Come on, get (moderately) happy

July 23, 2009

Louise Bimpson, the Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources department, has responded enthusiastically to a new book by Professor David Watson of the Institute of Education which suggests that universities should aim to control the degree of happiness experienced by academic staff.

In his forthcoming work The Question of Morale, Professor Watson cautions that universities should aim for "the amount of happiness to be comfortable but not too comfortable".

"This very much chimes with our own strategic people-centred objectives," Ms Bimpson said. "Only last month we detected a surfeit of happiness in the Department of Botany and moved quickly to bring this down to a tolerable level by the rapid implementation of two involuntary redundancies. That soon wiped the smile off their faces."

Ms Bimpson also urged staff to inform her department of unusual or unexpected signs of happiness in colleagues. "In the context of this university, any such evidence of heightened pleasure can only suggest an ongoing use of narcotics."

Oranges and lemons

"Tristram Hunt can speak for himself." That was the terse response from Professor D.W. Kloss of our Department of History for Business to Dr Hunt's use of the word "dangerous" to describe the growing tendency of academic historians "to slide into historical fiction".

Professor Kloss, whose previous research has focused largely on the vexed constitutional issues raised by the 1659 installation of the Rump Parliament, insisted that his forthcoming work on the period, Buy My Lovely Oranges, would "as far as possible stick to the known facts".

"Obviously", he told our reporter Keith Ponting (30), "there is still some historical controversy about whether Nell Gwynne, or Roxy as she is renamed in my book, did have a three-in-a-bed romp with Charles II in the back room of the Cock and Pie tavern and whether or not she did enjoy a drug-fuelled spanking orgy at the palace with James II. But these are small matters compared with the selection of my book as Checkout Read of the Week at the Lower Poppleton Tesco Metro."

Professor Kloss denied "sliding" into historical fiction. "Quite honestly," he told The Poppletonian, "I very much jumped in feet first."

Exam howlers

Yes, every year at this time, The Poppletonian publishes the name of the academic who has been judged to have committed the most notorious examination howler.

So, step forward, Dr T.W. Strabismus of the Department of Philosophy for Business, who this year contrived to set a finals examination paper in which nine out of the ten questions bore no relationship whatsoever to the content of his course. In reaching their final decision, the judges were also influenced by Dr Strabismus' repetitive use of the phrase "Critically discuss" in his questions as well as his persistent tendency to spell Schopenhauer without the second "h" and his inability at examination board to calculate the average of 57 and 69.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Sorry, but another of those tedious, but oh so necessary, health warnings. Will all those attending next week's nude encounter group session please note that they will be required to wash their hands after each encounter?

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