Laurie Taylor Column

January 6, 2006

New Year Message from the Vice-Chancellor Chief Executive

Welcome back from the long vacation. I trust your batteries are now fully recharged. But before we embark on the good ship 2006, let's look back at our achievements in 2005.

Branding

A report from marketing company Euro RSCG Riley shows that university managers now rate "branding" as more important than staff recruitment.

Don't we know it! Only three months ago we received a £150,000 research report from Euro WRTZ Hillman that led us to abandon our traditional "University of Poppleton" brand and adopt the "more matey" designation "Poppleton University". Worth every penny!

Research

We welcomed a major grant for an investigation into the uses of white phosphorus in civil disturbances and again topped the table for "universities with the most cavalier approach to pharmaceutical research findings".

In anticipation of the next research assessment exercise, we recruited an 11-person nanotechnology research team from the University of Uttoxeter.

Team members are still settling in but at present it looks as though they will adopt a 4-4-2 formation. We're behind you, lads!

Awards

Our inventive chief finance officer, Douglas Oxtoby, was well placed in the Lifetime Achievement category of The Times Higher Awards but was sadly required to take involuntary retirement before judging was concluded. Bad luck Doug!

Library

Our library is now fully virtualised. This digitisation is a personal triumph for head librarian, Ms W. R. Wellingborough, who rounded off the job by agreeing to store the now redundant books and journals in her own garage. Staff with residual affection for the printed page may visit by appointment.

A final thought

Philosopher Gilbert Ryle once suggested that it was a category mistake to ask "where is the university?" as though there was a separate object called "the university". Back here in the real world I think that everyone now knows exactly where to find "Poppleton University". L'Université - c'est moi !

Think about it.

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

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