Probably the best
“A deeply disturbing judgement.”
That was how Georgina Edsel, our deputy head of brand management, responded to the news that the Advertising Standards Authority had requested that the University of Reading withdraw its assertion that it was in the top 1 per cent of the world’s universities.
Ms Edsel conceded that Reading had been able to make this claim only by comparing itself with every conceivable university in the known world, many of which had never received any official rating whatsoever.
It was also true, she admitted, that there was “a minor statistical issue” in the news from Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank, that “30 or 40 UK universities currently claim to be in the top 10 at the moment”, but she insisted that such criticism failed to recognise the “ethical relativism of progressive public relations”.
She also very much doubted whether the ASA judgement would impinge upon the University of Reading’s other well-known claims. These included the news that Reading is recommended by eight out of 10 dentists, kills nine out of 10 known germs, and helps women dressed all in white to keep on roller-skating during that difficult time of the month.
Mind the gap
Jennifer Loveday, our head of personal development, who recently returned to Poppleton after obtaining an MA in aromatherapy from the for-profit University of Melton Mowbray, has expressed her delight at the news that the University of Warwick is not only to stage a major conference on mindfulness but has also made mindfulness techniques an essential element of its professional development course for first-year medical students.
Ms Loveday told our reporter Keith Ponting (30) that Poppleton would be wise to follow Warwick’s example. “One of the key features of mindfulness is its demand that one spends time concentrating upon nothing other than one’s own breathing.” This, she contended, could only have positive effects for all those Poppleton academics who appeared, in recent years, “to have stopped breathing altogether”.
However, when questioned further by Ponting, she did admit that a previous attempt to introduce mindfulness to our university had foundered when a number of senior academics who had been instructed by their mindfulness tutor to concentrate intensely on their immediate environment had gone on to commit serious acts of self-harm.
Neither did she wish to defend the actions of the elderly academic member of that same mindfulness group who had persistently refused to follow a mindfulness injunction to “imagine himself as a leaf” on the grounds that this represented “an unwarranted demotion” from an earlier mindfulness session in which he’d been asked to think “like a tree”.
Your framework has been delayed
Ted Chippings, our Head of TEF Submissions, has admitted that he shares the “general frustration” at the news that the teaching excellence framework results are no longer going to be announced this week and that no new date has even been set for their eventual release.
“This is particularly distressing news”, said Mr Chippings, “for such leading universities as Bristol, London School of Economics and King’s College London, which will now not have a specific date on which they can begin publicising their newly acquired bronze status.”