Doctoring the doctorates

Laurie Taylor's weekly bulletin from the University of Poppleton

April 30, 2015

Is our vice-chancellor qualified for the job?

This, of course, is a question that has been very much on the lips of everyone connected with this university for the entire duration of the present office holder’s incumbency.

But the familiar question has now been raised in a rather more specific manner following the revelation that George Holmes, the vice-chancellor of the University of Bolton, described himself on the university website as possessing the following qualifications – PhD MBA BSc (Hon) FInstD PGCE – even though it subsequently transpired that the PhD named in the list was in reality an EdD.

So might our own vice-chancellor’s current list of qualifications – PhD NFRS and MMFMP – contain similarly dubious post nominals?

Any such suggestion was quickly scotched by Angela Topping, our Deputy Head of Prospectus Management. Speaking to The Poppletonian, Ms Topping said that she had been “saddened” by what she described as the “somewhat malicious” recent attempts to malign Bolton merely because of its newly adopted human resources policy of peremptorily sacking academics who might or might not have said something unfavourable about their vice-chancellor.

She saw the present rumpus as part of this unfortunate pattern. Post nominals were, after all, frequently a source of contention. Indeed, the Bolton vice-chancellor’s “minor error” was comparable to the “wholly insignificant news” that our own vice-chancellor’s PhD was not a specific reference to an academic doctorate but rather to the Pig Handling Diploma awarded to him by our university benefactors, Poppleton Pork Products plc.

Ms Topping also insisted that the NFRS in our vice-chancellor’s list of post nominals was “a refreshing exercise in academic modesty” in that it indicated with commendable frankness that he was Not a Fellow of the Royal Society, while his post nominal MMFMP confirmed his support for local initiatives by acknowledging his fully paid-up Membership of the Magic Fingers Massage Parlour (Station Road branch).

She also confirmed that what she called “the Bolton Protocol” might well be invoked against the person responsible for adding the “wholly inappropriate” post nominal RIP to the vice-chancellor’s official nameplate.


TeachHigher. Pay lower?

“Once again, Warwick leads the way in employment initiatives.”

That was how Louise Bimpson, our Corporate Director of Human Resources, responded to the exciting news that the University of Warwick has decided to outsource its teaching assistants. From now on, departments will no longer need to look to their own kind for help with their teaching requirements, they will simply recruit from an outside agency called TeachHigher.

Ms Bimpson found it “quite understandable” that TeachHigher had so far refused to announce the hourly rate at which it would be employing its reserve army of TAs. But she did note “with pleasure” that Warwick was very much maintaining its proud record in human resources by outsourcing to an agency that promised that its graduate assistant employees could be summarily dismissed and their employment brought to an end “without prior notice or liability”.


Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Next week’s lecture by the Chief Constable of Poppleton will consider the possible public order issues arising from the Green Party’s call for free heroin on the NHS and the same party’s decision to outlaw the sale of foie gras. The talk is titled “Foie gras dealers: the new social menace?”

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