Laurie Taylor column

September 26, 2003

From: The Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

Dear Professor Lapping

As you will no doubt have read in The THES, and indeed in the more popular press, it is the government's intention to concentrate future research funding in those departments that currently enjoy a distinguished research assessment exercise ranking.

This means that your own department of Medical and Cultural Studies which has only a modest RAE ranking, will henceforth be designated a teaching-only department. You and your colleagues may, of course, carry on research in the privacy of your own homes, but you certainly won't be getting any time or money to do it here.

This translation to teaching-only status raises an important disciplinary issue. In recent years, academics who have been unable or unwilling to obtain research funding have been appropriately penalised for their lack of resolution by the allocation of extra teaching hours - they have become, in effect, teaching only. Now that everyone in your department falls into this category, such a valuable sanction necessarily becomes unavailable.

I am therefore writing to announce the introduction of a third academic domain. From January 1 2004, all teaching only academics whose incompetence at teaching is proven will be designated "general cleaning only" and promptly transferred to the university's Maintenance Department.

Their work in that department will be subject to evaluation by the newly created GCQA (General Cleaning Quality Assessment).

A final word. It is, of course, my sincere wish that you and your colleagues will be able to maintain your teaching-only status. I should say, however, that there is some modest evidence now becoming available that supports the idea that teaching and general cleaning enjoy a fruitful synergy.

I hope all this is clear.

The Vice-Chancellor
(signed in his absence by Mrs Dilworth)

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