"Bring them all on." That was the bellicose reaction of our Vice-Chancellor to last week's announcement by Universities Secretary John Denham that areas of England are interested in establishing new universities.
Neither was he concerned that six of these proposed new university sites - West Outhwaite, Flixton Mallett, Nidder-on-the-Water, Great Tootling, Stumpington-le-Hole and Lower Scrampston - were within 50 miles of the Poppleton campus.
"Poppleton has been unfairly languishing near the bottom of every university league table for far too long," he told a hastily convened press conference in the atrium of the new Management Centre. "This exciting new development will give us a real chance of improving our standing in every one of these tables by merely standing still."
Greg Overleaf, the current Chairperson of the University Forms Committee, has asked us to print the following warning to academic staff.
"It has come to my committee's attention that a number of university staff have taken to completing wholly new university forms by digitally transposing details from previously completed university forms. Please note that all new university forms must be completed qua new forms and not as versions of previous university forms. Failure to comply with this injunction could lead to an unfortunate loss of confidence in the entire area of form-filling going forward."
We have contact
According to a new survey by the National Union of Students, 75 per cent of students are satisfied with the number of contact hours they get from lecturers. However, informal sampling suggests satisfaction levels may be even higher at Poppleton.
Our Deputy Head of Contact Hours, Mr James Beavis, claims that this exciting result can be directly attributed to university policy. "We've noticed a significant correlation between satisfaction ratings and contact hours," he told The Poppletonian. "The less time students spend with lecturers, the happier they seem to be. Some say they now have so few contact hours that they can lead a full social and working life outside the university. We believe that such extramural opportunities can only contribute to their development as fully rounded human beings."
What's in a name?
Our Deputy Head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, has welcomed the recent finding from Philip Frame of Middlesex University Business School that most academics prefer students to address them by their first name as "it promotes dialogue without barriers".
However, she cautioned against the development of overfamiliarity with university staff. "I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that the constant reference to our university chaplain as the 'Mad Mullah' detracts from the ecumenical aspect of his role, or who feels that the repetitive references to the Head of Modern Music Studies as 'Slap Daddy' fails to do justice to the width of the departmental curriculum."
When asked about the current administrative staff nickname for the Vice-Chancellor, Ms Harbinger insisted that "Fat Bastard" was a well-recognised term of endearment.
Thought for the Week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
I don't know about you, but I thought that the recent televisual success of John Sergeant provided a great deal of comfort to those of us on campus who are less physically favoured. This is for them.
Ugliness is in a way superior to beauty because it lasts