Laurie Taylor Column

August 12, 2005

"The QAA is seeking senior assessors to scrutinise applications from institutions wishing to become universities. 'Knowledge or experience is not essential.'" - The Times Higher , August 5

So, may we now turn to our first application. This comes from the Edna Bennett School of Dance and Drama in Poppleton, which would like to become the Edna Bennett University of Dance and Drama.

We have a supporting letter from Edna Bennett herself in which she points out the successes that her graduates have enjoyed in such artistic fields as repertory acting, advanced hospitality services and exotic dancing.

What do the senior assessors feel? Shall we start with you, Mr Turnbull?

Well, I'm not really sure. My problem is that I don't know much about universities or what might make a good university.

That's not a problem, Mr Turnbull. That's a strength. That's the very reason you were appointed to this arduous position. No experience or knowledge necessary. Right? So, just have a shot.

Well, isn't it a bit odd to have a university named after a person? The Edna Bennett University. Are there any others like that?

Don't ask me, Mr Turnbull. Remember, I'm also a member of the new intake. Now, does anyone else have an opinion? Yes, Mr Biggins.

It hasn't got a clock tower. Shouldn't all universities have clock towers?

Is that really a critical criterion?

It's just an idea. What do you expect for a hundred and twenty quid a day? Isaiah Berlin?

Well, that seems to have concluded the assessment. Shall we move to a vote? All those in favour of approving the application for the Edna Bennett University of Dance and Drama? Thank you. Against? Thank you. And the Don't Knows. Well, that's a surprise.

What's a surprise?

We actually have a clear majority of Don't Knows. Who'd have thought it?

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