Laurie Taylor column

January 30, 2004

From : The office of the vice-chancellor Subject: Mickey Mouse degrees
To : All academic staff

As you will be aware, there has recently been a great deal of interest in Mickey Mouse degrees. My secretary, Mrs Dilworth, who subscribes to a journal called The Times Higher Education Supplement , has drawn my attention to a number of articles on this very topic in last week's edition.

These articles not only praised such well-known Mickey Mouse degrees as computer games design (Wolverhampton), hairdressing (Derby), surf science (Plymouth), applied golf studies (Birmingham) and popular music (Salford), but went on to argue that such degrees would become even more popular and successful when tuition fees increased the likelihood of students opting for vocationally oriented courses.

In view of these developments, it seems appropriate that we should pay more attention to our own Mickey Mouse degrees. At present we offer five such courses:

  • Brewing at home for fun and profit
  • Low-level kite flying
  • Mastering the Atkins diet
  • Practical networking
  • Applied pole dancing At the moment, these degrees operate as independent entities, managing their own budgets and awarding their own degrees. But it would now seem to make administrative and pedagogic sense to bring them together into a newly constituted faculty of Mickey Mouse degrees with its own Mickey Mouse dean and Mickey Mouse board of studies. Graduates from this faculty would henceforth receive a BA honours degree in Mickey Mouse studies followed by a bracketed indication of their Mouse specialism.

I am sure you will agree with me that our present portfolio of Mickey Mouse degrees means that we are well placed to take advantage of the rapid development of what might be called the Mickey Mouse tendency in every aspect of higher education in this country.

I hope the above is clear. I am, of course, always available for face-to-face discussion about any aspect of these changes.

Yours sincerely, The vice-chancellor (signed in his absence by Mrs Dilworth)

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