Monday, 28 September 2009

Ignorance Is Strength*

You may, if you peruse this electronic ranting regularly, be aware that my institution, having 'mislead' the government on the small matter of how many students completed modules, on which basis funding is provided, faces paying back several million pounds (or, to quote directly, 'misunderstanding of the arcane HEFCE definition' - obviously it's HEFCE's fault for using big words). To pay for this, 250 staff are being sacked, modules are being cut and class sizes increased. There's no sign, of course, of firings, performance-related-pay cuts or apologies from the management.

There is, however, a missive from the rotting head of the fish, an overview of the current state of play. The following words occur frequently:
'colleagues' - ho, ho, ho.
'excellent' x 2
'highest possible level of commendation'
'good practice'
'good standing'
'extremely good'
'highest' x 3
'very good'
'solid base'
'future development'
'special mention'
'strong role'
'appeal in the market place'
'capture student intent'
'cost savings'
'strategic investments'

So there we have it. Very little to indicate that this is a university and not a double-glazing sales force. No sackings. Everything's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. And if you don't think so, it's Room 101 for you.

In reality, this place is brilliant at some things. We specialise in mature students without qualifications, in people who've struggled at previous educational establishments, in local, working-class students. We also produce high quality research, despite a teaching workload 3 or, in my case 4, times that of other institutions. BUT: massive classes, less assessment, fewer staff and less contact time with teachers is guaranteed to a) reduce recruitment and b) fail the students who need a lot of guidance and support.

Never mind though - modules students don't like are being abolished, whether they're educationally necessary or not, and everything's coming up rosy. Yes it is. Oh yes. Definitely. Yessiree. Absolutely. No shadow of a doubt. Anyone claiming otherwise is a bitter, twisted naysayer. OK?

*From Orwell's 1984.


Benjamin. said...

It is a debacle. On a side note, mature student and graduates polluted the training of mentorship that I underwent at the weekend and yet at 20 year old I managed to get the job however it isn’t to say I don’t need guidance (I definitely do) and the only person I feel I can rely on is you, Vole. The University best retain the services of good, kind hearted people otherwise what is the entire point? Mature students would roam with their strange obnoxious views.

P.S, I have just purchased Gordon Teskey's editation of Paradise Lost... is this a wise choice?

Ewarwoowar said...

Considering it's in the Norton Anthology that you already own - no, it isn't.

Benjamin. said...

Well yes, however I read this particular book in store and found Teskey's understanding to be of considerate dept and far greater than the Anthology which contains just an introduction and etymology. However I understand that various publications are frowned upon by our rightful institution.

Where were you last week anyhow? Mr Hand and I were left severely despondent. Not to mention the ladies' too.

The Plashing Vole said...

Glad you got the job, Demented.

Ewar - I might be wrong, but I don't think the whole of Paradise Lost is in the anthology. Anyway, editions are many and varied, and there will definitely be more/better notes in a standalone edition. I don't know that one in particular though.

Benjamin. said...

I shall have to bring it to your attention also the Complete Works of Shakespeare that my associate handed to me as a gift. It's rather wonderful, the pride of my book shelf (amusing, under the consideration you probably do not have a shelf but an entire house of books).

Ewarwoowar said...

All 12 books Voley.

Sorry Demon, didn't mean to sound snappy then. I'm not sure how many lectures I'll get to over the next few weeks, sorting some stuff out in my head. Email/Facebook me for details, dont want to hijack this comment thingy.

Although the thought of any lady missing me is tres drole.

Benjamin. said...

Worry not, your shoulders probably bare the great burden of expecation and it's a concern of mine too as I place alot of pressure of myself. I shall keep you informed and send you notes, I have a notetaker do not forget so nothing shall be missed (or heard, in my case).

Thank you, Vole and if you gave them a recommendation then I feel it's my debt to you that I managed to land the job in question rather than my own merit knowing how well you write.

I shall see you both soon, I must depart for lecture.

The Plashing Vole said...

DD- you got the job, everything else merely helps.

Ewar - very impressed by the Norton then. Look after yourself. I too, am amused by the thought of an actual, live, partner.