instead of all the campus conversation being about ‘top-rated journals’ and ‘significant results’ and ‘more research is needed’, all the talk now is of ‘lectures’ and ‘seminars’ and ‘overhead projectors’ and ‘speaking in a voice that can be heard at the back of the room’ and making sure at the end of the lecture to leave time for questions.”

Our Corporate Director of Human Resources, Louise Bimpson, was unable to offer any comfort to the newly marginalised researchers. She told our reporter that she was far too preoccupied with finding an adequate replacement for the board rubber that had gone missing from the Jean Brodie Lecture Theatre (formerly the Chemistry Laboratory).

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