Once again, serious conflict has broken out on campus over our university’s proposed submissions to the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.
Regular readers of The Poppletonian may recall last year’s contention by senior management that it was inappropriate for Poppleton to put forward a contender in the Outstanding Library Team category in that our original library had long since been converted into 32 en suite conference bedrooms and that the only remaining member of the library staff, assistant librarian Ms Doreen Tomelty, had been redesignated as Deputy Director of Advanced Technological Retrieval Systems and Open Access Futures.
This year the argument concerns the department formerly known as Human Resources. In line with higher education’s continuing commitment to nominal inflation, this ever-expanding department has, following in the footsteps of Plymouth University, recently changed its name from Human Resources to Talent and Organisational Development. But does this mean that it is no longer eligible for the Outstanding Human Resources Team award?
According to Louise Bimpson, formerly corporate director of Human Resources but now Creative Corporate Director of Talent and Organisational Development, the fault lies with THE for clinging to out-of-date categories.
“ ‘Human Resources’ ”, she insisted, “is now as anachronistic a term in a modern university as ‘Bursar’ or ‘Professor of Philosophy’. We might as well be back in the bad old days of the personnel officer when all our time was spent looking after employees and their problems rather than our current ongoing commitment to finding novel ways in which they might be rendered redundant.”
I say, I say, I say
Our Head of Computing Algorithms, Dr A. B. C. D. Everett, has admitted to being “angered” by recent reports that a team of Finnish scientists at the University of Helsinki is hoping to create a computer algorithm that will enable computers to tell jokes.
Dr Everett told The Poppletonian that he believed that his own work on computer joke-telling was already well ahead of that described by the Finnish team.
He instanced a typical joke compiled by the Finnish computer algorithm:
“What is the difference between Finnish weddings and Finnish funerals?”
“At the funerals, there is one less drunk.”
This, maintained Dr Everett, was “poor stuff” compared with the joke that had only recently been generated by his own computer algorithm.
“What do you call an Englishman in the knockout stages of the World Cup?”
Dr Everett also contended that his computer algorithm not only produced better jokes but after the joke had been told also emitted what he described as “a terminating humour closure utterance”: a clearly audible “Boom, Boom”.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Congratulations to all those members of university staff who successfully forsook alcohol for the whole of the month of January. One of the leading abstainers, Dr Derek Quintock, has arranged an intimate gathering of his fellow non-drinkers for tomorrow evening. If you would like to attend, please apply to the Personal Development Office marking your communication “Major Piss-up”.