Did you know this man?

October 27, 2011

Our university has responded promptly to the recent claim by Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and Chair of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group, that "universities have a hinterland that for-profit universities cannot offer".

Only days after learning of Professor Beer's contention, one of Poppleton's leading academics, Dr Derek Quintock, announced the formation of a university search party that would seek out evidence of this "Hinterland" on our own campus.

The first such safari, which was carried out under the premises of the existing Department of English for Business (£9,000 a year), was largely disappointing, but on the second expedition, one member of the party who ventured deeper into the possible Hinterland lying below the atrium of the Research Impact Building returned with a faded portrait of what appeared to be a former member of Hinterland staff.

Dr Quintock is now anxious to hear from anyone who might be able to help identify him. The portrait shows an elderly man with a beard and a shortish haircut who is simply named (without any hint of academic rank) as "Plato". Dr Quintock asks anyone who remembers the time when Plato was a name that meant anything to anyone on campus to contact him asap at the Hinterland Office.

The post never comes

"Nearly right." That was how our Head of Student Recruitment, Nathan Prest, responded to the recent assertion by Terry Hoad, President of the University and College Union, that education is "a post-experience good", in that "you do not value it when you are getting it - you only know its value later on".

Mr Prest told our reporter Keith Ponting (31) that although Mr Hoad's definition was "an important contribution to the debate", he preferred a more expansive formulation. Research showed that students at Poppleton did not value what they were getting when they were getting it, but neither did they value it just after they'd had it, or indeed for quite a long time after they'd had it. Even then they didn't necessarily think all that much of it.

In the circumstances, Mr Prest thought, matters might have been clearer all round if Mr Hoad had spoken of higher education not as a "post-experience good", but as a "post-post-post-experience don't know".

Have a break - have a BA

Our Deputy Head of Corporate Branding, Christine Hovis, has given a warm welcome to the news that the University of York has been advised on how to build an "iconic global brand" by Cheryl Allen, Head of Biscuit Business at Nestle UK.

Ms Hovis said that Ms Allen's use of the Kit Kat as a case study of how to build a biscuit brand had "important implications" for building a university brand.

"It's all too easy", she told The Poppletonian, "for cynics to maintain that chocolate biscuits and higher education have little in common. But just think how proud we'd be if all over the country, people regarded picking up a Poppleton degree with the same amount of affection as they currently accord to p...p...picking up a Penguin."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Please note that next week's seminar on "Leading from the front" will be given by our esteemed vice-chancellor and not, as some quite unofficial and frankly rather silly emails suggest, by "Colonel Mu'ammer Gaddafi".


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