World classlessness

November 3, 2000

"Many vice-chancellors maintain that Britain can sustain only two world-class universities" (Letters, THES, October 20). This implies the rest of us exist in a state of world classlessness. A triumphant dean at a United States university told me he had just closed a multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal for his faculty, saying: "This means we'll achieve our mission to become world-class ahead of schedule." I asked what he meant by world class.

He explained: "Well, you sure as hell don't get to attract sponsorship at this level unless you are, or intend to be, world class." A message, perhaps, for our select committee.

Mike Newby
Dean, Faculty of arts and education
of Plymouth

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