A cheering crowd gathered outside the main administrative block this morning as the news came through that our university had leapt 123 places up the research league table in this year's research assessment exercise.
After staff had repeatedly chanted his name, the vice-chancellor appeared on the balcony to acknowledge the excited multitude and declare that he was "dead chuffed" with the university's showing. "This result," he declared to repeated whoops of delight, "is a testament to the research prowess of our academic staff and to the hard work our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has put into the compilation of a brand-new league of excellence that averages the research grades achieved by all those staff members submitted to the RAE."
Targett was equally ebullient. As the university pennant was raised on the Physics cooling tower and fireworks exploded over the Chemistry block, he told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that the result placed the university in "a whole new ballpark". But he warned against "complacency going forward". "Now that we have Cambridge, Imperial and Oxford in our research sights, there must be no backsliding."
He was also quick to deny the suggestion that the dramatic improvement in our league position was in any way related to the university's decision to submit only one researcher from each of its 24 departments. "What we have done," he told Ponting, "is successfully leverage our core competencies."
There was only one sad footnote to an otherwise glorious day when it was revealed that Maureen, the secretary in the Department of Cultural and Media Studies, had been rushed to hospital after collapsing with uncontrollable laughter.
Season's Greetings from the Department of Signage
It's been another stimulating year in Signage. In February we began the long and complex process of changing the colour of all university signage so as to make it compatible with the university's new heliotrope blue branding.
We've also been hard at work digging up the former Department of Philosophy signage and removing all the "Exit from Campus" signage as part of the university's ongoing plan to lower the student dropout rate.
We all look forward to new Signage challenges in the year ahead.
Season's Greetings from our reporter Keith Ponting (30)
Doesn't time fly! Just eight months ago I was still only 29 years old. But now I'm 30. Makes you think. Have a good one.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
We regret that Jennifer is indisposed this week following an unfortunate stretching accident at last week's Personal Growth seminar. Get well soon, Jennifer. Our "thoughts" are with you.
Season's Greetings from the Department of Alternative Medicine
Have a good one. And don't forget if you're feeling a little queasy after all that seasonal drinking, there's no more tried and trusted way to dispel a hangover than to blend two teaspoonfuls of toad's saliva with half an ounce of chopped mandrake root. Stir for two minutes and swallow in one. Cheers.