Making an impact

October 1, 2009

"I look forward to increasing everyone's impact." Those were the fighting words of Mr Gerald Thudd, the university's new Head of Research Impact. Mr Thudd, whose appointment is in direct response to the news from Hefce that "impact" will count for 25 per cent in the new research excellence framework, explained the system to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30).

"It's basically quite straightforward. All departments will be required to submit an 'impact statement' indicating the impact made by selected examples of staff research. Now, although such 'impact' must be evident during the REF assessment period (impact arising after the impact period will be treated as having no impact), it is possible to claim for the 'impact' of research carried out ten to 15 years before the preparation of the current impact report. My task is to make the maximum impact upon the impact of departmental impact reports."

What's your impact?

Here at MI (Maximising Impact), we use modern methods of impact assessment, including shock recorders, vibration monitors and drop-height analysis, to produce your research impact figure. Some of our recent testimonials:

"Frankly, I was amazed to discover from MI that my 20 years of research into the need for the working class to rise up and overthrow capitalism had made no impact whatsoever" - Ted Odgers, Media and Cultural Studies

"It was hugely reassuring to learn that my research into the value of unfettered market forces had a measurable impact upon the financial complacency which precipitated the current economic crisis" - Graham Tokek, Head of Business School

"Without MI, I might never have realised that my own impact was slightly higher than that currently enjoyed by Professor R. Dawkins" - Charles Darwin (retired)

Happy talking

Our Director of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, has confirmed that Poppleton will be following the University of Central Lancashire by introducing a one-year MA course in rhetoric. "This is a course", explained Ms Fluellen, "that faces forward towards the future. It is not a course for slackers. Nor for time-wasters. Nor for the faint of heart. It is a course whose time had come. But ask not what rhetoric can do for Poppleton, ask what rhetoric can do for you" (continued next week).

Stirling appreciation

Our v-c has praised Stirling University's Future Directions Restructuring Plan, which describes the existence of 1:30 staff-to-student ratios in parts of the university as "an inevitable condition of continuing research".

Speaking by video link from somewhere sunny, the v-c said that he particularly admired the plan's comforting note that although such a ratio "caused some concern", there was "similar consternation many years ago at a proposed ratio of 1:10". This, insisted the v-c, was a "most welcome blast of realism. It's easy to forget that although we thought things were bad in the past, we had no idea then of how much worse they might become in the present and of how we might be able to draw on such historical precedents as a way of preparing people for the fact that they would be getting even worse in the future."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Please note that as this university now has 423 officially trained leaders, there will be no more leadership training until further notice.

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