Fourth degree by Laurie Taylor – 18 July 2019

All campus life is here

July 18, 2019
Chariot race

My Schopenhauer is better than yours!

Laurie Taylor reports

A vigorous attack on the proposed subject-level version of the teaching excellence framework has been launched by one of our country’s leading Platonists, Q. E. D. Hargreaves, senior lecturer in philosophy at the University College of Church Stretton and author of the seminal text Caving for Beginners.

However, unlike most academics, Dr Hargreaves is incensed not by the estimated £37.8 million cost but by the exercise’s inability to measure the critical differences that exist between the teaching of specific topics.

“As a Platonist,” said Dr Hargreaves, “I want my teaching of The Republic to be critically compared with the teaching of The Republic at other universities. As it is, my acknowledged excellence will be undermined in the forthcoming TEF by the woeful teaching on my department’s Heidegger option.”

Dr Hargreaves continued: “Let’s be frank. If we were to adopt a course-level TEF – let’s call it a CEF – potential students would be able to opt for a gold course in Descartes and stay well clear of a bronze course in Kierkegaard.”

Broad support for Dr Hargreaves came from his vice-chancellor, who insisted that the CEF would in no way detract from his own policy of selecting academic candidates for redundancy by measuring the width of their frontal lobes.


I’m sorry, I’ll teach that again

Profound concern about the prevalence of “dangerous teaching” in higher education has been aroused by the news that the University of South Wales is offering compensation to students on its postgraduate health and safety course after an investigation found that they had been taught incorrect information.

This included an erroneous account of the flashpoint of oil and the assertion that bleach was an acid. But it seems that this may be only the tip of the iceberg. As we go to press we learn of several other extreme examples of such dangerous teaching. These include a veterinary course contention that cats enjoy nine lives and the insistence in one well-established surgery science course that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.


Saying goodbye to Buggins’ Turn

Academics at the University of Leeds are currently opposing plans to advertise head of department posts on the grounds that such appointments would increase managerial control. However, as Fourth Degree is able to show below, another leading university has chosen to ignore such concerns.


The University College of Plumpton

Head of Department (Social Science)

In the past, heads of department in this university have been appointed from within the department by using a complex but generally reliable combination of bribery, blackmail and backstabbing.

However, in a major break with tradition, we are now offering this exciting position to outside applicants. Candidates for the post must
be able to demonstrate the following strengths:

  • An ability to respond on an hourly basis to managerial directives
  • A capacity to persuade Dr T. G. Watkins to leave her moulting German Shepherd at home
  • A thorough appreciation of Dr L. M. Loveridge’s allergic reaction to confined spaces
  • A readiness to serve on the following committees:
    a. Fire and safety
    b. Biology pond maintenance
    c. External relations (one meeting every two years)
    d. Space management (please bring your own
    chair)
    e. Gender transitions (fortnightly)
    f. Estates and gardens (bring an umbrella).

Please note that because of the current shortage of office space, preference will be given to vertically challenged candidates. Otherwise, applications are welcomed from practically anyone.


Quiz Time

(Time allowed: one hour)

Which of the following UK university ministers will record the longest stay in that office?

a. Sam Gyimah

b. Danny Dyer

c. Chris Skidmore

d. Jo Johnson

e. Toby Young

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