Laurie Taylor column

February 28, 2003

"A quarter of university dropouts abandon their studies because they have chosen the wrong course" - The THES, February 21

Ah, Janet, sorry to keep you waiting. Bit of trouble with the bursar. Did Maureen explain?

She did. And she made me a coffee.

Excellent. As I told you when you arrived last autumn, this department believes in looking after its students or, as we now prefer to call them, its customers. What can I do for you?

I was thinking about leaving. I may have chosen the wrong course.

The wrong course? But you applied for cultural and media studies. So how can you have chosen the wrong course? You've had lectures on film and television and semiotics and narrative and cultural theory.

Yes, but there were a few other things that I hoped to find.

Post-structuralism? Deconstructionism? They're waiting on the shelves for you in the second year.

I was thinking of intellectual rigour, academic integrity and pedagogic competence.

I'm sorry, Janet. You really are living in the past. You won't find those on any university course now. Most departments decided not to stock them any more. Quite frankly, there's simply no demand. Look, tell you what, you stick with us and we'll make it worth your while.

How do you mean?

What would you say to an extra 500 points on your departmental loyalty card?

I'll think about it.

Janet. It's good to do business with you.

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