Laurie Taylor Column

November 24, 2006

To: All Academic Staff. From: Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Affairs. Subject: Staff Xmas Dinners

The tradition of Staff Xmas Dinners at Poppleton is one of the few elements of university life that has not been validated by competent authorities or become subject to the usual managerial imperatives. This has meant that some such dinners have displayed a disturbing degree of spontaneity and innovation and, in one or two cases, clear-cut evidence of unmeasured enjoyment.

To remedy this situation, the specially constituted Xmas Dinner Committee has issued the following guidelines.

1. All members of staff who wish to attend such functions are urged to participate in one of the special Staff Development Workshops on Social Interaction that are being held every weekday evening in the Staff Development Complex. Choose from:

* Meeting and greeting ("Hello")

* Managing small talk ("That's a pretty frock")

* Avoiding embarrassment ("I'd no idea she was your wife")

* Saying goodbye ("Time for me to be toddling along").

2. All departments intending to hold a Staff Xmas Dinner are required to submit a statement of Dining Aims and Outcomes and indicate the manner in which learning outcomes will be assessed. For example:

* Aim of dinner: to improve internal customer relations

* Measure of outcome: improved performance on an ICSI (Internal Customer Satisfaction Index).

3. To ensure the widest possible participation rate, all meals should offer a minimum of three dining modules:

* Traditional Module: turkey and all the trimmings

* Contemporary Module: pheasant and all the trimmings

* Vegetarian Module: all the trimmings.

4. All diners will be required to complete a Post Dining Questionnaire that includes learning outcomes and a TQA (turkey quality assessment).

5. In line with technological developments at The Times Higher , all module menus should be stapled.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Jamie Targett

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