Are you looking for trouble?

February 28, 2013

“A wonderful opportunity.” That was how Louise Bimpson, corporate director of our ever-expanding Human Resources team, reacted to news that The Hub Events training organisation (motto “Fresh Ideas, Practical Training”) is offering a course titled “How to handle difficult people in an academic setting”.

Ms Bimpson said she hoped that the one-day Manchester-based course, which promises new strategies for dealing with “negative, time-consuming and obstructive behaviour” on campus, would build on recent academic advances in dealing with difficult people. She instanced the University of Salford’s “courageous attempt” to pursue a costly libel case against the “difficult” lecturer who had had the temerity to compare his managers to Hezbollah and also the “tactical use” of security personnel to escort difficult staff off campus that had been “pioneered” at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham.

She described the £460-per-person cost of the one-day course as “a veritable snip”.

Doggy fashion

Dog owners will be fascinated to learn of new research that proves the ability of man’s best friend to think and understand.

This research by Tony Swets of our Psychology Department builds on a study, conducted by the University of Portsmouth’s Juliane Kaminski, that discovered a dog’s capacity to “understand the human perspective” by showing that dogs were “four times more likely to steal food that they had been told not to eat when they were in a dark room than when they were in a lit room”.

Dr Swets expanded this work by explicitly telling a group of dogs, controlled for size, gender and tail length, not to read a news report of David Cameron’s declaration to the young people of India that British universities were “incredibly welcoming”.

He then locked the dogs in a dark room with a copy of the article and a set of torches. Unlocking the room later, he saw that the article had been sufficiently read to have become “dog-eared”.

However, the clearest proof that the article had been “secretly read” lay in the dogs’ “transformed demeanour”. Whereas they had previously been in a “relatively serious state of mind”, after consuming the article they exhibited varying degrees of uncontrollable laughter.

Bath time for chancellors

Our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has acted to deflect criticism of Poppleton’s Chancellor after an attack on the University of Bath for appointing the Earl of Wessex its next incumbent of the post.

Joanna Lewis, a Bath alumna who now lectures at the London School of Economics, said the Earl’s appointment “makes a mockery of what higher education should be built upon: merit, fairness, application, industriousness and ability”.

Mr Targett, however, insisted there were “no useful parallels” between Prince Edward and Poppleton’s Chancellor, Sir Hartley Grossman, managing director of Poppleton Pork Products. For while the Earl had been favoured at Bath for his privileged lineage rather than his relevance to education, Sir Hartley had long exhibited a proven ability to transform horsemeat into edible “pork pies”. “This”, Targett said, “perfectly parallels the student educational experience currently on offer at Poppleton.”

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

“According to image consultant Shenda Collins, some female academics ‘fear’ dressing smartly in case of being mistaken for an administrator. In this week’s special seminar, a well-dressed administrator will frankly describe her ‘dread’ of being mistaken for an academic. All welcome.”

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study