A Personal Christmas Message from the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor
This is inevitably that very special time of year when the thoughts of all those of us who continue to uphold and indeed cherish Christian values turn towards that humble abode in the little town of Bethlehem. (Mrs Dilworth, please check spelling.)
You know, I can't help thinking that if Jesus were to visit Poppleton University today, he might well find a great deal that looked and felt familiar. After all, in so many ways, our campus is very much a run-down, ramshackle stable in comparison with some of the grand four-star hotels run by members of the Russell Group. And when those grand hoteliers announce that there is no room at the inn for those without the AAB price of entry, we stand ever ready to accept any number (within the existing constraints) of such poor unaccommodated souls.
And there are other parallels. As all those of good faith know, Jesus quickly decided upon the strategic educational objectives he wished to pursue. Not for him such abstract topics as philosophy or history or medieval studies or any of the other pie-in-the-sky disciplines that we are even now busily cutting down to size in our own university. Oh no. Instead he chose to pursue an employment-related, economy-oriented course in carpentry. How very much like our own current undergraduates in the Departments of Supermarket Management and HGV Driving for Pleasure and Profit.
But there's even more. When I think about the Three Wise Men, I'm almost inevitably reminded of the 43 visiting professors we hired in just before the closing date for the research excellence framework so that they could bestow upon us not the traditional offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh but the equally valuable contemporary gifts of published books, peer-refereed articles and impact-certified research.
Of course, as Jesus also found, it was possible to spread his message of hope and redemption only with the aid of devoted disciples. That's not a term in current use, but what better word could one find to describe the members of our current and ever-multiplying management team who have done so much in the past year to spread my restructuring vision for Poppleton to the four corners of the known campus.
God bless them, every one! (Mrs Dilworth, please pop in anyone else on campus I might have missed out.)
• Please note that the vice-chancellor's address may be downloaded from the university website. Just click on the icon labelled "Same Old Guff".