The great professorial bulge

July 24, 2008

Our university faced mounting criticism last week when it emerged that more than 42 per cent of its academic staff now enjoyed the title of "professor". Although admitting that this was "somewhat in excess" of the national average of 10 per cent, Jamie Targett, our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, insisted that it was further evidence of excellence. "What we are talking about," he told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), "is old-fashioned institutional jealousy. No one would object to a university having too many Nobel prizewinners."

Staff on campus agreed. Professor Cummings (History) felt that the concerns were overdone, as did Professors Tome, Hudson, Harbinger, Noakes (English) and Professors Gult, Frith, Tomelty, Grint, Lovebird, Hake and Torwill (Social Studies). More support was forthcoming from Professors Dint, Somerville, Sweeney and Tipping (Botany) and Professors Winkle, Jakes, Doremey, Vance and Holsten (Alternative Medicine).

A dissenting voice came from Mr Ted Odgers (Media and Cultural Studies), who told Ponting he was proud of his "rank-and-file title". "Everyone knows where they are with a mister," he said. "Some of these professors are such upstarts that they spell their title with two f's."

Mr Targett told our reporter there was no truth in the rumour that Poppleton would be introducing a category of "starred professor".

BUSY NUMBER

We have been asked to point out that the annual breakdown of the university's switchboard during Clearing Week will take place this year between 9.00am and 6.30pm on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 August.

RUMOUR DENIED

Some unfortunate rumours about our Vice-Chancellor were circulating on campus earlier this week. According to these stories, the Vice-Chancellor had been "mysteriously" suspended and gone on "indefinite leave". We can now confirm that the Vice-Chancellor is still as much in office as he ever was and that the phrase "indefinite leave" was merely a reference to his traditional summer break. We are happy to set the record straight.

CORRECTION

In last week's Poppletonian we included Professor G. Lapping in a list of those academics who had hit their performance targets for last term. This was an error. We are now informed that although Professor Lapping did indeed hit the target, he was subsequently disqualified for failing to start with a double.

IS THIS A DAGGER?

From this autumn Poppleton will be introducing a brand new MSc course in Stabbing. Janet Fluellen, our Director of Curriculum Development, declared that the new course was yet another example of the university's readiness "to respond to urgent and pressing issues of the day going forward". She confirmed that the director of the new programme would be Professor Dick Vaulting, who headed up such previous university MSc courses as Satanic Child Abuse (2005), Suicide in Wales (2008) and Killer Cannabis (1934).

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

(contributed by Jenifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Although I have some reservations about fully fledged Zen Buddhism, I think this relaxing thought takes takes us nicely forward towards the annual period of statutory leave

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

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