Our vice-chancellor's on the job - official

January 27, 2011

"Not our vice-chancellor." That was the forthright response of Ted Odgers to the assertion by Tim Wilson, the outgoing vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, that "a vice-chancellor's job these days is 24-7".

Odgers, who is currently a member of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, claimed in an unauthorised email that his own careful analysis of our vice-chancellor's workload came up with a figure nearer to 5-2.

But our vice-chancellor has hit back by pointing out that Odgers' estimate totally fails to recognise the amount of time and effort he devotes to his post. He instanced such recent requirements of office as:

Rolling Over. Although on the face of it this involved little more than complete public acquiescence with the conclusions of the Browne report, our vice-chancellor complained that this failed to take into account the sheer number of times that he'd been required to roll over and the complementary need to accompany each roll with a carefully executed volte-face.

Sucking Up. Although attending meetings of UUK and going along with the opinions of its Russell Group members was not "excessively time-consuming", Odgers failed to recognise that it also involved such additional skills as continual nods of approval and repetitive acts of simpering compliance.

More impact - less evidence

Our Head of Research Impact, Gerald Thudd, has issued a helpful guide to all those who may wish to understand the results of the Higher Education Funding Council for England's recent pilot impact assessment exercise.

In his guide, Thudd points out that Hefce's case-based exercise was intended to show whether or not the idea of impact was "workable". Although the results showed that a number of top research departments had performed poorly on impact in this exercise, this in no way suggested the "unworkability" of "impact" as Hefce had also helpfully pointed out in its introduction to the report that the results of the survey into the workability of impact "should NOT be read as a clear judgement about the impact of research".

In Mr Thudd's view this was thoroughly consonant with Hefce's decision to hold back the results of its inquiry into the workability of impact because of the council's stated belief that they were "not relevant" to the general conclusion that a case study-based approach to assessing impact was "workable".

All together now

Our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has denied that the recent decision to rehouse all our existing humanities departments in the building formerly occupied by the Logo Development Directorate in any way amounted to "kettling".

He agreed that the occupants of the building would not be allowed to leave and mix with members of other faculties during daylight hours but argued that this was nothing more than official recognition of the newly accepted view that "humanity had little part to play in the modern university going forward".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"As I've already explained over and over again, next week's seminar on emotional intelligence is cancelled. Now, will you shut up and stop moaning about it?"


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