'Of' is off - official

October 18, 2012

"This really is the big one!"

That was how Roger Placement, our Deputy Director of Logo Development, described the fundamental shift in university nomenclature that will be introduced to all our branding material from next term. This dramatic development requires nothing less than the complete removal of the word "of" from our time-honoured "University of Poppleton" designation.

When questioned by our reporter Keith Ponting (30), Mr Placement admitted that the "of" decision had been "highly contentious". There had been those on the Branding Committee who had argued strongly that the "of" of the existing title lent dignity to our institution in much the same way that it added gravitas to such other institutions as the Church of England. However, others had been quick to point out that "of" also carried negative connotations in such popular formulations as "nest of vipers", "bag of spanners" and "load of bollocks".

In the end, the matter had been settled by what Mr Placement, in tacit acknowledgement of the new ordinance, described as a "hand show".

Making an impact on impact

"It sounds like a nasty case of defeatism."

That was the no-holds-barred response of Gerald Thudd, our Head of Research Impact, to the recent assertion by Philip Moriarty, professor of physics at the University of Nottingham, that he found it "utterly depressing" to learn that the university sector was spending millions of pounds on hiring extra staff to handle the impact element of the research excellence framework.

In Professor Moriarty's view, this was no more than an exercise in fine-tuning the arguments for "an entirely flawed metric".

Mr Thudd was happy to confirm that Poppleton, in common with at least 36 other UK universities, had taken on new staff to help write up impact case studies.

However, he utterly rejected the notion that his decision to appoint four novelists, two playwrights and one compulsive liar to these new posts constituted any evidence at all for Professor Moriarty's further assertion that "universities were falling over themselves" to maximise their impact scores.

Kant help loving that job of mine

One of our leading philosophers, Dr D.W. Dingbat, has vigorously criticised one of the central tenets of a new book by Joanna Williams of the University of Kent.

Dr Dingbat said that although he had not yet read Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can't Be Bought, he had noted with "alarm" that Dr Williams had no time for "specialised academics such as philosophers trying to teach employability skills".

This "wholly negative view", said Dr Dingbat, was difficult to reconcile with the "great success" he had himself enjoyed with such courses as Team-playing the Hegelian Way, Nietzsche and Effective Leadership, and Improve Your Interpersonal Skills with Soren Kierkegaard.

He was now looking forward to receiving Dr Williams' apology.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"Some of us dance because we like the music. The rest of us are dodging the falling debris."

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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