A bold new move to break down the "iron curtain" between academics and administrators was announced last week by our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett.
Targett said that he was "in positive accordance" with the recent assertion by Peter Goodhew of the University of Liverpool that administrators needed to get nearer to the locations where academics carried out their work.
He was, therefore, initiating a series of visits by selected administrators to academic sites. These will take the form of twice-weekly coach trips from the Administration Block. The first such tour will depart at 11am next Tuesday and will convey 22 members of our Human Resources Department to the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, where they will be provided with a photo opportunity and a short megaphone introduction to the work of the department by Professor Gordon Lapping. The coach will then return promptly to the Administration Block, pausing only for a short comfort break at the Department of Homoeopathy.
Good and faithful servant
Concerns are being expressed about the shortage of university technicians, so The Poppletonian took time to speak to one of Poppleton's oldest servants, lab technician Mr S.W. Thompson, or as he's known to everyone who has worked with him, "Good old Sid". What thoughts did he have about his years of service at Poppleton?
"It's been a privilege to work at this university for the last 30 years. Although as a technician I've had to be contented with lower pay, fewer benefits and shorter holidays than the academics I work alongside, I've felt honoured that I've been entrusted with repairing, ordering and supervising all the equipment and have also been allowed to spend thousands of hours teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as providing invaluable but totally unrecognised contributions to research projects that have helped further the careers of hundreds of my academic superiors."
No such thing as nothing
One of our leading research scholars, Dr Piercemuller, has reacted angrily to the news that Research Councils UK is to adopt a Big Brother-style system to track precisely what academics produce with the money they win in grants.
Speaking by satellite link from his research base in the Maldives, Piercemuller argued that to talk about research "producing" anything at all was "a misconception of the process". He instanced his own five-year £350,000 project on the Florentine handbag industry. Although this work made no difference whatsoever to the handbag industry in Florence, the way it was ignored provided valuable evidence for future students of the industry. "We must never underestimate the importance of negative results in the development of knowledge," he said.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I'm pleased to report that the three members of staff who went into deep comas following last week's advanced course in Transcendental Meditation are now on the road to recovery. Here's something to help them on their way.
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.