In a surprise move, our Head of Personal Development, Jennifer Doubleday, has leapt to the defence of the beleaguered Quality Assurance Agency.
"I'm sure that Mr Phil Willis is a nice man," she told The Poppletonian, "but I was really upset by all those nasty things that he and his committee had to say about the QAA - all that business about it being inconsistent."
Ms Doubleday recalled her own experience of the agency: "I remember when the QAA people came to inspect me last year. They were very polite and so eager to be impressed. It was a pleasure to meet them."
Had her own department been quality assured? "Oh yes. They asked me how things were going in Staff Development and when I said that they were going very well indeed, they seemed absolutely delighted."
Had that been the full extent of the assessment? "Oh no. One of them asked me very courteously if I'd also fill in 26 forms saying how well things were going. So I did that and they took the forms and said that was all the assurance they'd be needing for now, but to let them know if I had any more news that reflected well on university standards."
And did she believe her own QAA experience was typical? "Oh yes. Apparently they were just as nice to everyone else they met at Poppleton and just as conscientious at collecting huge bundles of written reassurances about everyone's high standards. So, it simply makes no sense at all for Mr Willis to call them inconsistent."
Because we're worth it!
Our Head of Statistics, Doctor Kai Tipping, has moved to counter recent claims by the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee that it is impossible to obtain accurate assessments of the relative value of degrees obtained at different universities.
"Thanks to recent in-house research," he told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30.214), "we now know the precise economic value of a Poppleton degree. By comparing the life-time wage of a young person who failed to take a degree at Poppleton with an equivalent graduate, we can say that possessing a degree from Poppleton is worth exactly £1.25 a week in extra income.
"This means that Poppleton graduates will, by the end of their working lives, have amassed a higher education bonus of £2,5 - more than enough to pay off one third of the debts accumulated during their first year at university."
Doctor Tipping was anxious for his results to be widely circulated, but he described campus T-shirts bearing the slogan "Poppleton degrees worth less than a Big Mac" as "statistically misleading".
Highly successful male psychologist with international research record in animal behaviour seeks academic companion for support, affirmation and domestic comfort.
Experience in handling rats an advantage.
Thought for the Week
We regret that Ms Doubleday, our Head of Personal Development, is absent from her column this week for editorial reasons. Her place is taken by Ted Odgers of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies. He writes: "Here are a few words that I often find consoling on those grey days when the world seems against me.
'Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.'"