Work less: save more

March 11, 2010

Proposals by the University of Sheffield that academics adopt a shorter working week have been enthusiastically endorsed by our vice-chancellor.

He told our reporter Keith Ponting (45 hours) that savings of £50 million a year could be effected if all staff moved to a three-days-a-week pattern. If this were coupled with a freeze on pay awards and substantially more unpaid sabbaticals, the savings would rise to £73 million.

If this were also accompanied by a campus tax on the salaries of academics in "low-impact" disciplines and a trebling of car parking charges, this would increase to £89 million.

If this were further accompanied by a poll tax based on the number of windows in academic staff rooms and the quality of view they offer, the total would climb to £94 million.

However, the vice-chancellor denied the "scurrilous" rumours that he was contemplating the introduction of a tax on baldness.

I'm better than you - so there!

"Groundbreaking." That was the word used by Poppleton psychologist Dr Fritz Itzig to describe research by psychologists at the universities of Exeter, Loughborough and Leeds showing that academics rated the quality of a journal more favourably "when they had published papers in that journal, were a member of the journal's editorial board, and when the journal reflected their own interests".

Dr Itzig said the results very much complemented his own finding that academics were statistically more likely to regard their own work above that carried out by colleagues. He attributed this to what psychologists call the "Up yours, Jack" phenomenon. However, he believed psychologists were still at an early stage in establishing people's preferences for themselves and that "more research was needed".

Your letters

What is the future of our university? What are our essential values? This is the place to have your say on what really matters.

Dear Sir

I must protest about the financial advantages offered to those who take out a year's car parking pass. Surely in these environmentally conscious days there should be a surcharge for those who intend to use their cars throughout the year?

I prefer to sign myself

Proud Cyclist

Dear Sir

I'm a full professor but my car parking space is 3ft smaller than that enjoyed by the Deputy Finance Officer.

I prefer to sign myself

Size Matters

Dear Sir

Why not make it mandatory for all car parkers to reverse into their space? This would greatly increase the speed with which staff could leave the university at the day's end.

I prefer to sign myself

Happy To Go In Backwards

Women on the March

In celebration of International Women's Day, the vice-chancellor will be taking the salute at a march past of all women holding senior academic posts within this university.

Venue: The Forecourt of the Administration Block

Date: Thursday 11 March

Time: 11.45am to 11.47am

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

"All those staff interested in attending this week's 'Is your glass half full or half empty?' seminar are reminded that they should bring along their own glasses."

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