One of our senior academics, Dr Piercemuller, has denounced the establishment by commercial company Graduate Prospects of a new database that will, for a fee of £10, check the veracity of academic applicants' CVs.
Dr Piercemuller, speaking by Skype from his research base on the British Virgin Islands, said that he found the development "indicative of the decline of trust in higher education". He told The Poppletonian that there had been no such "inquisitorial nosiness" during the days when he'd been busy obtaining his own first-class degree at Oxford, his PhD from Harvard and his Man Booker Prize nomination for best textbook of the year.
He denied that his views constituted a "liars' charter", but insisted we should not "rush to judgement" on all liars. Many of them could nowadays find excellent and well-remunerated posts as seasonal weather forecasters.
Marketing strategy corner
At a time when undergraduate applications are dwindling, marketing becomes more important than ever. And this means there could be no better time to welcome a regular column on marketing expertise from our new Head of Marketing, Graham Flair. Over to you, Graham.
Hello everyone. Hi. All in all, it's been a good week for university marketing. I particularly enjoyed Goldsmiths' wonderfully unverifiable description of itself as "an institution renowned across the world for its progressive values", and was even more impressed by the extraordinary blend of ancient and modern in the assertion by Norwich University College of the Arts that it is able to "offer high-quality contemporary higher education from historic buildings equipped with industry-standard facilities in the heart of the medieval city of Norwich". Well done, indeed.
But this week's Marketing Medal must surely go to the University of Lincoln. Although this university has already won plaudits with its wonderfully terse logo, "Discover Lincoln. Discover Your Future", it has surely excelled itself with this: "We have made monumental progress up the league tables and we are now at our rightful place in the rankings at the top half of all universities."
Pedantic quibblers might doubt the appropriateness of the term "monumental progress" to capture Lincoln's move from 71st to 54th in the university league tables, but the ingenious use of "rightful place" gives the assertion added legitimacy, even if it does so at the expense of suggesting that 54th in the ranking is also Lincoln's "rightful place". Well done, Lincoln. Monumental indeed.
(Next week, Graham Flair will reveal the winner in his competition to find the maximum use by any university marketing department of the word "innovative".)
Bringing up the rear
Our vice-chancellor has issued a public correction following suggestions that he dismissed the value of awards after the failure of Poppleton to secure a single success in the recent Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. He agreed that he had made an "off-the cuff" remark to members of the Poppleton management team who were sharing his table at this year's Grosvenor House Hotel ceremony, but insisted that this remark was "broadly supportive".
However, a fellow guest gained a rather different impression. Although this informant admitted that allowance needed to be made for the degree of hospitality that had been enjoyed, he was quite sure that, following Poppleton's failure in the Charismatic Leadership category, he heard the vice-chancellor declare that "awards were rather like haemorrhoids in that every arsehole gets one in the end". All in all, he found it difficult to construe this remark as "broadly supportive".
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
"Never test the depth of the water with both feet."