20 years ago

February 7, 2008

Academics feel that they are not coping. They are working on overload. They seem to have more students, more essays to mark and more queries to answer. There are more letters to reply to, more pressure to publish. They need a secretary; they need back-up; they need something. Above all, they need quiet and order, according to the preliminary findings of a survey conducted on a random selection of academics by psychologists at the University of Dundee. Some academics, they said, have taken to cowering at home during non-teaching hours in a desperate attempt to read and carry out research without interruption, hoping that pressing problems "back there" will go away ...

American high school students are showing great ingenuity in their efforts to get into university. A survey of applications has turned up nude self-portraits, an essay embroidered on a tablecloth and a postdated obituary written by a would-be entrant who recorded that he had graduated cum laude from his desired institution. "To show him we appreciated his creativity," said the dean of admissions, "I rewrote the obituary and included the 'fact' that a building was named after him because of his financial contributions."

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