Fast-tracking? We've got it

July 19, 2012

Poppleton's for-profit Elsie Dimchurch College of Drama and Deportment has been one of the "winners" in the recent review of private college courses undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Ms Dimchurch told The Poppletonian that she'd been "absolutely delighted" to learn that the department had taken just one day to "designate" every one of the 98 courses she'd submitted for official approval. This now meant that all her students on such widely divergent courses as Phrenology for Beginners and Colonic Irrigation for Pleasure and Profit could now "proudly stand alongside" traditional university undergraduates and take full advantage of taxpayer-backed loans from the Student Loans Company.

She was equally forthright when asked by our reporter Keith Ponting (30) if she was in any way worried by the academic concern that the extraordinary readiness of BIS to give official designation to any old course in an astonishingly short amount of time might lead to the proliferation of student loan-funded "Mickey Mouse" degrees.

This suggestion, said Ms Dimchurch, was yet another example of the patronising attitude adopted by universities towards for-profit colleges. For although it happened to be true that Mickey Mouse was a core component of one of her college's newly BIS-approved courses, the course in question also included an evaluation of Mickey's friends Goofy and Donald Duck. "I like to think", she added, "that it might have been this very eclecticism which allowed the course to earn BIS approval in rather less time than it takes to say 'David Willetts'."

I love you, Kermit

Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has publicly denied that there is any link at all between our deputy registrar's recent blog asserting that our vice-chancellor resembled Attila the Hun and her subsequent disappearance from campus.

Targett agreed that there were "superficial similarities" between these events at Poppleton and the so far unexplained departure from Durham University of a registrar who used a blog seemingly to compare her own vice-chancellor to Miss Piggy. However, he maintained there was "no real correspondence" between the cases, saying that whereas the capricious Miss Piggy was clearly a fictional character who bore little resemblance to Durham's current vice-chancellor, Christopher Higgins, it was "a matter of extreme misfortune" that our own vice-chancellor was a dead ringer for the former bloodthirsty barbarian leader. He hoped this clarified the situation.

I'll never forget whatsitsname

"It is a quite fascinating coincidence." That was the reaction of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the major new government report - Understanding Higher Education in Further Education Institutions - which reveals that one in 10 of the 2,500 student respondents had mistakenly believed when they arrived at college that they were really going to a university.

According to Ms Harbinger, this finding "perfectly dovetailed" with her own recent research into Poppleton student expectations, which showed that 1 in 10 of our present undergraduates mistakenly believed that they were currently studying in a college of further education. In Ms Harbinger's perceptive words, "what goes around comes around".

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"The best vitamin for making friends is B1"

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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