Parklife - Parklife!

January 31, 2013

We are delighted to report that our university will shortly be opening its very own “social science park” in the left-hand corner of the field behind the cooling tower.

Announcing the news, our Head of Sociology, Professor David “Little” Giddings, pointed out that the development of such “social science parks” had been one of the 13 predictions for 2013 recently made by Nesta, the “foundation for innovation”.

Although plans were still “being formalised”, Professor Giddings was able to confirm that among the park’s attractions would be a 50ft-high Durkheim Suicide Cliff, which would enable volunteer academics to reflect upon the social reasons behind their decision as they threw themselves forward from its brink.

Plans were also well in hand for the construction of a Vulgar Marxist House in which the division between the foundations (base) and the roof (superstructure) would be sufficiently evident to allow visitors to conclude that the superstructure was, as in standard vulgar Marxist formulations, entirely dependent upon the base.

As a final treat, visitors would be invited to reflect upon the degree to which they had become cogs in a bureaucratic machine by taking their turn to sit for several hours inside a specially designed Weberian Iron Cage of Rationality.

Admission to the park would be free, but Professor Giddings said that he hoped to recoup some of the start-up costs by placing a Social Capital collecting box near the entrance to the site.

Surrey with the marks on top

Dr K.T. Rounding Upwards, Poppleton’s leading authority on examination mark readjustment, has criticised the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law for its decision not to “normalise” the marks on its LLB law course.

Dr Upwards told The Poppletonian that he had studied the minutes of the Surrey meeting at which the proposal to normalise had been defeated.

“It is clear to me”, he said, “that members of the faculty had failed to realise the critical role of ‘normalisation’ in enabling UK universities to achieve uniformly high standards. Where on earth would Poppleton be in the league tables without a bit of good old normalisation?”

This did not, of course, mean that normalisation always meant adding on a few marks and upping the odd grade. As was stated at the Surrey meeting by David Allen, the faculty’s dean, normalisation is “a standard process” that does not involve “inflating or massaging marks”.

The fact that the normalisation of the Surrey marks would have meant that the one-in-five failure rate in one module would fall to a mere one in 12 was, Dr Upwards added, “neither here nor there”.

Humbly yours

One of our leading pro vice-chancellors, Dr Janet Balsam, has professed herself “profoundly disappointed” upon learning that Bob Allison, the new vice-chancellor of Loughborough University, didn’t even know during his early years as an academic that pro vice-chancellors existed, let alone having any “concept of what those roles were”.

“I do find it slightly disturbing that such an obviously perceptive person did not recognise the pro vice-chancellors on his campus from their characteristically stooped stance, constantly nodding heads and readiness at all times to use their oral skills in the service of the vice- chancellor,” she lamented.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Here’s a clever little reminder of the way those social networking sites can help to bring us all closer together:

“Great groups from little icons grow.”

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