Graduation ceremonies

June 25, 2009

This week we are pleased to carry the following recommendations from our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, on body control during the forthcoming graduation ceremonies

To all members of academic staff

We will shortly be staging the first of our graduation ceremonies in the Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool Concert Hall. These ceremonies are an opportunity to maximise the visual impact of this university going forward, and it is therefore of vital importance that all academic staff adhere to the rules of protocol that are consonant with our institutional identity. The following instructions relate to body management.

During the procession, single file should be strictly observed, with eyes facing reverentially forwards towards the elevated mace. Any suggestion of a goose step is to be avoided, as is the reckless overtaking of colleagues on the sharp bend leading into the hall.

Please endeavour to ascend the platform steps without leaning on the handrail and use alternate feet during the climb so as to further combat any suspicion of senility. If you mistakenly seat yourself on someone else after the congregation has been declared open, please correct your error discreetly.

During the ceremony, try to avoid winking or gurning at the congregation and strictly control any intimations of flatulence during the Chancellor's address. Remember to give just three claps for each undergraduate, four for each PhD and six for the Chancellor's address. And with memories of last year's unfortunate incident involving Dr Helen Robards of Physics, please make sure when seated that one's gown covers both crossed legs.

Next week: What should I wear under my gown? A complete guide.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

I was extremely exercised by the recent news report claiming "a global first" for Patricia Easteal, an Australian lecturer who will shortly take up a lecturing post at Durham University without ever leaving her home in Canberra.

The suggestion that this is the first "virtual" appointment in a British university completely fails to recognise the virtual presence that I have consistently maintained at Poppleton University for the past 25 years.

Over those years I have been virtually present at nearly 200 departmental meetings, more than 300 staff-graduate seminars, about 4,000 student-supervisory sessions, roughly 25 Christmas staff dinners, more or less 50 open days and getting on for 120 examiners meetings. In the words of my department's longstanding secretary, Maureen: "I'm happy to confirm that Dr Piercemuller is virtually never here."

I hope this sets the record straight.

Doctor Piercemuller, Institute of Fiscal Probity, The Cayman Islands

Standards? We're dropping them!

Our Director of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, has been quick to respond to the University of Central Lancashire's invitation to graduates with "disappointing degrees" (thirds or unclassifieds) to consider an MSc in Management at Lancashire Business School.

"This is yet another example of a university leaping on to the Poppleton bandwagon," she told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30). "Here at this university, not only is our entire School of Business Management already heavily stocked with graduates who can display a proven record of inadequacy in a broad range of disciplines but it is also entirely staffed by academics who completely failed to recognise either the nature or the imminence of the present financial crisis. Here at Poppleton we like to call it 'synergy'."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Please note that there is no truth in last week's widely circulated email suggesting that those enrolling for our new Five-Step Plan in Personal Realisation would also need to undertake Health and Safety Ladder Training.

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