Laurie Taylor: TEF special, 22 June 2017

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

June 22, 2017
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It's golden Poppleton!

Today, the staid world of higher education is shaken to its core as the news breaks that Poppleton has achieved gold status in the teaching excellence framework.

Our vice-chancellor, who is currently attending a widening access conference in Pyongyang, emailed his congratulations. “This award should finally put paid to the view that Poppleton is some sort of joke university. It’s a triumph for all those who labour in the vineyard and a thoroughgoing endorsement of my emolument.”

How did we pull it off?

As dispirited bronze universities such as Liverpool, Southampton and the London School of Economics struggle to cope with their diminished status, our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), speaks to three architects of Poppleton’s success.

Nancy Harbinger, Deputy Head of Student Experience

“Ms Harbinger, very high ratings were accorded to our teaching staff in the National Student Survey. How much did these ratings owe to bribery?”

“Not as much as you might think. Obviously, students were repeatedly reminded that a failure to give a high mark to every teacher would devalue the university and their own degree. But apart from that, they were very much left to make their own judgements and indeed spend their £50 reward voucher in any way they pleased.”

Brigadier T. W. Trouncing, Head of Campus Security

“Brigadier, student retention figures counted as a measure of teaching quality. Only a year ago, so many students were leaving mid-course that it was necessary to put on special buses to take them to the station. How did all that change?”

“Great credit must go the sensitive counsellors who gave students an opportunity to discuss their unhappiness before taking the momentous decision to leave. It’s also possible that the subsequent forced confinement of these malingerers in a specially designed therapeutic compound played some small part in the final figures.”

David Dole, Head of Student Destinations

“Mr Dole, figures suggest that Poppleton graduates are over-represented in the shelving profession. How was an improvement effected in this measurement of teaching quality?”

“Shelving is much misunderstood. Many leading figures in society took their first steps up the ladder in cleaning products or cooked meats. In our submission, we built in such likely promotion by adding a nought to average graduate salaries and substituting the word ‘manager’ for ‘stacker’.”

It was the narrative that done it!

A key element in our teaching excellence framework submission was the narrative, an opportunity for the university to tell the best possible story about its commitment to teaching. Step forward, Louise M. Muskett. Ms Muskett, the celebrated author of such imaginative science fiction stories as Planet of the Babes , admitted that the task of composing our narrative had been a challenge. “On balance I find it rather easier to compose a story about erotic life on an alien planet than to construct a narrative in which several hundred seriously inept teachers appear as the crown jewels of their profession.”

In other news

A further 50 members of academic staff who bore the designation “research only” were taken out to the science park yesterday morning and summarily executed. A spokesperson described the action as a further example of the university’s continuing disinvestment in the now largely redundant practice of “finding out new things”.

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