Laurie Taylor Column

November 17, 2006

From : The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive.

Subject : Times Higher Awards.

A small number of short-term non-renewable contract colleagues have expressed concern about Poppleton University's failure to appear among the lists of winners or runners-up (or indeed entrants) for this year's Times Higher Awards. This is a gross misreading of the true situation, and I am delighted to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

In actual fact, Poppleton University submitted entries in four of the 18 categories and only failed to achieve winner or runner-up status in each because of largely technical considerations.

Our submission for "Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community", for example, was praised for "its relative clarity of expression" but placed 62nd after the judges decided that the extra two refuse bins on Library Road did not constitute sufficient evidence of "ongoing commitment to community advancement".

We were also unlucky that the arrival of the judges to consider our entry for "Student Experience of the Year" should have coincided with the regrettable arson attack on the Student Union Bar and the relatively short-lived outbreak of dysentery in two adjoining residential blocks.

I'm delighted, however, to report that we were placed 42nd in the "Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development" for the use of recycled bricks from the Philosophy Department in the construction of the extension to the Staff Development Complex.

On a more personal note, it was merely unfortunate that our entry for the "Lifetime Achievement" award was disqualified by the judges for the purely formalistic reason that my own self-nomination fell outside "the usual guidelines".

All in all, this seems like a thoroughly satisfactory set of results for what was our first set of entries for these awards, and in any case who cares about yet another overhyped set of awards, and anyway I had an excellent expenses-paid dinner at the Park Lane Hilton and that can't be all bad.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

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

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