Laurie Taylor Column

May 28, 2004

From: The Office of the Vice-Chancellor

To: Dr Piercemüller

Subject: Transfer of Duties

Dear Dr Piercemüller,

As you will know, we are rapidly approaching the 2008 research assessment exercise. This means that academic departments must now begin to plan ways in which they can maximise their research submissions.

Your own research record, which has been submitted to me by your Head of Department, Professor Gordon Lapping, suggests that your contribution to research in recent years has fallen below the required standard.

In your last research submission, for example, you cited three book titles as "in publication" and two further titles as "in press". Not one of these five volumes has yet made an appearance. Neither is there any sign of the seven journal articles that were listed as "forthcoming" or the four journal articles described as "currently with academic referees". This appears to be a familiar pattern. Reference to the Citation Index shows that no one has ever regarded your past work as sufficiently seminal to warrant a single mention.

As you may know, our usual procedure in such circumstances is to transfer the "research deficit" academic to a "Teaching Only" post. In this case, however, your Head of Department felt strongly that any such nomination might jeopardise the next teaching quality assessment exercise and therefore proposed that you be designated "Administration Only".

We have, however, now received a number of representations from members of the university administrative staff objecting to this depiction on the grounds that your association with the word "administration" would in effect demean their own professional standing.

In the circumstances, I have decided to institute a new "Only" status. From henceforth you will be designated as "Turning Up To The Department And Walking About Only".

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Yours sincerely,

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

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