“You’re not suggesting that I deliberately colluded in a falsehood?”
That was how Angela Topping, our Deputy Head of Prospectus Management, responded to the suggestion from reporter Keith Ponting (30) that the description of Poppleton in our current prospectus as “Britain’s most rewarding university” might be misleading.
Ms Topping said that she was aware that such other universities as Hull, Cardiff and Glasgow had been recently unmasked for including misleading statements in their prospectuses, but she pointed out that the description of Poppleton as “Britain’s most rewarding university” was based on a statistically reliable survey of the salaries enjoyed by the members of our senior management team.
Ms Topping described other allegations as “nit-picking”. “Surely only a cynic would wish to suggest that the prospectus reference to our BSc in aromatherapy as ‘preparing students to become specialists in this scientifically proven new area of medical practice’ was in any way intended to suggest that aromatherapy was a scientifically proven new area of medical practice.”
She did, however, allow that there was “room for improvement”. “All of us in marketing are looking forward to the time when we can promote Poppleton with extra funds derived from closing down redundant humanities departments and from siphoning cash out of the current hardship funds.”
With all this additional expenditure, there was, said Ms Topping, “a pretty good chance that in future years an academically stripped-down Poppleton would be able to stay at exactly the same place in the university league tables”. And that, she added, “would show everyone, including the cynics, what successful marketing is all about”.
Call yourself a professor?
Leading university figures have condemned the recent suggestion made by Geoffrey Alderman in the letters pages of Times Higher Education that there should be “a sector-wide ban on the conferment of professorial title upon those…who neither teach nor research”.
“It’s an unfortunate example of old-fashioned elitism rearing its ugly head,” said Professor D. K. Bloke, our current deputy head of Estates and Gardens. Other senior professors concurred. “It sounds very much like academic protectionism,” insisted Professor Mike Gaffer,* our newly appointed Director of Staff Car Parking.
Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Professor Jamie Targett, was even more forthright. He told The Poppletonian that the designation “professor” was a way of marking “general excellence” rather than a specific mark of academic distinction. “If we go down the Alderman route,” he said, “we will soon find ourselves suggesting that our current vice-chancellor, who has never done a hand’s turn of teaching or research in his life and wouldn’t know an intellectual idea if it bit him in the arm, should be stripped of all three of his current professorial titles.”
*Professor Gaffer is to be confirmed as Regius Professor of Staff Car Parking at this year’s Congregation
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
“A warm welcome to the new Academic Kindness website, which collects examples of ‘generosity, benevolence and goodwill within the scholarly community’. If you know of any academic who has been even moderately kind in the past few years, would you please be so good as to forward their name to me? I’m desperate to meet them.”