Laurie Taylor

April 19, 2002

" New code of practice at the University of Central England requires all academics to provide specific details of the work they have been doing on those days when they claim to be 'working at home' ." - THES, April 5 .

I'm sorry, but Dr Piercemuller is currently abroad on Erasmus business. Please leave a message after the tone.

Dr Piercemuller, this is Maureen. I know you're there. You were spotted in Pizza and Pasta last night by one of your graduates. This is urgent. And I will go on talking until you pick up the phone.

Ah, Maureen. There you are. Sorry about the machine. Infernal things. Now, what can I do for you?

Dr Piercemuller, it's about the new university regulations dealing with working from home.

No problem there. I've made a point of documenting all my activities in that brand new book.

That's just it. We've had a letter from the vice-chancellor saying that your entries are too vague.

Under the new regulations, you are not allowed to use such phrases as "Preparation", but according to the records you described your home-based activities last Tuesday and Wednesday as "Preparation for Preparation".

And the vice-chancellor was even more unhappy with last Thursday's reference to "General Thinking".

Is that all?

Not quite. He raised one other serious point.

After studying your entries carefully, he says that he was forced to come to the conclusion that you were showing less than full commitment to the new scheme.

And what, pray, are his grounds for such a sweeping judgement?

I'm only guessing, of course, but I wonder if it could be something to do with the fact that you describe the work you will be doing at home for the whole first week of next term as "Self-Abuse".

As I say, I'm only guessing.

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