Dramatic insight into Hefce's plans for revising the impact score in the forthcoming research excellence framework have been given to The Poppletonian by an "inside source".
Speaking "off the record" to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), the "mole" revealed that Hefce had been "completely bouleversed" by the news that six Nobel laureates had objected to its proposal for a 25 per cent impact score.
There was even more "general consternation" when the petition against the score attracted more than 15,000 signatures. "And then to top it all, the President of UUK said that he also thought our percentage score was far too high. Frankly, by the end of last week, most of us in Hefce didn't know whether we were coming or going."
So what percentage would Hefce now be proposing? "It's obviously still very hush-hush, but what we're going for will be some sort of happy medium. Twenty per cent would buy off UUK, but that would be too high for the petitioners; so at the moment we're talking anywhere between 15 and 18 per cent."
But wouldn't all that dithering with percentages suggest that Hefce had no sound reasons for proposing a 25 per cent score in the first place?
"Not at all," our source told Ponting. "As no one on the council could agree on what was meant by 'impact' in the first place, there were always going to be difficulties in deciding exactly how much of it we wanted."
Our source agreed that Hefce's move had divided the academic community, but insisted that the use of the term "laughing stock" to characterise its current standing was "misleading".
One of our administrative staff has welcomed the proposal from Baroness Blackstone, vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich, that academics should take over more of the jobs presently carried out by administrators.
Maureen, the departmental secretary for Media and Cultural Studies, said that she positively looked forward to the time when academics assumed responsibility for such traditional administrative tasks as turning on their own radiators, finding their way unaccompanied to lecture theatres, refilling the photocopier and working out how to renew their parking permit.
Maureen received unexpected support from her Head of Department, Gordon Lapping, who revealed that he had already taken Blackstone's words to heart.
"Only yesterday," he explained, "I suggested to Maureen that it might be appropriate for someone other than herself to organise the collection of money for her traditional Christmas gift."
No fun - it's Christmas
Academic staff are once again reminded of the total ban on all campus Christmas or Yuletide parties. Small groups of staff are permitted to converge for the purpose of exchanging convivial greetings, but these gatherings must not include any alcoholic drink, refreshments or decorative embellishments (balloons, funny hats or party poppers). Those attending such gatherings should endeavour to restrain their enthusiasm. Have a good one.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
This is the time of year when we should think of those with different beliefs. Here's a little poem I found recently that perfectly captures that sentiment:
Roses are reddish
Violets are bluish
If it weren't for Christmas
We'd all be Jewish