'Breakaway professor' shock

June 28, 2012

One of our leading professors has admitted that he might be leaving his present post at our university to set up his own private college.

Speaking to our reporter Keith Ponting (30), Professor Gordon Lapping, currently Head of the Department of Culture and Media Studies, admitted that he was "the brains" behind the New College of Very Interesting Things (NCVIT), which was hoping to open its doors this autumn to anybody "sufficiently qualified" to pay the proposed fee of £22,000 per academic year.

Professor Lapping explained that the "philosophical impetus" behind the New College of Very Interesting Things was the discovery that many of today's university courses were far too narrow to do justice "to lots and lots of very interesting things".

He confirmed that several well-known academics with a specialist interest in honoraria and non-specialisms would be joining the new enterprise and described critics of the venture as "narrow-minded psychopaths with a left-wing crypto-fascist agenda" who wouldn't be welcome in his own house, let alone his own college (which, he agreed, currently occupied identical premises).

Doctor, I'm in trouble

Dr E.P. Timpson, the greying head of our Department of History for Business, has been told that his medical condition will not be taken into account in the deliberations for the forthcoming research excellence framework.

According to reports, Dr Timpson had sought to take advantage of the stated readiness of the Higher Education Funding Council for England to consider "complex circumstances" when measuring an individual's research performance. These "circumstances", which include a variety of traumatic personal problems and extreme medical conditions, must be stated on the requisite Hefce "self-disclosure" form.

However, Dr Timpson has now been informed by Hefce that his claim to have suffered "brain death" as a result of studying "the grotesque vocabulary and lunatic Gradgrindery" of the entire REF exercise does not constitute a "complex circumstance".

A Hefce spokesperson insisted that this decision was in no way indicative of "any constitutional, procedural or substantive insensitivity to Dr Timpson's indisposition". Indeed, he insisted, anyone who had studied the entire range of REF documents would readily recognise the "profound debt they owed to cortical debilitation".

Words and things

Our Head of Research Impact, Gerald Thudd, has responded vigorously to the news that Tory minister Alan Duncan has asked his staff to refrain from using such "loose and meaningless" terms as "impact".

Mr Thudd pointed out that Mr Duncan was evidently unaware that the loose and meaningless term "impact" was now an essential component of the government-backed REF.

It was clear, therefore, that the word "impact" was capable of two distinctive uses. In one case, it was "a loose and meaningless term", and in the other it was a distinctive way of defining "a loose and meaningless" method for measuring research output. Mr Thudd said that he hoped this now clarified the situation going forward.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm."


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