Principals for hire

March 29, 2012

News that the University of Warwick and Queen Mary, University of London are to share lecturers has prompted an exciting new experiment in collaboration by our own university.

In what Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, tersely described as "a cutting-edge, multifaceted, collaborative initiative going forward", it has been announced that our very own vice-chancellor is to be made available for sharing with other universities.

Targett said the idea had been prompted by the realisation that not every UK vice-chancellor enjoyed the same "portfolio skill set" and that mutual benefits would therefore inevitably accrue from such a sharing opportunity.

Our own vice-chancellor, maintained Targett, would be quite "a collaborative catch" for any university in need of a leader who delegated every difficult decision to someone else, drank too heavily at public events, constantly renewed the university's mission statement, displayed the leadership qualities of a born follower, enjoyed excessive pay and pension rights and who, in spite of being in supposed charge of a third-rate university, had quite unrealistic hopes of one day finding that the Russell Group was "a more natural fit". (Sir Steve Smith, op. cit.)

Although Targett admitted that there had so far been no enquiries at all about sharing our vice-chancellor, he could confirm that he was in receipt of communications from 35 other universities that felt that the removal of their own vice-chancellor for an extended period of time could only be described as "verging on the miraculous".

Thought for the week

Please note that the instructional comparative film to be shown at next week's intercultural academics seminar is "Six Dons of Bangkok" and not, as circulated, "Sex Dens of Bangkok". (We understand that this error currently accounts for the seminar's serious oversubscription.)

The Russell of spring

"Sounds awfully like sour grapes to me." That was the unequivocal reaction of our Head of Outreach Programmes, Mr Ned Kelly, to the objections voiced by the Million+ university group to the government Dux scheme, which rewards top state-school pupils with an all-expenses paid trip for them and a teacher to a Russell Group institution.

Mr Kelly said he had "no sympathy at all" with the argument from Pam Tatlow, chief executive of Million+, that it was wrong for the government to devote extra funds solely to wealthy Russell Group universities when such institutions had already pledged to do outreach at their own expense.

The unfortunate but sad truth of the matter, said Mr Kelly, was that government money enjoyed "a more natural fit" with Russell Group universities than with other less financially well-endowed institutions. (Sir Steve Smith, op. cit.)

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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