A pretty pocket

March 5, 2009

Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has professed himself "moderately shocked" by the recent announcement from Universities Secretary John Denham that while recognising the "pockets of excellence" uncovered in the recent RAE, this should not "send the message that we expect the pockets to grow the next time around". Targett insisted that "stunting" such pockets of excellence showed "a lack of future orientation".

Speaking to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), he maintained that, with the appropriate funding, such pockets could "readily mature into medium-sized pouches" and eventually, in time, become "veritable knapsacks of research excellence".

Support for Targett's position was immediately forthcoming from Doctor Phyllis Golightly, the Poppleton philosophy don whose groundbreaking work on Lockean empiricism attracted a 4* from the RAE panel. She told The Poppletonian that while she was proud to have been named as a pocket, she felt that her work stood out in comparison with other pockets selected by the RAE.

"What is required," she added, "is some comparative pocket evaluation. After all, if experience teaches us anything, it surely teaches us that some pockets are deeper than others."

(Please note that conducted tours to Poppleton's pocket of excellence leave the Administrative Block every half-hour during weekdays.)

Signs of the times

From the Deputy Director of Internal Signage

Dear Sir

I hope you will forgive me for taking up space in your august journal but all of us in Signage have become aware of the dramatic increase in the number of unauthorised notices appearing around the campus.

Please note that before they may be overtly displayed, all notices must be submitted to the University Notices Committee, where they will be vetted for colour, size and length, conformity with house style, strict adherence to safety regulations, and compatibility with the goals of the university going forward.

These criteria would clearly exclude the recent pasting of several large handwritten felt-tip signs on the side of the Admin Block, proclaiming: "Two, four, six, eight/Rise and Build the Workers' State".

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Sick, sick, sick

Louise Bimpson, the Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources team, has given a warm welcome to the news that Oxford Brookes University may cancel annual leave for academics who failed to make it to work as a result of the recent snow.

She reminded all Poppleton staff that members of her Valid Excuses Committee would be giving the same sort of detailed attention to "snowbound excuses" for non-attendance as they had accorded to other recently cited reasons for absence, such as "sudden bolt of lightning", "plague of frogs", "localised typhoon" and "suspected outbreak of thermonuclear war".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

How refreshing to see that there will be a Serendipity Award in this year's Times Higher Education Awards. Let's hope, however, that this doesn't become an annual award. After all:

If they expect us to expect the unexpected, doesn't the unexpected become the expected?

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