Laurie Taylor – 17 September 2015

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

September 17, 2015
White dove flying in front of businessman
Source: Getty
REF bull has wings

Hey, everybody! Look at me!

“There were only two or three doves actually in the air. The rain meant that the rest of them wouldn’t leave the release basket.”

That was how Dr F. R. Beavis, one of our leading second-rate professors of English and related studies, responded to criticism of the manner in which he had chosen to celebrate the news that his article on “The semiotic role of the phaeton carriage in Emma” had been accepted for publication by the top-rated British Journal of Middle-Period Jane Austen Studies (Vol. 146, pp. 104-142).

But this admission was not enough to pacify Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, who insisted that Dr Beavis’ dove release had “fundamentally failed” to conform to the university’s new Gender Equality Self-Promotion Policy.

This policy was adopted following research into mid-career academic women by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, which revealed that men were more likely to prosper in their academic careers because of their greater tendency towards communicating “their success more loudly than women”.

In this context, insisted Targett, even a few airborne doves constituted excessive self-promotion. Neither had Dr Beavis’ case been helped by his alleged rendering of “You’ve got to search for the hero inside yourself” in the senior common room of Richard Dawkins College, nor by his decision to have the name plate on the door of his tutorial office illuminated by a revolving spotlight.

But has Poppleton’s new gender equality policy on self-promotion helped to accord greater recognition to mid-career female academics? Targett told The Poppletonian that he didn’t want to sound too complacent but he had certainly bumped into just such a member of academic staff only the other day and had been “very close” to remembering her actual name.

Write on both sides of the paper

In a recent article in Times Higher Education, Karen Harris, tutor of English for academic purposes at the University of the Arts, described the traditional student essay as a “tired, restrictive form” and suggested it was due for replacement by more dynamic methods of communicating ideas. The Poppletonian decided to widen the debate by asking one of our leading educationalists, Dr T. K. Macks, for his views on the subject. Here is his response.

I’d like to make a strat start by saying that this is a very important question that I personally have myself thought about quite a lot since I got back from my holidays where I had a really super time going swimming in the sea which was quite warm for the time of year. And then I ate lots of different kinds of food and other things that you wouldn’t find in restorants at home where you have English food. And then I also had an ice cream with three different flavours and then I went to bed and woke up to another day. So all in all I had a very nice time during my holidays and I’m already looking forward to the next one which will be next year. That’s my opinion, anyway.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

I am profoundly aware of the substantial new research findings on the deleterious effects of “Mindfulness”. If you feel worried that your attendance at one of our Mindfulness seminars might have affected you adversely then please contact the Personal Development Centre, assuming, of course, that after having been on a Mindfulness course you are still capable of remembering that you’ve been on a Mindfulness course.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips