Laurie Taylor – 7 December 2017

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

December 7, 2017
End of the world is nigh
Source: Alamy

Jingle all the way

We are delighted to announce that our university will be hosting this year’s Universities UK Grand Christmas Dinner.

As in the past, this highly fashionable event will be attended by more than 100 of the country’s leading vice-chancellors.

We are pleased to provide the following tantalising glimpse of the three-star menu that awaits these grandees of higher education.

Poppletonian menu

God is in the details

Academic disquiet has been aroused by the news that the Poppleton College of the Sacred Heart is to take advantage of the Department for Education’s call for more private providers by applying for university status.

According to Mr Ted Odgers of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, the new university could all too readily confuse education with indoctrination. He cited the disturbing example of the religious Cedarville University in Ohio, which recently began to implement a “biblically consistent curriculum”. “Before anyone can say Richard Dawkins,” contended Mr Odgers, “we’ll be faced with a degree in evolutionary biology that begins in the Garden of Eden.”

However, the principal of the College of the Sacred Heart, the Reverend Damian Xavier, rejected the American comparison. “We very much believe in balance. So while our BSc in gerontology properly emphasises the physical, mental and sociological effects of ageing, we think it only appropriate to devote a third-year course to the manner in which these debilitating effects might be of less consequence to those who achieve a successful outcome on Judgement Day.”

Five-minute seminar

Each week, this new column will provide a Q&A guide to issues in higher education. This week, a leading Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson explains some of the recently announced changes to the research excellence framework.

Q. I understand that if I were to die during the course of the next REF, it will still be possible to include my publications in the university’s submission. Is this true?
A. Perfectly true. And in a major concession, it has been agreed that these post-mortem submissions are still valid even if your death was specifically prompted by the demands of the REF.

Q. I am an academic with an excellent record in teaching and student supervision. However, this concentration of effort has necessarily restricted my research output. How will I fare in the new REF?
A. As all serving academics will now have to be included in the next REF, your low research output will adversely affect the university’s score. You will, therefore, in accord with the guidelines laid down by the University of Southampton, be immediately offered compulsory redundancy.

Q. According to Graeme Reid, chair of science and research policy at UCL, the academic community will now “look for ways of gaming the new arrangements – that is unavoidable”. Might this suggest that the entire costly time-consuming bureaucratic exercise is fundamentally flawed?
A. I’m so sorry but your time is up.

(Next week: Gaming the new knowledge exchange framework: problems and prospects.)

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.

Related articles