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.

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