"A tremendous idea going forward." That was the enthusiastic response of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the University of Central Lancashire's new scheme to persuade students that they are receiving feedback from academic staff.
Under the Uclan scheme, staff are issued with small cardboard lollipop signs bearing the message "Stop. Listen. You're Getting Feedback". They are instructed to raise these in full view of students whenever they believe such feedback is being provided.
Ms Harbinger said she believed this was a valuable way to improve feedback results in the forthcoming Student Satisfaction Survey.
She further announced that Poppleton would not only adopt the scheme but would extend its range by offering staff a number of additional lollipop signs that might further increase satisfaction levels. These included the following: "Stop. Listen. You're enjoying a good lecture";
"Stop. Listen. You're getting your money's worth";
"Stop. Listen. Lots of students didn't get a university place this year so count your blessings".
Smile. You're doing business studies
"Did they mean us?" That was the defensive reaction of our Head of Business Studies, Mike Ebbers, to the recent report compiled by the consultancy Carrington Crisp that condemned the content of several Business Studies websites.
Ebbers admitted that the present Poppleton Business Studies site did contain several pictorial elements criticised in the report: happy, smiling staff members, cheerful-looking students and shining new buildings.
He denied, however, that this fundamentally damaged the site's "authenticity". One or two members of his staff had certainly been known to smile towards the end of term, and he himself had seen at least one cheerful student in a seminar as recently as last spring. And although the shining new buildings pictured on the site were the university's new Administrative Block, they were readily visible from the windows of his department.
Ebbers also pointed out that the uncritically optimistic nature of his department's present website was thoroughly in line with the bland euphoric vision of the economy that had traditionally been such a central feature of Business Studies teaching.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I regret to say that our new season of Anger Management courses is already oversubscribed, so here's an amusing little thought to help those who will have to wait until later in the term to learn how to calm down:
"He who flings mud, loses a lot of ground."
How many sociologists?
Our Corporate Director of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, has given a cautious welcome to the contention by John D. Brewer of the University of Aberdeen that the rift between sociologists and the Conservative Party must be healed if the coalition government's "Big Society" policy is to succeed.
Ms Fluellen also agreed that sociologists could contribute to our understanding of such notions as community, citizenship and participation. However, she explained to The Poppletonian that this university's involvement in such developments was circumscribed by the decision to close its sociology department in the 1980s after its one remaining member of staff had responded to Margaret Thatcher's declaration that there was "no such thing as society" with a letter of resignation that said simply: "Whoops. There goes my discipline."