Words words words
How did our university achieve gold in the teaching excellence framework?
This is the question that has been repeatedly asked by such -formerly prestigious institutions as the London School of Economics and the universities of South-ampton and York as they have sorrowfully contemplated their lesser awards in the exercise.
But now the secret is out!
In an exclusive interview with reporter Keith Ponting (30), our Head of TEF Submissions, Mr Ted Chippings, reveals that his team simply used the linguistic strategies that brought such TEF success to the universities of Edge Hill, Bournemouth, the University of the Arts London, Birmingham and University College London.
“It was all down to using the right words,” he told Ponting. “So, in common with Birmingham, our team used the word ‘outstanding’ more than 30 times in its submission, and in common with Bournemouth, slipped in the term ‘fusion’ on no fewer than 16 occasions.”
Mr Chippings also revealed that, echoing the University of the Arts London, Poppleton had employed the term “creative” more than 50 times and, in line with the “humble” example of Edge Hill, had only occasionally spoken of itself in third-person terms.
How do we now know about the success of these strategies? Mr Chippings said that the answer lay in a newly published Higher Education Policy Institute report in which Diana Beech, Hepi’s director of policy and advocacy, testified to the critical importance of “buzz-words”. “Universities”, said Dr Beech, “need to remember that the TEF panels are making a judgement on written language, so you need to use techniques that allow people to relate to you.”
But, Ponting asked, was there any necessary connection between the right words in our TEF submis-sion and the reality of the teaching quality to which they were supposed to refer?
Mr Chippings brusquely dismissed such “semantic” worries. “For goodness’ sake, don’t let concerns about reality detract from the achievement of our authors. It was, after all, their outstanding creative fusion of words and their simulated humility that won gold for Poppleton.”
So, the actual words in our submission didn’t necessarily mean anything?
“They meant just what we chose them to mean,” explained Mr Chippings. “Neither more nor less. The question is, which is to be master – that’s all.”
Bailiffs will make a renewed attempt this morning to extricate Professor Lapping from his barricaded office in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies and relocate him to the exciting new open-plan office space overlooking the artificial lake.
Professor Lapping was unavailable for comment but posted a selfie in which he displays a gesture of contempt with one hand while using the other to clutch what our Head of Pharmacology has diagnosed as a “half-smoked spliff”.
Poppleton’s Head of Campus Security, Brigadier T. W. Trouncing, said that Lapping “was clearly unaware that progressive institutions such as the University of Northampton had already abolished book-lined offices in favour of siting academics in an open-plan setting where a lack of access to books, journals and a personal desk would do much to ensure that their focus on filling in research excellence framework and teaching excellence framework submissions would not be disrupted by anything so counter-productive as individual thought”.