Laurie Taylor – 4 June 2015

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

June 4, 2015
Bullfighter pushing stuffed bull's head on bicycle wheel
Source: Alamy
Unsettling students: a new approach

Settle down now!

“Dr Banaji’s ideas are simply not compatible with our distinctive learning environment.”

That was the reaction of Nancy Harbinger, our Deputy Head of Student Experience, to the suggestion from Dr Shakuntala Banaji, lecturer and programme director of the MSc in media, communications and development at the London School of Economics, that “unsettling students” was a valuable teaching method.

“Let’s face it,” added Ms Harbinger, “the last thing we want to see at Poppleton are unsettled students. Good heavens, they might become so unsettled as to imagine what life might be like at a proper university.”

But Ms Harbinger reserved her harshest criticism for Dr Banaji’s further argument that her methods helped students “with very differing views to communicate with each other”. It was, said Ms Harbinger, difficult to see how this approach might work in a 50-minute seminar at Poppleton “where students were traditionally bound by an implicit vow of silence”.

However, Ms Harbinger declined to criticise Dr Banaji’s commitment to “denaturalise” the students’ subject knowledge by “democratising the canon and then deconstructing it”.

She said that she had no objection to this approach “just so long as it could readily be accomplished by an underpaid graduate assistant who had only been able to skim-read the canon the night before”.

Where the sun shines brighter!

Louise Bimpson, our Corporate Director of Human Resources, has insisted that it was “only natural” to ask all academic staff to complete a holiday form.

She dismissed as “nonsense” the recent assertion by Rebecca Boden, professor of critical management at the University of Roehampton, that such forms were indicative of excessive managerialism and a lack of trust in academics’ ability to take reasonable holidays of their own accord.

Poppleton’s holiday form was, Ms Bimpson insisted, “positively minimalist” compared with most of the daily forms issued by management. As proof of her contention, she proceeded to post online a “typical completed form”:

The Poppletonian completed form (4 June 2015)

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

A qualified relationship counsellor will be available in the Development Suite all this week to deal with problems that may arise between co-markers for this year’s final examinations. We trust this initiative will ensure there is no recurrence of last year’s tragic double shooting involving the two co-markers on the Conflict Resolution module. Apply in the usual manner, marking your application: “Borderline First? My Ass!”

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