Horses for courses

May 8, 2014

Details of a vacancy at Warwickshire College have triggered a major curriculum controversy.

According to well-informed sources, the trouble began when Janet Fluellen, Poppleton’s Director of Curriculum Development, heard that the college, which has an “excellent long-standing reputation for delivering equine education”, was looking for a new “HE Equine Distance Learning Manager”.

This immediately prompted Ms Fluellen to ask our own resident Head of the Department of Pork Studies, Dr D. B. Lardon, if he had any similar plans for porcine distance learning.

We understand that Dr Lardon not only cursorily dismissed this idea but also vigorously argued that, in his opinion, neither horses nor pigs were particularly well-suited to distance learning. For while horses were deemed capable of engaging in some effective distance learning in the relative privacy of their stables, pigs were invariably pedagogically handicapped by the gregariousness of the trough.

Neither did Dr Lardon feel that this objection was in any way undermined by the frequent claim that pigs were better adapted to using online resources than horses because their bifurcated trotters allowed them more keyboard dexterity than that which was available to a single-hoofed horse.

We have learned that Ms Fluellen is considerably exercised by this apparent loss of a new marketing opportunity for our university. She is believed to have privately referred to the incident as an unfortunate case of “kicking a gift pig in the mouth”.


Welcome to the club

Our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has gone out of his way to praise the UK’s first for-profit university, the University of Law.

He told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that it was “perhaps mildly regrettable” that the government had appeared to have “leaned over backwards” in order to ensure that the award of university status met a deadline in the sales process in which the former charitable College of Law was sold to Montagu Private Equity.

He also agreed that there were “some unfortunate aspects” to the further news that the University of Law appears to have been “loaded” with £177 million of debt, a sum close to the amount the private equity firm paid for the institution. Neither was he “entirely happy” with the further news that the University of Law’s ultimate parent company turned out to be L-J Holdco Limited, a company “incorporated in Guernsey”.

But he found “considerable comfort” in the clear evidence that the university was already adopting “the managerial mode of communication” that characterised public sector universities such as Poppleton. He instanced the following response from the University of Law’s spokeswoman to a question about the financial probity of her institution:

“Our new ownership structure allows us to respond to opportunities which, by definition, require significant levels of financial investment, evidenced by a pipeline of exciting new academic offerings and our current review of international expansion opportunities”.

Targett told Ponting that there was only one phrase that properly captured the managerial excellence of this statement: “Welcome to the club”.


Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Please note: the free sandwiches offered as an additional attraction at next week’s “Fast Your Way to Fitness” seminar will be available only to those who are on the 5 part of their 5 and 2 diet. I hope this clarifies the situation.

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