"They'll make our university a laughing stock."
That was the reaction of one of our senior administrators to the news that the last two remaining members of our Library staff had entered themselves in the Outstanding Library Team section of the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2012.
Speaking to The Poppletonian, Mr Les Onions, Head of our Fundraising Department and a member of the 28-strong team entered in the Outstanding University Fundraising Team category of the awards, claimed that "two people are simply not enough to constitute a team. You have only to look at our other award entries: the 226 members of our Outstanding Human Resources Team, or the 196 members of our Outstanding Leadership and Management Team or indeed the 143 members of our Outstanding Marketing/Communications Team."
Mr Onions also admitted to other worries about the Library team's entry. "In the present circumstances," he said, "it might well be offering a hostage to fortune to admit publicly that Poppleton still maintains anything so relatively non-instrumental to its strategic goals as a spatial facility almost entirely filled with nothing more than things other people have written."
Roll me over and do it again
Our vice-chancellor has taken exception to the claim by Sir Peter Scott, former vice-chancellor of Kingston University, that he enjoyed a conversation with "a very senior policy figure" who said that "ministers always know that they can get at least one or two vice-chancellors to agree with almost anything they suggest".
"I've never heard of Peter Scott or Kingston University," the vice-chancellor told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), "but what he says gives an entirely misleading impression of the average vice-chancellor's readiness to stand up and be counted. It ignores how members of Universities UK agonised for the best part of an hour before agreeing with every single aspect of the government's proposals on higher education.
"And", he added, "there are plenty of other instances. I can recall a recent UUK meeting that carefully deliberated the government's view that universities were made of blue cheese before concluding by a clear majority of two that this contention needed more consideration. This is hardly evidence of unthinking compliance."
'Lose your fear of change' - Targett
"The only alternative to change is death." That was how Jamie Targett, our thrusting Director of Corporate Affairs, responded to all those "cynics" who oppose the government's plans for higher education by citing statistical evidence from investment managers Skandia that they will lead over time to expenditure more than £2 billion above the current spending on universities.
"Such people", insisted Targett, "are absolutely typical of all those who are so unready to meet the challenge of change that they would rather stay in their own comfort-zone silos than move forwards in a strategic goal-oriented manner towards the bright uplands of disaster."
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Next week's staff seminar in 'The National Student Survey and You' course is titled 'Smiling at Students: Problems and Prospects'.