As we reach this momentous moment, many of you (although by no means all of you) can look back upon 2008 with a real sense of pride. It was a year in which the RAE results confirmed Poppleton's unique position as the leading university in this part of the world, a year in which we were voted "The University with Most Opportunity for Improvement" in the Times Higher Education Awards, a year in which (Mrs Dilworth - add in another achievement).
We now look forward to 2009 with raised spirits, charged batteries, a good head of steam, a tankful of fuel and a well-packed lunch.
Always remember. If we do twice as well in 2009 as we did in 2008, then we will be doing more than four times as well as we did in 2007, when we did only half as well as the year before (Mrs Dilworth - check maths).
A happy and prosperous (within the university's new pay guidelines) new year to all of you.
The Vice-Chancellor (signed in his absence by Mrs Dilworth)
Welcome to a new column in which our popular Head of Personal Development, Jennifer Doubleday, will deal with your personal problems.
Only last week I discovered that my name was not on the list of university researchers submitted for the recent research assessment exercise. My Head of Department explained that I had been "included out" for strategic reasons. Since receiving that news, I have suffered from constant headaches, drooping spirits and a recurrent feeling that I want to end it all. Please help.
(Name omitted for strategic reasons)
Dear Name Omitted
Isn't there just a teeny crumb of comfort in the knowledge that you share your suicidal predilections with the 943 fellow university researchers whose names were also included out? After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
It might also help to remember those even less fortunate than yourself. Not only the starving millions in Africa but those nearer home currently known as "teaching only".
(To assist your "drooping spirits" I'm also sending you under plain cover the name of a helpful Canadian pharmacy.)
I was thinking of submitting myself for an award in the forthcoming Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards. But I'm not sure whether or not I would qualify. Can you help?
Prof. G. L. (Media Studies)
Dear Prof. G. L.
I don't want to discourage you, but the general rule in this area is that if you're uncertain as to whether or not you're a leader then you're probably not one. I hope this helps.
Are you good at persuading other people to drop names? Then this could be the post for you.
In anticipation of the forthcoming REF (research excellence framework), we are looking for someone who can increase our research citation count.
The successful candidate will be required to solicit citations of Poppleton research from a wide range of academics in return for reciprocal citations.(2)
Preference will be given to candidates who already enjoy a high citation count. Applications should be sent, citing three referees with high citation counts, to Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Affairs.(3)
1. Elk and Cussins. Managing Citations. Journal of Citation Research. Vol 7. 2006
2. Marcel Mauss. The Gift. 1923
3. Targett, J. Directing Corporate Affairs. Journal of Corporate Direction. Vol 16. 2008.