V-C's triumphant visit to 'pocket of excellence'

January 29, 2009

Yesterday morning, our Vice-Chancellor braved the heavy rain and buffeting wind to lead a group of interested journalists across the campus to view the now-famous Poppleton "pocket of excellence".

Pushing aside the undergrowth that surrounds the entrance to the former Philosophy Department, the Vice-Chancellor led his intrepid team down musty, cobwebbed corridors to a small, almost-concealed doorway. Here, the group paused while the V-C invited its members to take turns looking through the small window at Dr Phyllis Golightly, the academic whose ground-breaking research on Lockean Empiricism attracted a 4* internationally excellent rating from the RAE panel.

As the journalists pressed their faces to the glass, the V-C pointed out that here was "living evidence" of the capacity of previously underrated and overlooked universities such as Poppleton "to contribute to the post-recession knowledge-based economy".

Warming to his theme, he declared that Poppleton's "pocket of excellence" was also "one in the eye and indeed one up the jacksie for all those self-satisfied Russell Group elitist fat cats who'd previously hogged the research funding". "Let us hope", he added, "that the RAE will now put its money where it put its stars."

Would you like to visit Poppleton's new source of pride? Trips to Dr Golightly's office will be leaving the new Administrative Block on the hour every day for the next fortnight. Mark your application "pocket of excellence".

Correction

This newsletter recently published a list of the 47 types of behaviour that might constitute evidence of harassment or bullying. We are now informed by the Office of Human Resources that the list inadvertently omitted five other types. These are listed below. Would you please make the appropriate additions to your existing lists

1. Any seriously derogatory remarks about the home (or away) performance of a colleague's favoured football team

2. Any deliberate and repetitive placement of publishers' handouts in a colleague's pigeonhole

3. Any persistent and unauthorised use of a colleague's favourite coffee mug

4. Any attempts to disfigure or obliterate the appellations 'Doctor' or 'Professor' on a colleague's door sign

5. Any persistent attempts to race a less mobile colleague to the last place in the bicycle rack.

I've already given

New evidence that the UK higher education sector's employment of more than 700 fundraising staff has not affected the proportion of alumni donating to their alma mater, was welcomed by Damian Swavely, head of our 35-person fundraising team.

He told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that this result vindicated Poppleton's highly resourced fundraising. "Just imagine what the result might have been like if my staff had not been there to maintain the level of giving by ex-students at the same level it was at before they were employed."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Someone we've never heard of has just been appointed Shadow Minister for Higher Education. But let's nevertheless wish David Evenett (please check spelling) all the best for the future. As this little saying reminds us, we all have to begin somewhere.

You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

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