Laurie Taylor Column

July 28, 2006

" Struggle to fill v-c job vacancies " - The Times Higher, July 21

University of Poppleton

Vice-Chancellor and President

Following the retirement of the current vice-chancellor for overwhelming personal reasons, Poppleton University now wishes to appoint a new vice-chancellor and president who can oversee the positioning of the university in a generally upward direction and lead its strategic response (Mrs Dilworth - could you pop in something here along the usual lines about commitment and goals and vision) .

In making this appointment the Council of Poppleton University (Mrs Dilworth - do we still have a Council?) will be seeking an outstanding institutional leader who will relish the challenge of leadership.

The successful candidate will ideally display the following qualities:

  • An ability to walk in a relatively straight line while wearing heavy academic dress
  • The capacity to delegate major tasks to inadequately compensated provosts, deans, deputies and pro vice-chancellors
  • Masculinity (or similar)
  • The capacity to integrate thetraditional language of higher education ("Civilising process", "humanising sensibility", "Matthew Arnold") with the management of a modern biscuit factory
  • A readiness either to stand up to trade unions who threaten fundamental academic values or give in to them entirely
  • A long-standing aversion to representative democracy
  • An eclectic view of what constitutes an academic subject
  • A personal dislike of chemistry
  • A readiness to meet regularly with a small ineffective cabal of vice-chancellors in order to complain about the views held by another small ineffective cabal of vice-chancellors
  • A bit of a booming voice.

Please note that a preference will be shown towards candidates with a proven record of outstanding professional leadership and an academic hat size of seven-and-three-quarters.

Applications, including a full curriculum vitae and a modest contribution to the University's Development Fund, should be marked "Sucker" and sent to Mrs Dilworth, c/o the Vice-Chancellor's Office.

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