Laurie Taylor – 28 April 2016

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

April 28, 2016
Joseph Welch, James Stewart, Brooks West and George C. Scott, Anatomy of a Murder, 1959
Source: Alamy
Guilty of not making money

We confess to a crime

“Thank heavens for the tenacious Mr Palfreyman.”

That was how Janet Fluellen, our Director of Curriculum Development, explained her dramatic decision to close down nine of Poppleton’s current undergraduate courses.

Ms Fluellen told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that her concern about the value of these courses had been aroused by the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ report on graduate earnings and its revelation that there were 25 or so universities where the degrees on offer failed to provide economic value.

Now, although the IFS had not named the offending universities, Ms Fluellen told Ponting that she had been “greatly exercised” by the subsequent intervention of David Palfreyman, director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies, who in a letter to Times Higher Education had alleged that the senior managers of such universities who refused to come clean and confess their failings were guilty of “a crime”.

It was for this reason that she had now named Poppleton as one of the guilty non-economic universities and ordered the immediate closure of those undergraduate courses that failed to pass the Palfreyman test. These included such profoundly uneconomic courses as Archaeology, History of Art, Philosophy, Ceramics, Renaissance Studies, Classics, Theology, Medieval History and Logic.

Ms Fluellen explained that the closure of these courses would open up space for the further development of those current Poppleton degree courses in Hedge Fund Management, Insider Trading, Libor Fixing, Neoliberal Economics, Tax Evasion and Payment Protection Insurance, which currently produced such very satisfactory cash outcomes for all their graduates.

(Definition. Palfreyman: A person who chooses an undergraduate degree on the basis of its expected economic outcome.)

Smash the University Bosses Now! book cover

What are you reading?
A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholars

Mr Ted Odgers of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies is reading Smash the University Bosses Now! by Anonymous.

“Fed up to the back teeth with university managers and their bullying demands? Outraged by the crude centralised measures of research quality? Disgusted by the exponential growth of for-profit universities? Appalled by the Russell Group’s complacency over its perpetuation of privilege? Sickened by the notion that the value of a degree can properly be measured only in economic terms?

“Then this is the book for you. In six brisk and highly readable chapters ‘Anonymous’ begins the fightback by introducing readers to a variety of ‘tactics’ for inducing institutional change. These include such ‘transitional acts’ as releasing the otters in the Biology Park, posting porn-site links to the Ecumenical Chaplain, scratching a 50p piece down the side of the vice-chancellor’s Bentley, chalking ‘Marx Lives’ on the side of the Economics Building, and taking a medium-sized hammer to the statue of David Willetts in the atrium of the Marketing Department.

“But ‘Anonymous’ does not stop there. In a final chapter, he (or she) dares to envisage the revolutionary moment when the academic class ‘in itself’ becomes a class ‘for itself’ and seizes the reins of power from the existing elites. Or, in the succinct words of ‘Anonymous’: ‘Two-four-six-eight. Rise and build the academic state.’”

(Mr Odgers may soon be on extended gardening leave.)

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