As readers will be aware, the new universities and science minister, Jo Johnson, is planning a teaching excellence framework that will include “a clear set of outcome-focused criteria and metrics”. In anticipation of this development, our newly appointed Head of Teaching Quality, Mr Ted Loam (formerly of Estates and Gardens), has published the following metrical analysis of a recent Poppleton lecture:
Professor Gordon Lapping, Department of Media and Cultural Studies
Title of lecture:
Towards a semiology of Top Gear (second-year compulsory course)
- Hesitations: 243
- Deviations: 34
- Repetitions: 49
- Prolonged disappearances behind lectern: 4
- Trouser adjustments: 37
- Failed attempts to locate board rubber: 9
- Longing glances through lecture room window: 47
- Freudian slips: 1 (“Toyota Anus”)
- Failed jokes: 1 (“What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything.”)
- Number of students left in the room as a proportion of those present at the start: 2.
Mr Loam explained that these figures were then metrically aligned with the lecture outcome scores obtained from the single student who remained until the end of the lecture, and then multiplied by the number that you first thought of to give an overall TEF score of −26. A statistical test conducted on this figure revealed that students attending Lapping’s lecture left knowing slightly less than when they arrived.
Game for a laugh
“A devastating indictment.”
That was how Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, responded to the charge by Dr Negley Harte, an honorary fellow and the official historian of University College London, that UCL had, by its recent treatment of Sir Tim Hunt, shown that it “had no sense of humour”.
Targett said that he also thoroughly agreed with Dr Harte’s contention that such a sense of humour was “a vital ingredient” in a university. Anyone who doubted the premium placed on this ingredient at Poppleton, Targett added, needed to look no further than the size of our vice-chancellor’s annual emolument.
Research secret revealed
According to recent reports, the University of Cambridge has been ordered by the Information Commissioner to release information on its current programme of research on sheep.
As we go to press, this information is still not publicly available, but our investigative reporter Keith Ponting (30) has obtained access to internal documents that reveal that the Cambridge research programme is essentially a comparative study of the reactions of sheep and serving academics to any sort of external threat.
Ponting was also able to reveal that the Cambridge research team has already empirically demonstrated the following distinctive threat reactions:
- Outbursts of bleating
- Readiness to stampede
- Displays of timidity and fearfulness
- A pronounced tendency to flip over on to one’s back and be unable to right oneself.
Ponting further confirmed that in the next stage of the project, the researchers would be turning their attention to the sheep.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
Following last week’s unfortunate incident involving the Head of Built Environment, will all those taking part in this Thursday’s Hug Therapy session please remember to keep themselves to themselves?