Going for gold?
Even as members of our academic staff were tidying their desks in anticipation of the statutory two-day Easter vacation, rumours that our university had achieved a gold teaching excellence framework rating began to swirl around campus.
If indeed Poppleton has so triumphed, then credit must surely go to our Head of TEF Submissions, Mr Ted Chippings, who gave up a promising career mis-selling insurance in order to join the ranks of our senior administrators.
Although Mr Chippings would not comment on the rumours, he pointed out that we could expect a number of surprises when the TEF ratings were announced. So, whereas several Russell Group universities had received poor marks for teaching excellence in a recent student survey, we could well be astonished to discover that most of them had attained gold or silver status when the TEF results were announced in May. “All I have done”, said Mr Chippings, “is to try to emulate this remarkable achievement by what is technically known in the insurance mis-selling business as ‘data manipulation’.”
God bless all those who sail in her
“Hats off to Plymouth University!”
That was the surprise compliment recently paid by Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs.
Targett told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that he’d publicly praised Plymouth because of the highly efficient manner in which it had seen off the latest attempt by the QAA to review its standards.
“As you’ll remember,” said Targett, “the QAA carried out a review visit to Plymouth back in May 2016, a relatively short time after the university had gone through a senior management turmoil that involved, among other matters: the suspension of the vice-chancellor, Wendy Purcell; allegations of sexual harassment against the retired judge who was chair of the Plymouth governors at the time; the return of Purcell to her post as vice-chancellor; her rapid abandonment of this post and her equally rapid assumption of the post of president; and the subsequent announcement by the university that her new post had ‘ceased’.”
“So what about that QAA review?” asked Ponting. “It must surely have had some strong words to say about such an administrative debacle.”
“Ah,” said Targett. “That’s where Plymouth showed its mettle. For even as the QAA was about to publish that review, Plymouth University appealed.”
“On what grounds?”
“That’s a closely guarded secret. Nobody is allowed to know.”
“So presumably that means that the QAA returns to Plymouth and tries again?”
“Not at all. You see, the QAA reviews were replaced in 2016 by new ‘light touch’ reviews. So the QAA can’t have another go. It’s out of time.”
“But how can Plymouth be deemed suitable to enter the TEF without having a clean bill of health?”
“No problem. Plymouth has a clean bill of health from another QAA review carried out eight years ago.”
“So everything that has happened since then will be ignored because someone at Plymouth spotted that an appeal would totally scupper that 2016 review?”
“Now, you’re being conspiratorial. In fact, you’re dangerously close to suggesting that Plymouth has managed to hide a big bundle of dirty linen by sleight of hand. And that would never do.”
“Has there been any reaction from Plymouth to this latest development?”
“Nothing official. But sources close to the university claim to have heard its senior administrators joining in a spirited chorus of Plymouth Ho Ho Ho.”