Can we have our feedback, please?

October 16, 2014

One of our senior academics has been officially reprimanded for “repetitive feedback failure”.

According to leaked minutes from the University Staff Supervision Panel, Professor Lapping of Media and Cultural Studies failed to provide any feedback whatsoever on more than a hundred “high priority” management initiatives even though “feedback” was consistently requested.

Evidence revealed that Lapping had provided no feedback at all on management proposals to move the present curriculum closer to the requirements of future employers, to abolish the Department of Philosophy, to increase the average seminar size to 36, to introduce higher campus parking fees for “teaching-only” academics, and to spend £50,000 on a new portrait of the vice-chancellor.

But the final straw appears to have been Lapping’s failure to respond to a management document requesting feedback on the value of feedback.

In his defence, Lapping argued that he’d stopped providing feedback only when he’d discovered that his feedback had no effect whatsoever on subsequent management decisions. This meant that his lack of feedback “implicitly constituted feedback”. In its final judgement, the panel dismissed this argument as “specious”.

 

How does your garden grow?

“We need more clarity going forward.”

That was how Jamie Targett, our director of corporate affairs, reacted to the disagreements at Swansea University over the nature of the absence from campus of Niall Piercy, the School of Management’s deputy dean for operations.

It originally appeared that Professor Piercy had been placed “on gardening leave” following a spat with Alan Speight, Swansea’s pro vice-chancellor for student experience and academic quality achievement. But we now learn from Professor Piercy’s father, Nigel, who is dean of the School of Management, that although his son has not been seen on campus since the summer, he was actually absent because he was “catching up on research”.

To avoid any such confusion at Poppleton, Targett announced that in future all academics on gardening leave would be required to carry a small trug when making public appearances.

 

Poems wot I like

Our vice-chancellor has rushed to the defence of the University of Essex. In a statement, he described the much publicised departures of Marina Warner as its Professor of Literature, poet Derek Walcott as visiting professor and poet Glyn Maxwell as part-time lecturer as “the sort of occurrence that would hardly have caused a ripple if those leaving the campus had been from the Department of Accounting”.

He also defended Essex vice-chancellor Anthony Forster from the “pedantic literary types” who had criticised a letter he’d written to Professor Walcott in which he’d referred to the privilege of having a “Noble Laureate on campus”.

“There are far more substantial aspects to the modern university than knowing how to spell,” our vice-chancellor declared. “Indeed, from everything I’ve read recently about Essex, it strikes me as a campus with its white stilettos firmly planted on the ground.”

 

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

This week’s lecture by our poet-in residence, William Wordsworth, has been cancelled following our vice-chancellor’s decision to dismiss Mr Wordsworth for his failure to produce anything more substantial than a Prelude.

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

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

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree
A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

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

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