One of Poppleton's leading social psychologists, Doctor Mike Goshworthy, has admitted faking many of the results that helped to make him a national media figure.
Dr Goshworthy told The Poppletonian that he'd chosen to come clean after learning that a similar admission of research fraud had been made by Diederik Stapel, formerly professor at Tilburg University in Holland, and one of Europe's leading social psychologists.
Whereas Professor Stapel made his name with a series of papers showing, among other things, that the presence of wine glasses improved table manners, and that meat eaters are more antisocial than vegetarians, Doctor Goshworthy attracted wide attention through research articles showing the firm association between sexual impotence and repeated viewing of Strictly Come Dancing, and the statistical preference among males who sleep on the left-hand side of the bed for women with big breasts.
Our Corporate Director of Human Resources, Louise Bimpson, said that the university had no plans to discipline Doctor Goshworthy but some consideration was being given to the idea that his talent for fraudulent publication might be of assistance to those currently preparing the university prospectus.
Goodbye and good riddance
Hard on the heels of the recent contention in Times Higher Education by James Hartley, of Keele University, that emeritus professors are subject to variable treatment by their former universities comes news that one of our own emeritus professors, Doctor Fritz Itzig, was recently mauled by a bunch of savage guard dogs when he attempted to check the contents of his former departmental pigeonhole.
However, our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has refused to apologise for the assault. "It is", he told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), "extremely frustrating to say goodbye to a restructured academic one day and then find they've crept back on campus the next day as though nothing had happened. That 'e' in emeritus means 'out of' not 'popping back from time to time'. It's a principle that is accepted in all other labour markets. You'd hardly expect to find emeritus bus conductors hanging around their old depots or emeritus sales assistants clogging the aisles at Selfridges."
Targett was, however, happy to deny that there were currently any plans to charge ex-professors an annual sum of £750 for the use of the emeritus title. "We would expect the figure to be slightly lower," he told Ponting.
In at the deep end
"I couldn't have put it better myself." That was the enthusiastic response of our vice-chancellor to the recent assertion by Julie Mercer, head of education at consulting firm Deloitte, that private equity companies saw UK higher education as "a beautiful swimming pool that everybody wants to jump into" but no one wants to go first.
Our v-c pointed out that, in the past, the university had often been described by such phrases as "a school of universal learning" (John Henry Newman) or as "a factory of new knowledge" (Thomas Huxley).
But he believed that Ms Mercer's formulation had brought an important blast of reality to bear upon these overly abstract formulations. "It's such a concrete image. A warm, cloudless day. A beautiful blue swimming pool. And there, clustered around the edge, all those private equity companies with their assets bulging over their shorts as they wait to jump in and make a killing."
(Neither John Henry Newman nor Thomas Huxley was available for comment.)
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Next week's seminar will consider the newly emergent academic syndrome Double Dip Depression. Open to all.