Laurie Taylor Column

December 16, 2005

University of Poppleton

Once again, it's time for some of the university's movers and shakers to select their Books of the Year.

The Vice-Chancellor

There's not been much time for reading (or indeed thinking) in the past year.

I did, however, particularly enjoy a little book I picked up at the Bookshop sale. Its precise title escapes me, but it told the story of a middle-aged man who fails to recognise the benefits of the community in which he resides. Instead of identifying with its mission statement, he persists in pursuing a selfish, individualistic path and ends up having an illicit sexual relationship with a close organisational colleague.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending. Following an intervention from Human Resources and a slightly overdramatised episode involving large rats, he realises his mistakes and re-commits himself to the ongoing strategic plan.

Highly recommended for our less research-active colleagues!

Jamie Targett
Director of Corporate Development

I thoroughly enjoyed Derek Slipstream's Re-engineering the Academic Process .

Slipstream, who hails from the confectionery industry, asks why we should hang on to the sentimental notion that the process of inculcating students with learning differs in any fundamental manner from the process of filling "creams" with "custard".

Not all the analogies work - is it quite fair to conflate student "dropouts" with "broken biscuits"? - but this is an inspiring read from a man who knows as much about universities as he does about cakes.

The Reverend Tom Spacey
University Chaplain

I enjoyed Religious Multiskilling by Jeff Harcourt. Mr Harcourt courageously wonders why, in an age of multiskilling, it is still thought appropriate to retain a strict division of labour between priests, mullahs and rabbis. He looks forward to the day when "progressive ecumenicalism" allows "all-purpose pastors" to ring Communion bells for Catholics as readily as they give the early-morning Islamic call to prayer or make up the tenth person for Jewish ritual prayers. A sign, as John the Baptist might have said, of things to come!

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