Have you seen our vice-chancellor?

September 20, 2012

Following the discovery from a recent staff survey that 35 per cent of Poppleton academics had never seen our current vice-chancellor, we learn of a new university initiative to increase his visibility.

As part of this scheme, our vice-chancellor will abandon his present "Open Doors" policy of spending the best part of 10 minutes in a small selection of university departments during the long summer vacation - a policy dubbed "meet the departmental secretary" in recognition of its limited impact on serving academics.

These visits will henceforth be replaced by a brand-new "Open Access" visibility policy in which the vice-chancellor will make a brief appearance at the left-hand mullioned window of his third-floor executive suite every other Thursday afternoon at round about half past three (weather and other engagements permitting).

It is hoped that these regular appearances by the vice-chancellor will go some way to offset the widely held view (22 per cent of all survey respondents) that he is no longer in situ, having choked to death on his own verbiage.

Quiet please - I'm a librarian

Doreen Tomelty, our Deputy Director of Advanced Technological Retrieval Systems and Open Access Futures (formerly Assistant Librarian) has rounded on those academic librarians who, according to one characterisation at a recent discussion organised by the publisher Sage with the British Library, "chose their profession because they wanted a quiet life and because they liked being with books rather than with people".

Speaking to our reporter Keith Ponting (30), Ms Tomelty insisted that if librarians, or "information access specialists", wished to be taken seriously in today's digital world, they had to eradicate their obsession with heavy things that could be stamped on the inside cover, placed in order on shelves and used to wedge open the door to the Bindery.

"Quite frankly," Ms Tomelty added, "the time will soon be here when books will be as out of place in a typical university library as a working-class student at a Russell Group university."

Let your mind go blank

"It's so very different at Poppleton." That was the response of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the news that the Quality Assurance Agency had discovered a series of failings in the undergraduate course in hypnosis run by St Mary's University College Twickenham. Complaints included inadequately qualified lecturers, out-of-date reading lists and the case of one student on the course who was also listed as a teacher and an examiner.

Ms Harbinger admitted that there were "superficial similarities" between the St Mary's hypnosis course and Poppleton's own undergraduate degree in Auto-Suggestion, but she pointed out that not only was the Poppleton course free from any sort of complaint, it was also routinely rated by students as "quite the very best Auto-Suggestion course in the whole wide world".

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"Smile and the world smiles with you" goes the old saying. So, why not add smiling to your interpersonal skill set? Interactional guru Dr P.G. Thursaston will be here tomorrow in the Personal Development suite to show how you can keep smiling every day on campus with the help of nothing more than a small metal mouth clamp.

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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