To a professor are you a professor?

August 2, 2012

"We do currently have more professors than you could shake a stick at," admitted Louise Bimpson, our Corporate Director of HR, when confronted with news of the ever-growing number of professors in UK universities.

Ms Bimpson said that while she had read the account of this growth given in Times Higher Education by Stephen Court, senior research fellow at the University and College Union, she thought that Mr Court had rather neglected the fact that the increase was largely occasioned by "additions to the traditional role". She instanced the following "essential distinctions" between currently serving Poppleton professors:

Full and Proper Professors: These increasingly rare professors had achieved their position by displaying continuous excellence in an academic discipline over a large number of years

Sort-of Professors: These former middle-range teachers at Poppleton Polytechnic achieved their professorial promotion only when the poly became the present university and the former Staff Room was redesignated as a "Senior Common Room"

Buy-in Professors: Members of this highly paid group were appointed only to bolster the university's REF submission and have never yet set foot on campus

Pseudo-Professors: A relatively small group of managers who decided to call themselves "professors" in the vain hope of acquiring some additional status

Give-as-much-as-you-can Professors: These "honorary professors" are "honoured" only in the expectation that they will eventually cough up a few thousand quid towards the new administrative block

At-last Professors: This group is entirely composed of academics who have simply been around too long for anyone to come up with yet another good reason for denying them the promotion they hardly deserve.

Ms Bimpson said she hoped that this clarified the situation.

MIssion group impossible

Our Deputy Head of Brand Management, Georgina Edsel, has admitted to having "every sympathy" with Alex Bols, the executive director of the 1994 Group, who believes that a new name is needed for the university mission group.

Ms Edsel said that clearly some rebranding was necessary to "stem the current leakage" of members to the Russell Group and to distance the 1994 Group from such potential rivals as the University Alliance (Division Two), Million+ (Division Three) and GuildHE (Blue Circle League).

She believed that what was required was a name that simultaneously combined a sense of permanent aspiration with a dull recognition of the strong likelihood of failure.

In this respect, she thought it "a pity" that the brand name West Ham United had already been taken.

Massive QAA shock

"What a surprise!"

That was the response of Ted Odgers, of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, to news that the Lords Science and Technology Committee has recently described the Quality Assurance Agency as not "fit for purpose" in guaranteeing standards because, in the words of one member, of its reliance upon "box-ticking".

Mr Odgers told The Poppletonian that what made this assessment so "truly extraordinary" was that it was a view that had been held by perceptive analysts for the entire 15 years of the QAA's existence. It was "truly beyond belief" that only now had the House of Lords contrived to reach the same conclusion.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

In the spirit of the times, we have devised a number of events with an Olympic flavour. This week's session will cater for all members of staff who have recently been informed by HR that they are shortly for the long jump.

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