I sphinx - therefore I am

August 19, 2010

Yes, it's hello and welcome again to the second of our Holiday Specials, in which leading members of staff bring us exciting news of their vacation adventures. This week's Thoughts from Abroad comes courtesy of Louise Bimpson, Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources Department. Over to you, Louise.

Well, here I am in Cairo, where I must say it's only too easy to forget the exigencies of effective employee-resource planning when you're happily hunting for bargains in the bustling alleyways of Khan el-Khalili.

Nothing, though, looks likely to beat the thrill of yesterday's outing to the Pyramids. All my HR training came rushing back as I listened to the guide explaining that the building of the great Khufu Pyramid involved 3,000 workers hoisting more than two million 3-tonne blocks of stone into their correct positions.

As we made our way back to the Hilton, I couldn't help but think what a lesson this story held for life back at dear old Poppleton. Just imagine 3,000 academics hoisting huge numbers of weighty refereed research articles into a triumphant research excellence framework submission.

I was so excited by the possibility that I almost forgot that following the recent radical staff-restructuring exercise, our total complement of academics has now fallen to 236.

"Quite enough to build a sizeable sandcastle," said my companion. How we laughed!


In a shock move, all Poppleton dons who have chosen to take advantage of the new government plans to scrap the retirement age have been told to stay away from the university's forthcoming Open Day.

Jamie Targett, our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, explained that the decision had been taken in the interests of public image. "We really don't want parents and prospective students to get the impression that the university is largely populated by academics who are unable to stand without visible means of support," he explained.

By way of compensation, Targett promised that all such excluded senior members would be offered a free cup of tea and a biscuit, plus the chance to join Matron for an evening sing-song in the atrium of the Medical Centre.

The news that the Biennial Qualitative Research Conference to be held at Bournemouth University from 6 to 8 September will showcase such aspects of "performative social science" as open-mike poetry, quilt-making and circus acts has received a warm welcome from Janet Fluellen, our Director of Curriculum Development.

She told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that she expected Poppleton social scientists to make a full contribution to such proceedings. "After all, for many years now they have had unprecedented opportunities to develop such essential performative skills as walking a fine line, jumping through hoops and being publicly cut in half," she said.


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