Nothing but blue skies

February 19, 2009

Our Head of Social Psychology, Professor G.W. Tipping, has thrown his not-inconsiderable weight behind the letter from 20 eminent scientists calling for a rebellion against new research council rules that stress the need for research to be relevant to the economy.

Speaking to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), from behind a two-way mirror, he pointed out that he and his colleagues had been engaged for years on largely inconclusive research into whether or not first-year students who smile at each other a lot get on better than those who don't. "This research", he added, "has little or no relevance whatsoever to anything that happens in the real world. But such blue-skies work is absolutely vital. Who can possibly tell what value it might have in the distant future? Just think of what happened with lasers."

Are our governors out of touch?

After the concern expressed by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education about the extent to which university governing bodies were out of touch with the management of their own institutions, The Poppletonian asked a sample of our own governors about their relationship with the Vice-Chancellor.

The Right Reverend Bishop of Poppleton

There was some initial theological discomfort over the Vice-Chancellor's claim that he was divinely ordained, but, with God's immediate assistance, we should be able to face the future with confidence.

Sir Terence Grist, Deputy CEO, Poppleton Pork Products

I'm pleased by the Vice-Chancellor's readiness to accept my view that there is little to choose between the processes that culminate in the production of a degree and those that go into the assembly of a satisfactory pork pie. We are also very much united by our commitment to the traditional nepotic values of Poppleton Round Table.

Mrs Teale, Chairperson of the Townspersons' Guild

Despite his regular assertions about the importance of gender equality, I still find myself a trifle disconcerted by his repeated suggestions that if I have nothing better to do, I might like to run along and make tea for the rest of the Board.

Brigadier General Slubbs

Of course, he's not exactly the sort of chappie I'd choose to go into the jungle with, but I much admire his emphasis upon discipline and his readiness in moments of crisis to sacrifice large numbers of his own men.

Your space or mine?

Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, will be giving evidence to Dr Jennifer Parkin of Nottingham Trent University, who is carrying out research on workspaces.

He told The Poppletonian that he agreed with Dr Parkin's contention that open-plan offices encouraged collaboration. "Before we introduced our vast new underheated open-plan offices, academics frequently failed to communicate at all with their colleagues going forward. But now, with the new spatial orientation, one can readily observe them engaged in active communication about the noise and volume of telephone calls, the alleged theft of private documents, the disturbing smell of adjacent packed lunches and the gratuitous addition of moustaches to photographs of loved ones."

Targett admitted that last week's outbreak of hand-to-hand wrestling in A Block over whose turn it was to fill the printer was unfortunate, but he insisted that otherwise one could only be delighted with "the enhanced collegial environment".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

I know it's a little naughty to take sides, but with all the talk in the papers about Mr Dawkins and Mr Darwin I couldn't resist this little apercu. Hope you like it.

In the indifferent eyes of nature only the fit survive. On the other hand, God favours whoever He sees fit.

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