Truly, madly, deeply

March 27, 2014

All University Staff

The Office of Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Affairs

At last week’s meeting of the University Marketing and Branding Committee, concern was expressed at the overuse of certain positive terms in the university’s publicity material.

It seems that over 90 per cent of our individual undergraduate courses are described in the prospectus as either “exciting” or “innovative”, while three-quarters of all our staff recruitment literature refers to the university as “outstanding” or “cutting edge” or “shaping tomorrow’s world”.

According to our brand consultants – Hovis, Twining and Shippam – there is a real danger that these terms might lose their potency through such overuse.

It was therefore decided to restrict usage through the establishment of an Evaluative Word Resource (EWR). From now on, all those who wish to describe any aspect of the university are required to apply to the EWR for their words and to pay the appropriate usage fee.

Here is the verbal stock currently held by the EWR, together with an up to the moment price guide.

The following single terms are available at just £2 each:
Exciting. Innovative. Exceptional. Unique. Dynamic. Outstanding. Visionary. Vibrant. Proactive. World-Class. Progressive. Cosmopolitan.


Club Class
Select any one of the following combinations or compile your own two-term combination for £3:
Exciting and innovative. Exceptional and unique. Dynamic and outstanding. Visionary and vibrant. Proactive and world-class. Progressive and cosmopolitan.


Premier Class
Select any of the following triple combinations or compile your own three-term combination for £5:
Exciting, innovative and exceptional. Unique, dynamic and outstanding. Visionary, vibrant and proactive. World-class, progressive and cosmopolitan.


Bargain Basement
The following “nearly new” terms are available for £1.50 each (while stocks last):
A beacon for creativity. Growth-oriented. Internationally recognised. Hub (any sort). Enviable reputation. Global footprint. Genuine passion. Looking forward with confidence. Investing in the future. Passionate about knowledge.


Say goodbye, Mr Chips

On the face of it, the news that more than 90 per cent of all teaching in this university is carried out by zero-hours contracted staff who earn £12 an hour for a teaching stint that includes preparation, administration and marking, might suggest that Poppleton is failing in its responsibility towards its students.

But this view is forcibly rejected by our Corporate Director of Human Resources, Louise Bimpson. “What you are seeing here at Poppleton”, she told our reporter Keith Ponting (30), “is a vision of a brave new world in which teaching becomes only a marginal aspect of higher education. Who wants to strain their voice and get their clothes covered in chalk when they could be sitting pretty in the clean, bright, wonderfully rewarded uplands of research?”

But surely university teaching was not a task but a vocation? Ms Bimpson was dismissive. “What is teaching but the regurgitation of chewed-up knowledge? What is teaching but the asking of questions to which the teacher already knows the answer? If you can, do REF research. If you can’t, teach.”

However, Ms Bimpson declined to say whether there was any truth in the rumour that the ever-diminishing significance of teaching in our university would be marked in future by the requirement that all “teaching-only” staff manifest their second-rate status by wearing down-at-heel clothes, walking with a pronounced stoop and carrying a small begging bowl.


Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development) A little thought for those currently lacking in personal confidence:

“All my academic life I wanted to be someone: I suppose I should have been more specific.”

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