"This is a real breakthrough!"
That was the relatively ecstatic response of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the news that the Big Four audit firm Deloitte has developed a technique for judging the likelihood of university undergraduates dropping out of study.
"Just imagine the benefits," she said. "Once we have that advance information we'll be able to weed out all those troublesome slow learners and dyslexics and serial complainers and economically underprivileged students who currently take up so much valuable administrative and academic time and effort. From now on, not one of them will so much as get a foot in the campus door."
Ms Harbinger said that she hoped Deloitte would not rest on its laurels. She looked forward to the company developing a "compliance index" that would enable Poppleton to select only those undergraduates who would be completely happy with second-rate tuition and third-rate facilities and also inclined to award high satisfaction scores on student survey forms. Once identified, this group could then become our university's "niche recruitment target".
'Arise, Sir Registrar'
'Can I be accredited?'
'Can I be a Fellow?'
'Me, me, me.'
These were just a few of the eager responses from individuals in our ever-expanding administrative team to the news that the Association of University Administrators is to award different grades of fellowship so as to give AUA members "parity of esteem and status" with academics.
One of our leading administrators, Norman Ladyman, Principal Senior Head Administrator (formerly the Registrar), spoke frankly to The Poppletonian about how this would remedy a most unfortunate situation.
"I think", he said, "that it's on degree days when the lack of proper accreditation for administrators can be most personally distressing. I have to sit there on the platform as plain Mr Ladyman while all around me people are being introduced as Professor This and Doctor That and Reader in This and That."
Mr Ladyman said he recognised that he'd have "to pay a few quid and attend a couple of weekend conferences" to secure his accreditation, but on the whole thought this a price well worth paying if he could then face the world as a "fully fledged Fellow".
Drink and sex? Yes, please
Our vice-chancellor has gone out of his way to reassure Poppleton academics that he will not follow in the footsteps of Malcolm Gillies, vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University, who is considering banning alcohol from some parts of campus because a high percentage of his students consider drinking to be "immoral".
Speaking to reporter Keith Ponting (30), our vice-chancellor said that although he respected Professor Gillies' view on alcohol and his allied assertion that universities now needed to be "much more cautious" than formerly about the portrayal of sex, research indicated that "well-cheap booze and dead-easy sex" were the principal reasons for potential students including Poppleton in their list of preferred universities.
In these circumstances, he believed that to exclude sex and alcohol from the Poppleton university campus would be "about as inappropriate" as outlawing all mention of Jesus at Canterbury Christ Church.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Please note that contrary to the apparent expectations of some who took part in last week's 'Know Yourself' seminar, there are no passes or fails in the Rorschach ink blot test.