Laurie Taylor column

March 9, 2001

"The teaching quality assessment exercise has been rendered all but meaningless by grade inflation and gamesmanship" - THES, March 2 .

Let me turn immediately to the only item on today's agenda. I'm delighted to report that our department has been awarded a grade of 22 in the recent teaching quality assessment exercise. This is a dramatic improvement on our previous grade of 14 and a testament to the outstanding efforts made by everyone in the room. Yes, Doctor Quintock?

What particular pedagogic factors led to such a favourable outcome?

We were helped by our rather more modest set of objectives. As you'll remember, these included: no commitment to research; marginal levels of undergraduate literacy; and an almost complete absence of transferable skills. As the reviewers' report indicates, all these aims were satisfactorily met. We were also assisted by the decision to place Doctor Piercemuller under house arrest, and by the 18 actors from the Poppleton Academy of Drama whose performances as present and past students, and as employers of former students, were quite exemplary.

What about the furniture?

Indeed, Mr Odgers. Everyone would wish to acknowledge the role you played in transferring furniture from the vice-chancellor's salon to the departmental inquiries office. Neither must we forget the exciting range of casual clothes loaned to members of staff by Next.

What about the fat consultancy offer we made to that miserable-looking reviewer? And the one-week subscription we took out to that wonderful online library service?

Both were invaluable.

And that 15-page list of enormously successful graduates?

A tribute to Maureen's ingenuity. Now, unless there are any other contributions to acknowledge, I suggest that we adjourn to the SCR for a celebratory drink.

Beers all round?

The prospect is even brighter, Mr Odgers. If I'm not mistaken, there are still 12 bottles of Moët left over from the final inspection lunch.

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