Exam? What exam?

May 31, 2012

"No one told me there was such an exam. If I'd known, I'd certainly have had a shot."

That was the forthright response of our vice-chancellor to the recent claim by Fred Inglis in Times Higher Education that vice-chancellors have failed "the test of history".

He also questioned Inglis' suggestion that vice-chancellors were inclined to "timidity" and liable to have their minds poisoned by "crude cupidity". It was true that his emolument of £360,000 a year was currently supplemented by the £214,000 he received as a non-executive director of Poppleton Pork Products.

However, he pointed out that the vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, Dame Nancy Rothwell, supplemented her pay package of £248,000 with the £96,000 she received as a non-executive director of the multinational drug company AstraZeneca. Did this poison her mind? Not at all. The Manchester board of governors actually insisted that it "enhanced her ability" to carry out her duties.

Our vice-chancellor said that this was an extremely forceful argument. "On numerous occasions," he told The Poppletonian, "I've been driven home in my limousine after a long lunch with the board of Poppleton Pork Products and found my abilities so much enhanced by the big lump of money I've just earned that I burst into spontaneous song. Timidity? Bah!"

Come in candidate 3920194882: your number's up!

Our Head of Student Recruitment, Mr Nathan Prest, has praised Cardiff University for its Lifetime Scholarship competition, which gave the winner the right to study for as many degrees as desired for free at the university.

He also went out of his way to congratulate the winner of the competition and to condemn all those "cynics" who saw the whole enterprise as nothing more than an incredibly crude attempt to generate publicity at any cost.

Mr Prest admitted that he was also favourably disposed towards the Cardiff competition because of the "passing resemblance" it bore to Poppleton's continuing scheme to further student recruitment by entering the Ucas ID numbers of all those candidates who applied to our university into a prize draw that could net the winner either a guaranteed first-class degree in a subject of their choosing, a postgraduate appointment as reader in the Department of Alternative Mistletoe Studies or unlimited lifetime access to the bursar's private video collection.

Mr Prest described this initiative as "an innovative out-of-the-box strategy" that was very much "in the same marketing spirit" as the vice-chancellor's recent nude horse ride through Poppleton's celebrated farmers' market.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

I regret that a misleading impression may have been fostered by the omission of the final word in the title of next week's inspirational lecture on collaboration. The full title should have been "Let's All Get Together and Make a Really Big Joint Effort".

(Please note that this seminar is already oversubscribed.)


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