Statistics showing that Poppleton had come last in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey have been dismissed as "unreliable, invalid, partial, misleading and seriously out-of-date" by our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett.
According to the survey weightings, Poppleton students found staff unhelpful and uninterested (4.2), enjoyed a poor social and community life (3.5), low-quality campus facilities (4.1), a third-rate student union (3.7), inadequate welfare support (4.6), poor campus security (3.7), a lousy library (2.8) and virtually no sports facilities (1.9).
Targett claimed that these scores failed to make any allowance for the quality of student intake. "Here at Poppleton," he told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), "we remain strategically focused upon the widening-participation imperative. Recruiting from such a wide base inevitably means that we accept more than the average number of half-hearted miserable ill-motivated students. It is therefore hardly surprising to find such a predominance of negative orientations in the survey sample."
He went on to regret the survey's failure to include a value-added dimension. "Our internal polling suggests that some of our most miserable first-years buck up as they near the end of their course."
Keep on keeping on!
The news that the College of Interactive Arts, India, had the world's youngest lecturer, eight-year-old Aman Reman, was eclipsed by Poppleton's announcement that it employs the world's oldest professor.
Dr Douglas Hakesworth, of the Department of Cultural and Media Studies, took early retirement at the age of 65 in 1978 but has subsequently held 43 temporary positions.
Now aged 95, Professor Hakesworth said he still had a part to play. "I need to remind myself that my students are too young to remember Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley and Jean Harlow, but they do benefit from having a lecturer whose courses on multi-platform media development encompass listening to audio output on a crystal set."
Professor Hakesworth ascribed his longevity to modest drinking, mental workouts and a lifelong commitment to sexual excess.
How much stress?
A campus-wide debate has broken out over the amount of stress currently endured by academic staff at Poppleton.
According to Louise Bimpson, our Corporate Director of Human Resources, more than 86 per cent of staff show signs of stress, ranging from "severe anxiety" to "thoughts of self-destruction".
But last week our Vice-Chancellor pointed out that there had been no noticeable stress reported on campus before the commencement of the now regular stress workshops, the appointment of 14 stress counsellors and the appearance of "Are You Stressed?" posters on departmental noticeboards.
As a first step to combating "this unreasonable stress on stress", the Vice-Chancellor announced that the posters would be replaced by a new set bearing the legend "For God's sake, pull yourself together".
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Only yesterday I saw the first daffodil of the year bravely poking its yellow head above the acres of frozen slush in the Science Park. I hope that this little inspirational saying encourages all of us to poke forward a little more:
Joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.