Computer or Manager? Spot the Difference

October 9, 2008

Several leading national newspapers were quick to pick up on the news that our current Head of Computation, Professor Norbert Norbert, has designed a "university management computer" which is operationally indistinguishable from a human university manager. But can you tell the difference? In the following test transcript Professor Norbert poses a management question and receives the answer to his query. But does the answer come from the "management computer" or one of our talented army of senior managers? Over to you!

Norbert: Hello. I would like to ask you a question about university management.

Respondent: Hello. How are you? I am very well. How are you?

Norbert: I am very well, thank you. I would like to ask you a question about university management.

Respondent: Hello. What is your question?

Norbert: I was wondering what you saw as the key objectives for this university.

Respondent: Going forward?

Norbert: Yes, going forward.

Respondent: If we are to impact and incentivise the new student experience going forward then we must prioritise and concretise our strategic objectives. We must get out of our silos, go the extra mile, think outside the box, cascade our ideas, realise that this is a wake-up call, make sure that we have ticked all the boxes and not reinvented the wheel, and then go on to hit the ground running, put clear blue water between ourselves and our competitors, look for win-win situations, make sure we are all singing from the same song sheet, keep everyone in the loop and unpack all our propositions. After all, this isn't rocket science.

Norbert: Thank you very much for talking to me.

Respondent: Hello. How are you? I am very well. How are you?

(All will be revealed in next week's Poppletonian, when Professor Norbert will also be unveiling the prototype of his new Human Resources computer.)

New Joint Degrees

It was agreed last week by our Senior Board of Examiners that the following students should be deemed to have graduated from this university with the following joint degrees:

- Tim Wetherall, BA Honours Second Class (Upper Division), Psychology with Overdue Library Books;

- Maureen Towser, BSc Honours Second Class (Lower Division), Biology with Outstanding Rent;

- Geraldine Comstock, BA Honours First Class (starred), History with Plagiarism.

Signs for Sale

Here's a chance to obtain a rare memento of the university. We learn from our Deputy Head of Signage, Mike Doppel, that following the development of the university's new signage system, there are now a number of redundant old signs. Bids for these may be made on eBay.






This Week's Lectures

"Smash capitalism and its profiteering lackeys: some reflections on the current economic crisis." Mr Ted Odgers (Department of Media and Cultural Studies)

Tuesday 6.30pm. Followed by a torchlight march to Lloyds Bank, Poppleton Village.


(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

This week, let's spare a thought for all those hundreds of low-paid part-time workers in our university who before the present economic crisis might have been forgiven for thinking that their lives could never be any more precarious or impoverished

Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail

(Hope that helps a little).

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