Swine fervour

July 9, 2009

"Seriously misleading." That was the forthright reaction of Gus Middlewhite, course convenor on our BA in Pork Products, to a new paper on marketisation in higher education.

According to the paper - written by three members of Bournemouth University's Media School - there is a danger that universities offering vocational degrees as a route into industry will be "reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them".

"This is certainly not the case in my department," declared Mr Middlewhite. "Obviously, in a course sponsored by Poppleton Pork Products and devoted to an understanding of pork products, there will be a strong emphasis upon the well-established excellence of pies and sausages made by Poppleton Pork Products. But students are made aware that other pie and sausage options are also available, although some of these may contain traces of gristle."

Mr Middlewhite also denied the report's suggestion that such vocational courses failed "to question market values". "Only last week," he told The Poppletonian, "our second-year theory course students were busy considering how it was possible to charge £1.50 for a small pork pie when a large pork pie (containing the equivalent meat, cereal and slurry content of six small pork pies) would sell for only £6.50. If that isn't questioning market values, then I don't know what is."

(Please note that the course guide Your Future in Pies and Sausages is now available. Write to The Pork Secretary, Pork Inquiries, Poppleton Pork Products Building, University of Poppleton. Mark your envelope "Pork".)

Seconds out!

"A brilliant solution!" That was the reaction of Georgina Sprightly, our Assistant Head of Human Resources, to the pioneering use of "sandpit workshops" by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Although the EPSRC uses such workshops to bring together researchers from different areas to discuss how to divide a £1m research kitty, Ms Sprightly envisages using a similar path to decide between candidates for promotion within this university.

As with the sandpit process, candidates would try to reach agreement by debate, but in the event of continuing conflict, matters would be resolved by bouts of hand-to-hand combat with "facilitators ensuring that the competitive element was contained". Ms Sprightly said that in today's don-eat-don world it was more important than ever that senior staff should have a proven record of success in unarmed combat.

Home visits

From Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Affairs

As you will know from my recent email, Poppleton is implementing the Liverpool Hope University policy of requiring all academic staff to spend the full 35 hours of their working week on campus unless formal permission is obtained for absence. The following permissions were granted in the week ending 4 July:

Dr Janet Calyx (Botany for Business)

Off-campus time: Four hours

Reason for absence: Birth of first child

Dr Karel Reefe (Geography for Business)

Off-campus time: Thirty-five minutes

Reason for absence: Father's cremation

Dr Piercemuller (Media and Cultural Studies)

Off-campus time: One day

Reason for absence: Dispelling plague of locusts

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Why not start a gratitude journal today? Each evening write down a few things about this university for which you are grateful. (Current top score is held by Dr Quintock with two.)

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