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Is it appropriate for people who have shown themselves incapable of baking an excellent vanilla cupcake to act as judge and jury in a vanilla cupcake competition?
That is the profound question raised by the news that although, in common with other UK universities, a quarter of all Poppleton graduates now obtain first-class degrees, these superb students have largely been taught by depressed academics with only upper and lower seconds.
However, our Head of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that there was “no problem” about this educational disparity. “Do we expect a vocal coach to sing as well as Pavarotti? Of course not. Do we expect Jo Johnson, the minister of state for universities, to have any idea at all about the true meaning and function of a university? Of course not.
“In fact,” said Ms Fluellen, “given that there has been no change in the entry qualifications of our undergraduates, their extraordinary success can only be due to the value added by their modestly qualified teachers.”
But, wondered Ponting, might not this dramatic nationwide increase in first-class degrees be more simply attributed to the manner in which it raised the status and league position of the awarding universities?
Ms Fluellen described this argument as "exactly the sort of deeply flawed reasoning that one might expect from a lower second reporter on a third-class newsletter".
God in the quad?
How should we address God? Adrian Thatcher, an honorary professor in the theology department at the University of Exeter, currently advises students to avoid such terms as “He”, “His” and “Him”, while the Oxford theological college, Wycliffe Hall, recommends that students select hymns in which “references to son” can readily be changed to the gender-neutral “child”.
So how is the Poppleton Department of Theology responding to this new gender-inclusive approach to God?
“We have every intention of doing something about it at some time in the relatively near future,” explained Head of Department the Very Reverend Professor Torrance. “It is not, however, a matter of great urgency as following recent political events in the USA, there is currently no one in the department who retains any sort of belief in a divine being.”
(The Very Reverend Professor Torrance holds a starred first in apologetics from the Christian University of La-La Land.)
A common enemy
Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has warmly welcomed the news that the prime minister, Theresa May, is to unveil a revolution in technical education that will see “a revival of the polytechnics”.
“In the old days,” explained Targett, “the polytechnics performed an absolutely vital service. They provided dons with a sentiment that allowed them to overlook the very worst features of their own university: ‘At least we don’t work in a poly.’”
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