A matter of form

May 28, 2015
Worried businessman carrying paperwork
Something for the weekend, Sir?

Our Deputy Head of Form Completion, Mr Ian Cage, has responded forcefully to the suggestion by Eliane Glaser, senior lecturer in English and creative writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, that much of the administrative form-filling currently required from academic staff might be meaningless.

Mr Cage said that he had not yet studied the survey on which Dr Glaser based her Times Higher Education article, but he had immediately sought to check her results by asking all academic staff to complete the following form-filling form. (Time allowed: one hour.)

1. Thinking very carefully about your future at Poppleton University, how would you describe your attitude to form-filling?

a. Agree
b. Disagree
c. I’m sorry, but could you repeat the question?

 2. If you answered ‘yes’ to Question 7, please now go straight to Question 14 in Section B.

 3. Why does the word “monosyllabic” have five syllables?(Use both sides of the paper.)

 4. Write brief notes on any three of the following:

a. Mother Teresa
b. The QAA’s commitment to transparency
c. The University of Warwick’s disciplinary procedures

5. Have you ever suffered from any of the following conditions after extended form-filling?

a. Writer’s cramp
b. Ennui
c. A desire to self-mutilate

 6. Have you ever thought what you might do with your life at this university if there were no more administrative forms to complete?

a. Not really
b. Not really
c. How do you mean ‘life’?

Although he was still awaiting the final analysis, Mr Cage said that the preliminary results of his own survey showed quite clearly that contemporary academics not only enjoyed filling in forms but no longer had any very clear idea of how they ever filled their time before filling it with form-filling. He hoped that this clarified the situation.

Literally red with anger

Woman licking her finger
Tastes good like a slogan should

“They’re displaying a basic misunderstanding of the central tenets of Branding philosophy.”

That was how our very own Deputy Head of Corporate Branding, Christine Hovis, angrily rounded on academic critics of the University of Western Australia’s new slogan “Pursue Impossible”.

Ms Hovis said that she was “particularly incensed” by those academic pedants who objected to the slogan on the grounds that it was not “proper English”. Had they raised the same objections, she wondered, to such successful branding slogans as Beanz Meanz Heinz or Finger Lickin’ Good?

She confessed, however, that Poppleton’s slogans had some-times encountered not dissimilar objections. She instanced the “grammatical pedants” who had complained about our 2012 slogan, “Poppleton: the university what cares”, and its 2013 variant, “We is the greatest”.

There were also those “sticklers for the literal” who had moaned about the possible ambiguities of such earlier Poppleton brand slogans as “Shooting Firmly Forward” and “We Aim to Please”.

However, apart from a “small and unrepresentative group of asthmatics”, she had so far encountered no “coherent opposition” to Poppleton’s brand‑new brand slogan: “Inspiring Aspiration”.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Following the disturbing new evidence that emptying your mind may have deleterious consequences, will all those members of academic staff who have attended any of our recent deep meditation courses please report to the Development Suite this Thursday when our Head of Involuntary Redundancy will be on hand to give them something to think about.


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