A special message

July 12, 2012

We have been asked to publish this message from Dr J.K. Easement, the chair of the university's Mitigating Circumstances Committee

Will all supervisors who wish to claim mitigating assessment circumstances for their supervisees following the recent round of retakes and resits please note that this year the Mitigating Circumstances Committee will be allocating its sessions according to new criteria.

Instead of our sessions being based on undergraduate courses, they will now be based on specific mitigating circumstances. Please note the following dates:

12 July Death of grandparent (with and without funeral documentation)

13 July Computer crashed

16 July Useless supervisor

17 July Dengue fever (with and without medical notes)

18 July Ontological insecurity (includes existential angst)

19 July Period pains

20 July Well, you see I did send a note to my supervisor saying that I wasn't feeling well on the morning of the resit but he says that he didn't get it even though I distinctly remember putting it in his pigeonhole in the Enquiries Office and so I hope you'll take this into account and I should also point out that two of the questions on the exam paper were about things we've never done in the course unless I'd been ill when they'd been done which in a way amounts to the same thing even though I couldn't get a note from the medical centre on that occasion because I felt too ill to go and I didn't want to infect anyone else.

Split personality shock

Our Deputy Head of Brand Management, Georgina Edsel, has responded forcefully to the finding by communications agency Radley Yeldar that the UK's top universities are not presenting consistent messages about their identity across all communication channels.

Ms Edsel admitted that Poppleton had chosen to describe itself in the latest edition of the prospectus as "one of this country's most highly successful cutting-edge proven-ability top-rated institutions of higher education".

She also agreed that there were "some apparent inconsistencies" between this prospectus message and that contained on the university website, which described Poppleton as "a university with a proud record of innovative excellence that combines pioneering values with vision, creativity and strong leadership to produce an institution at the cutting edge of innovative research and scholarship going forward".

However, Ms Edsel said that "appearances were not always trustworthy". She liked to believe that "careful readers" of the two messages would recognise that although somewhat different in "manifest content", they both enjoyed "an almost identical relationship with the truth".

Students know best

"This could easily have seriously deleterious consequences."

That was the reaction of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the recent assertion by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto that "teachers should ... be gratified when their students reject their teaching: it is a sign of a job well done".

Ms Harbinger said the "good professor's view" of the value of student disagreement would have been perfectly acceptable in the days before the National Student Survey. However, now that the NSS was a key indicator of university excellence, it was official policy at Poppleton for all lecturers to refrain from saying anything at all that might prompt any sort of student disagreement. If a student did appear to demur, it was incumbent upon the academic to admit their mistake, apologise fulsomely, and ask for forgiveness.

She hoped that this clarified the situation.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development) "TEAMWORK means...never having to take all the blame yourself."

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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