Fourth Degree by Laurie Taylor – 25 October 2018

All campus life is here

October 25, 2018
Source: Getty

On the breadline?

It would appear that a number of UK universities are about to appoint cut-price, bargain-basement vice‑chancellors.

In the past, top-quality university leaders such as Dame Glynis Breakwell (University of Bath: £468,000 remuneration package) and Sir Christopher Snowden (University of Southampton: £433,000) were no doubt attracted to the role by the size of their stipends.

But following high-level criticism of such remuneration packages, it is now expected that the vice-chancellors chosen to fill existing vacancies at Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Bradford, Goldsmiths, University of London, Liverpool John Moores University and Southampton will be required to rub along on little more than the sector average of £266,000.

One former vice-chancellor, who asked not to be named, regretted this development. “We are in grave danger of going back to the bad old days when a vice-chancellor’s pay was only 12 times that of the average lecturer, and the incumbent had to perform their complex leadership duties without access to such marginal comforts as a 30ft personal yacht, a grace-and-favour residence and a Bentley Continental.”

Bottoms up

Although there has been a general welcome in higher education circles to the news that one in five UK university students is now a non-drinker, concern has been expressed that members of academic staff may be taking up the alcoholic slack.

At one well-established north-western university, a snap breathalyser inspection of teaching staff revealed that more than 40 per cent were mildly intoxicated by midday and a further 32 per were well over the recommended safe lecturing limit long before teatime.

Those members of staff who successfully remained sober for most of their working day attributed their sobriety to a 12-step policy of ignoring managerial directives.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am currently listed in Who’s Who in Science and Technology and in Who’s Who in Academia but not in Who’s Who.

Who am I?

Name withheld


Dear Sir or Madam,

I wonder if any of your readers could advise me on how to resolve this ethical dilemma.

One of my former graduate students recently asked me to mail him a recommendation to accompany his application for the post of senior re-education officer in North Korea. Would it be appropriate to ask him to reimburse the postal charge?

Dr Mike Schopenhauer

Appointments vacant

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Staff Changes

Please note that as from midday on 26 October, Professor Douglas Crampton (phonetics) will be self-identifying as Professor Doreen Crampton. Doreen has asked Fourth Degree to stress that she will be fulfilling all her existing teaching, research and administrative functions, but using a different cloakroom.


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