Whose risk is it anyway?

February 2, 2012

According to well-informed sources, a risk without any apparent owner was found wandering around our campus last week. Although reports vary, it appears that this risk would have achieved a "significant" impact classification on the university's risk-impact scale and a 34 per cent likelihood-of-occurrence mark on the university's risk-likelihood scale.

Our Deputy Head of Risk Assessment, Jocelyn Wager, attempted to allay anxieties by insisting that every conceivable university risk now had an owner and that it "would therefore not be too long before this risk was claimed". In the meantime, it would be housed in a special section of the Risk Workshop.

Ms Wager described our reporter's request for an estimate of "the risk of the unclaimed risk escaping" as "facetious".

'Wisdom is for toothbrushes' - Targett

"Fundamentally mistaken." That was how Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, described a top academic's recently declared views on the nature of research.

Targett told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that David Price, vice-provost for research at University College London, had been "living in the past" when he called on researchers to consider the importance of "wisdom" in their work. "I can't help but notice", Targett said, "that Professor Price defines 'wisdom' as 'the judicious application of knowledge for the good of humanity'. This is an unfortunate example of the type of abstract, head-in-the-clouds language that used to bedevil discussions of higher education before we moved to the brave new research world of metrically quantifiable impact-making REF submissions."

There was also a grave danger, continued Targett, that Professor Price's reference to "the good of humanity" could distract academics from their primary role of contributing to the economy.

"I must admit", he said, "that nowadays whenever I hear the word 'humanity' used by a serving academic, I find myself reaching for a restructuring option."

Bonjour, tout le monde

Our vice-chancellor has issued the following statement after reading the comments on language learning in universities given to a House of Lords inquiry by Tony Downes, the deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Reading.

"Je suis dans complet agréement avec Professeur Downes, le deputé vice-chancellor du Universite de Lisant, qui a stressé l'importance d'autres langages pour etudiants qui voulent d'improver leur travail prospects.

"Dans mon position elevé, je suis souvent demandé d'addresser beaucoup de conferences et seminars d'abord. J'ai toujours trouvé que mon abilité de converser et faiser l'occasionelle remarque comique a me donné un avantage distinctif surtout autres administrateurs des universités."

(Mrs Dilworth. Please check before releasing.)

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Next week's seminar in our New Year, New You series is titled 'Speaking the Truth to Obesity'. Specially recommended for big fat people.


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