Tales from the riverbank – June

Another month, another long tedious newsletter. It’s getting harder to say the same old thing and try to make it sound different.

I have an email box of comments from my previous newsletters. Maybe I should have a regular corrections section, a kind of punishment wing for those dissident emailers.

A few people have won awards apparently [note to secretary: find out who they are]. I like these because then I can bang on about what a great place KU is and what brilliant staff we have, even though all my actions suggest I think you’re all crap, which let’s face it you are.

Often when I congratulate a particular group of staff, no different to the rest, I get an email saying “why not us – we do good work as well”.  In particular in a recent newsletter I talked about trying to attract and develop academic staff, even though I’m making lots of you redundant or pensioning you off. Let’s get one thing straight. Only I do good work around here but I love to pretend otherwise.

I had an interesting email discussion about the pressures on academics in professional disciplines who have to teach, research and keep up to date in their professional practice. It is hard, it’s meant to be, and I am going to make it even harder, and cut your pay. This pisses people off so much it is sure to be bad for the students, but who cares about them. No one can sack me, not without handing me a big pay out.

SMT Changes: 

In recognition of their broad roles each of the Deans will have the title of PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) – I like a lot of plastic yes men. The current PVCs, Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds (PVC T&L Mickey Mouse research), Neil Latham (PVC The Navy Lark) and Martyn Jones will become DVCs (Deputy Vice-Chancellors). Martyn will be reducing his time at the University, especially if he writes any more articles in the Higher, or was that the other guy? Finally, David Mackintosh becomes Time-to-Pension-Him-Off DVC. This recognises the size of the bullshit our SMT members talk, copies a number of other universities, reduces the size of the SMT and saves some money – more for my next salary increase!

Development:  The financial climate means that we have to think of ways of diversifying our income, which is an underhand way of saying we have to make big cuts to staff.  University buildings and staff are a resource we may be able to use when not needed for teaching or research – for example some of our academics could be part-sold into slavery. We should be offering out our staff as casual unpaid labour to business. One of the key (I love that word) areas is in building effective alumni relations. Our alumni are a great resource of contributions to my benevolent fund. We have many highly successful former students (before I took over) who care about the University (which is more than I do).  Do let me know if you have interesting ideas for diversifying my income (or if you happen to live next door to a friendly billionaire widow!).

As well as income we need to focus on unnecessary costs. This year’s Green Impact scheme consisted of thirteen teams in various projects which have had real impact – they’ve cost a fortune! Green Impact is a great example of staff time being wasted.  I challenge all schools and departments to sign up to keep me happy. You wouldn’t like me when I’m unhappy.

One of the key (that word again) events that links students to alumni is graduation. I still get a buzz out of showing off at graduation and I think it really brings home the importance of me. It is wonderful to hear shouts of “well done mum” and “resign you bloody fool”. Though the pleasure can be tempered by the pain in the arse I get, we paid a small fortune for the Royal Festival Hall, another good reason to close down more schools.

 Outstanding Performance: Me of course!!

Jools the Wrecker

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