Laurie Taylor – 26 May 2016

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

May 26, 2016
People walking through maze of wooden fences
Source: Getty
When did you last see our university?

The biter bit?

“I’ve read the relevant bits.”

That was how Jamie Targett, Poppleton’s Director of Corporate Affairs, responded when our reporter Keith Ponting (30) asked for his reaction to a study by a doctoral student at University College London into how the research excellence framework had affected the day-to-day lives of academics.

But had he read the bit that said that “for most interviewees it [the REF] creates pressure and stress, producing a decrease in the quality of the research”?

“I read that bit,” said Targett.

And presumably he’d also read the bit where the interviewees say that the REF inhibits long-term research and encourages short-termism? And the bit where a large proportion of the interviewees say they believe that the REF, despite measures to mitigate the impact of maternity leave and childcare responsibilities, still discriminates against female academics?”

“I read those bits.”

But how about the bit showing that the REF has even led some academics to reduce their research output? And that other bit about how the REF had discouraged interdisciplinary work?

“I read those bits as well.”

So, after reading so many bits of the new research, did Targett now in any way question the value of the REF?

“You left out a bit. You left out the bit about how university managers are in favour of the REF because they can employ it as a piece of positive motivation for academics who might otherwise spend their time pursuing personal research interests.”

“So,” suggested Ponting, “you and your fellow managers are requiring academics to engage in a fundamentally flawed exercise merely because it provides you with a chance to exercise authority?”

“How do you mean, ‘merely’?”

Fred Cooper and George Willock standing beside Rolls Royce, 1967
Division of labour at Falmouth: a recent picture

BSc Honours. Finals. Neoliberalism

Write on one side of the paper only

Q1. Assuming a 40-hour week and a four-week annual holiday, the recently increased salary of the vice-chancellor of Falmouth University, one of the country’s smallest universities, works out at approx. £150 per working hour. Using the same basis, the hourly emolument for a manual worker at Falmouth University amounts to £10.70 per working hour.

Critically discuss the basis for this disparity without recourse to the concept of exploitation.

I’m not worth it!

Our Head of Gender Equality, Dave Bloke, has responded promptly to evidence assembled in Times Higher Education by Shahidha Bari, lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary University of London, that shows that high-ranking academic women are prey to the “impostor phenomenon”: the sense that their elevated position in the university is not warranted.

Mr Bloke told The Poppletonian that while he had every sympathy with such women, he was currently dealing with what he described as “a far more deadly variety” of the phenomenon: the sense among academics of both genders at Poppleton that they must all be impostors because it had become increasingly clear that they no longer worked in a real university.

Strike News

Following yesterday’s UCU meeting, please note that Ted Odgers (Media and Cultural Studies) has now been confirmed as “brazier operative” for this week’s picket line…

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Reader's comments (1)

Ha ha. Talking of Falmouth University....

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