Laurie Taylor column

April 7, 2006

From: The Office of the President (formerly Vice-Chancellor)

Subject: Nomenclature Revision

As you may be aware, Warwick University has decided to break away from centuries of tradition and rename its lecturers "assistant professors", its senior lecturers and readers "associate professors", while still calling its professors "professors".

At an emergency meeting of this university's Professorial Committee, it was decided that unless we respond in kind to Warwick's action, we might well lose out in the international academic market.

There was also a strong feeling that the Warwick move, while raising the status of lecturers, senior lecturers and readers, might have the unfortunate effect of devaluing those who already hold the professorial title.

After extended discussion it was agreed that such status decrement might best be avoided by introducing a degree of discrimination within the present professorial nomenclature. All staff should therefore note that, from October 1 this year, we will adopt the Warwick naming system for lecturers, senior lecturers and readers while introducing the following revised classification for Poppleton professors:

Professor. This title is reserved for all professors who quite frankly only got the title in the first place because either they'd been around for ages or there was no one else available (for example, Professors Lapping, Morgan, Splitz and Webley).

Professor Professor. This double title is reserved for professors who are still able to stand up straight, possess their own academic gown and know without having to think about it that "professor" contains only one "f" (for example Professors Ellis, Jupp, Mincing and Tidmarsh).

Professor Professor Professor. This triple nomination is reserved for professors who have been offered better jobs elsewhere (for example, Professor Webster from psychology would have been an excellent candidate if only he hadn't already left).

I hope this clarifies the situation.

The Lord of Creation (formerly the President).

Signed in his absence by Assistant Professor Dilworth (formerly Mrs Dilworth).

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