Laurie Taylor

September 12, 2013

Only the lonely

“In my opinion, both universities are far too mealy-mouthed about the whole business.”

This was the typically frank response of Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, to the news that Swansea University will be following in the footsteps of the University of Leicester and moving academics with inadequate research records into teaching-only roles.

Targett told The Poppletonian that he had “little sympathy” with those “miserable slackers” who had failed to produce the 3* research articles required for the REF. Indeed, he had every intention of adopting the punitive Leicester-Swansea model at Poppleton, but with one important difference.

Instead of research-inadequate academics being branded as “teaching only”, at Poppleton they would be designated as “only teaching”.

Targett said that he believed this term more adequately conveyed the inferior nature of the work to which these academics would now be sentenced. He also revealed that he had considered the term “merely teaching” to describe the new role, but eventually decided that this might have caused confusion with Poppleton’s several hundred zero-hours contract graduate teaching assistants, whose total lack of pedagogic ability had led their role to be popularly characterised as “nearly teaching”.

Targett hoped these changes would be the last of their kind. “No one who is concerned about the future of higher education in this country wants to get bogged down in such a peripheral matter as teaching.”

‘I’m jealous,’ admits brand manager

Concept of housing development island

Our Deputy Head of Brand Management, Georgina Edsel, has told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that she felt “distinctly jealous” upon learning that the University of Essex had commissioned brand consultancy eatbigfish to “create a convincing narrative around what distinguished a university”.

She confessed she was a great admirer of the eatbigfish consultancy. Not only did it eschew such old-fashioned grammatical shibboleths as word separation and capital letters, but it had also pioneered the Challenger Lighthouse Identity Programme, which produced brands that were like lighthouses in that “you notice them even if you’re not looking for them” and which were “anchored on a product rock”.

Ms Edsel told Ponting that although she envied Essex’s readiness to spend a great deal of money on the 12- to 16-week “intense facilitated process” that made up the Challenger Lighthouse Identity Programme, she was not surprised that it was Essex that had embraced such sophisticated branding techniques.

After all, the university had produced Nobel prizewinners in economics and political science, as well as such notable alumni in the fields of humanities and media as Stephen Daldry, Mike Leigh, Nick Broomfield and Ben Okri. No wonder then, said Ms Edsel, that with this distinguished record it had chosen a branding company capable of producing the following succinct and illuminating summary of its philosophy: “We believe that Intelligent Naivety – intelligently applied inexperience – has changed the face of most of the categories around us more profoundly than a lifetime of applied category experience.”

As Ms Edsel insisted with her customary knowing smile: “You can’t say fairer than that.”

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Here’s an amusing little quotation to help get the new term happily under way. Hope you like it.

“I thought I saw light at the end of the tunnel but it was just my head of department with more work – and a torch.”

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