Laurie Taylor column

January 4, 2002

To:the University of Poppleton.
From: the office of the vice-chancellor.
Subject: new year's message.

Dear member of academic staff,

May I begin by wishing each and every one of you a happy and relatively prosperous new year. I know that 2002 will be a year in which this university continues to build on the firm foundation that has been established since my own arrival in this post just over nine months ago.

Before turning to some of our major achievements during 2001, it is appropriate to mention those senior members of staff who will no longer be with us during the journey ahead. I'm sure that you will join me in saying farewell to professors Dibling, Honecker, Grint, Lowenstein, Puffadder, Soames and Wainwright, who have either taken early retirement, moved to pastures new, or died in the post. We will remember you.

On a brighter note, let me offer a warm welcome to our new short-term contract staff and to our new head of marketing, Dave Flipchart, who joins us from Walkers Crisps where he was responsible for such innovations as the larger bag for a lot more money and the unique barbecue flavour. Good to have you with us, Dave.

As you know, this university excelled in a number of academic areas last year. Our policy of recruiting students without adequate qualifications confirmed our continuing commitment to widening access, and there was widespread support for the decision to replace our existing philosophy department with a department of Harry Potter studies.

Nothing, however, rebounded more to our credit than the dramatic improvement in our research assessment exercise ratings. Every department in the university is now rated at four or above, an achievement crowned by the additional news that this raises us from 93rd to 91st in the national league tables of research excellence. Well done everybody.

I hope to be able to meet more of you on an individual basis during the coming year. Remember, my door is always open - even if circumstances often mean that I'm not necessarily in the room.

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