University of Affpuddle: The Past Is A Foreign Currency
Grantham Capricorn, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Research, Student Affairs and On-Campus Betting Services today hosted a ceremony in the University's Whisky-McNIghtly (Marketing Studies) Building to outline plans for the University's future and, simultaneously, to mark 25 years of consistent pedagogic underachievement. The ceremony coincided with an announcement by the Dorset Higher Education Funding Council (DHEFC) that the University had once again failed to reach any of its target benchmarks and had been awarded a 1 star TQA rating for the 25th year in succession - "a consistent failure unrivalled in any other comparable institution". Student satisfaction, Professor Capricorn said, had also declined once again: "a year-on-year pattern from which we must take a modest measure of satisfaction".
Explaining that consistently low achievement together with a consequential diminution of customer (student) expectation had allowed the University to downsize its “historical” commitment to certain anachronistic core values (education), Dr Capricorn went on to argue that, as a result, it was now possible for staff to concentrate instead on more tangible (lucrative) opportunities such as those recently identified by focus-group-market-oriented-big-data analytics; ie property development, retail activity and investment in high yield emerging South East Asian markets.
In a memorable oration, University Chancellor and supermarket supremo Lord Waitaminute then outlined his vision (spreadsheet) for the University, the key themes of which were: modernisation and a refocusing of the institution’s primary aims. Meeting these challenges would, in turn he argued, allow it to redefine its mission in path-critical ways by homing in on activities more appropriate to the current Higher Education climate and the fluctuating value of the £ vis-à-vis the € and the $.
Noting, with satisfaction, that the University was already deeply involved in land acquisition, heavy industry, overseas mining, civil and military construction, leisure services, bitcoin promotion, online sales and unspecified "internet activities", he added that, through its commercial arm (Threadbone University Spin-offs Inc), it was also advancing its interests in start up enterprises “across the spectrum”. The Chancellor then made clear that the list was "far from exhaustive and far from an indictment; indeed more a sort of prospectus".
In closing, Lord Waitaminute concluded: "We invite people from all backgrounds and any ability (GCSE Mathematics with Business Studies preferred) to join us on our momentous journey into the monetarizable unknown. As academics, we have always tried to place ourselves at the cutting edge and have always looked to the future. Now is the time to disassociate ourselves categorically from the age old tried-and-tested pathways which, whilst guaranteeing certain pedagogic principles and enshrining a number of fundamental academic freedoms, also committed us to upholding abstract and outmoded concepts (open-ended research, student welfare and enlightened teaching) which necessarily impaired our ability simply to "get on with the real job"*. Now we assert absolutely our determination to embrace instead the concrete, the practical, the immediately achievable and the dependably profitable."
* later clarified as: making money, making more money and investing the money made in order to make more money.
Then in a remarkable passage deeply reminiscent of the one which had just proceeded it, Lord Waitaminute said: "We must free ourselves of the restrictive disciplinary shackles of the past and forge an education-free future dedicated to ensuring that every single member of the University (support staff and students excepted) has a secure and well-rewarded future and that VC salaries continue to go through the roof. As a famous man once said “Build a University Campus (retail park/innovation centre) and they will come! The University of Affpuddle is open for business... We're ready and waiting!".
To the accompanying sound of popping corks and industrial-scale canapé consumption (heavy finger buffet variation) the assembled senior administrators chorused their disapproval of Drexit, bemoaned the derailment of the Higher Education gravy train and mourned the end of collaborative grant hoovering "as we know it", whilst congratulating themselves on their perspicacity in choosing to work for an institution whose values were now so perfectly aligned with their own.
Asked if it was true that the University was about to be renamed at the request of several major investors (“donors”), Lord Waitaminute declined to say. Adding only that The Thrupiece Threadbone Whisky-McNIghtly Sizemore Notso-Pointy Badminton-Court Waitaminute University of Affpuddle “had a certain ring to it”.
Shortly before stepping into his private helicopter (Windbag One) the Chancellor was asked if he had any idea what the students might make of it all. For a second Lord Waitaminute looked perplexed before adding “I don’t understand your question”.
A recent poster for the University of Affpuddle illustrating the exodus of students. "Now we have given up any suggestion that we are here to educate them they are voting with their feet", a spokesperson said. INSETS: The University's Investor Prospectus 2018 (formerly the University Course Guide) and the "Celebrating 25 years of Pedagogic Underachievement" Commemorative Brochure. Each is available from the University Registry priced £499.99 plus VAT and P&P.