Laurie Taylor – 8 December 2016

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

December 8, 2016
Group of academics in conversation behind chainlink fence
Source: Alamy
Safe place for nostalgia dons

Those were the days

Our university is to appoint a “nostalgia liberation officer” to protect the small number of academics who are unable to come to terms with the exciting new nature of higher education.

This development, which has affinities with the decision by St Hilda’s College, Oxford, to appoint a “class liberation officer” to protect working-class students from “insults”, was described by Louise Bimpson, our Corporate Director of Human Resources, as “a vital step in the protection of an increasingly endangered species”.

Ms Bimpson said that the “nostalgia liberation officer” would endeavour to stamp out some of the insults aimed at “nostalgia dons” – words such as “chalkie” (a reference to their determined retention of the blackboard), “towie” (an allusion to their archaic belief that “the only way is Ethics”) and “effing useless” (directed at those who doubt the value of the teaching excellence framework and the research excellence framework).

Concerns that even these steps may not prove sufficient have raised the prospect of the university creating “a safe space” where nostalgia dons would be free to talk endlessly about the time when universities were “a community of thinkers engaging in intellectual pursuits not for any external purpose but as an end in itself”.

Ms Bimpson said that she hoped to stave off this development and described suggestions that the enclave might be known as “the menagerie” as “premature”.

Introvert party versus extrovert party

Party party

One of our leading behavioural psychologists, Dr T. Mays, has announced that his department will be hosting two separate staff parties this Christmas.

“In previous years”, Dr Mays told our reporter Keith Ponting (30), “our post-party evaluation questionnaire (PPEQ) has revealed a clear split between those who found the event either “lacking in spirit” or “excessively jovial”.

“This year,” said Dr Mays, “we will avoid this type of disagreement by asking all serving psychology dons to complete a Myers-Briggs extroversion-introversion personality test. It will then be a simple matter of allocating staff to a function that meets their distinctive social requirements.”

He confirmed, however, that each party would nevertheless be visited by the traditional figure of Father Christmas although a restriction would necessarily be placed upon the number of ho-ho-hos he delivered at the introvert function.

Fear of fraud

Our hard-working human resources team has responded forcefully to research from Holly Hutchins and Hilary Rainbolt of the University of Houston that shows that men are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression and burnout from “impostor syndrome” – the fear of being exposed as an academic fraud – than women.

To counter this gender imbalance, the ever-expanding HR team has issued an invitation to all male academics who “constantly feel that there is something fraudulent about working in Poppleton University” to attend a “Because You’re Worth It” workshop in the Personal Development Suite.

A member of the HR team described the decision to employ a brigade of mounted police to control the queue as “purely precautionary”.

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