Reflecting on my achievements in 2023

From: Vice-Clown Professor Sir Steven ‘Two Jobs’ Spier

Sent: 14 December 2023

To: All remaining staff and other peasants

Dear Colleagues and Fans,

As I approach the festive break, I wanted to take a moment from my enormously busy schedule (holding down two jobs is very tiring, you see) to reflect on some of my many excesses this year and to grudgingly acknowledge your contributions to my amazing achievements during the past 12 months. I think you will all agree that I have made further amazing progress in the transformation and reshaping of the institution, and that our reputation for innovation, entrepreneurship and speaking in long words has left all other VCs simply green with envy. I am regularly bombarded with messages from other VCs, who are desperate to know the secret of my success, and I have now employed a new PA to deal with all the fan letters I have been receiving on a daily basis.

Key achievements

A real highlight for me this year was the award of an overall rating of Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), as well as securing Gold for student experience, student outcomes and student debt. I have been working flat-out to achieve this award on behalf of yourselves and it has enabled me to spend a very welcome wad of thousands on nice big signs and banners placed around the PolyUniversity celebrating my our achievement, including one hung on the railings of the small car park at the back of Pen Road, a banner which has been seen by thousands of passing pedestrians, leaving many in awe (I could tell from their tears). We are only one of 26 institutions across the whole country to achieve TEF Gold across all three categories and the only University in London to do so which, in my humble estimation, more than reinforces my reputation as the most dynamic VC in Great Britain, if not the world. I began to title myself the ‘Gold Commandant’ during the Covid crisis and it is now more than clear that this was a future insight worthy of Mystic Meg, and the TEF Gold award has now confirmed my destiny. It is a foregone conclusion that I will also soon be made a ‘Sir’ in a future New Years Honours List and I have taken the liberty to begin to use this title in anticipation of the inevitable announcement that will surely take pride of place in the esteemed pages of the Daily Telegraph, the University’s paper of choice. Just you wait. Rising directly from TEF Bronze to TEF Gold reflects a tremendous amount of hard work by myself in the Holmewood Command Bunker, assisted by Moron-Worthless, our esteemed Professor of Sleeping (around) Skills, and you should be extremely pleased my commitment to myself and my future skills has at least been recognised.

A major step towards delivering the Clown House Strategy came in September with the rollout of our Future Ills Skills programme across the whole first year undergraduate programme, despite the fact that no member of staff has an earthly what these skills are. But they sound good, don’t they? This was a millstone accomplishment, which will hang around many staff member’s necks for years to come as we begin to deliver a progressive model of education that will be the envy of the whole world and will help ensure that every student, whatever they are studying, is equipped with the essential seafaring skills they will need to navigate the high seas and oceanic uplands of a post-Brexit globe, flying the Kingston Uni flag in all corners of the world (and further increasing my chances of a Knighthood).

The initiative has been informed by the back-of-a-fag-packet research of our sector-leading Future Skills campaign (not Future Ills, as some of you have so unkindly commented) and, just last week, we saw the launch of our third Future Ills Skills report in a hired room at the House of Commons (always looks good, doesn’t it?). Those who attended were given a personally signed copy of the report by me, printed on high-quality and gold embossed paper and full of lovely pictures of smiling models students. Even the local MP, Sir Awkward Edward Gravy, attended, which was a big surprise given he was too fearful to even set foot in the Uni for many years after the Lib Dums hiked student fees and he was worried he would be lynched. He has now regained his confidence, and was most pleased to get his photo taken, as he has been having a tough time of it lately as leader of his, er, rather low-profile party. He was pleased to have my sage advice whispered in his ear, but sadly refused my offer to enrol him in my Telegraph supporters club. Silly man. As well as Sir Gravy, it was evident that there is now significant and visible business and cross-party political support for my campaign to become a ‘Sir’ so I can be just like Sir Gravy. I had a very nice telegram from UKIP in Wales, and the Independent residents group on Hove Town Council also sent a nice postcard calling for more Future Skills instruction in making sand castles out of discarded pebbles.

We have also progressed with the development of the Knowledge Research and People Institutes (KRAPIES), which are a key pillar of the Clown House Strategy and, in fact, without this key pillar the whole Town House would collapse into Pen Road and become a major embarrassment to my growing reputation as the world’s foremost VC (and renowned expert on architectural design, as well as Swiss cheeses). We have already held a series of events bringing together those academics who still have jobs with guest speakers to explore thematic issues and to acknowledge the divineness of my wise leadership skills. This year we have generated a number of large-scale funding pleas and recently secured some funding from a weird foundation nobody has ever heard of to support research in to Future Ills Skills, including how learning gain and impact can be measured using one of those little tape-measures you get in Christmas crackers.

We continue to deliver on our Sustainability Plan, whatever that is, and work on this agenda has been recognised with the student engagement award at this year’s Green Gown Awards. From now on all staff at Graduation ceremonies will be required not only to sing the new Kingston University anthem but to wear our newly designed Green Gowns, recycled from weeds and other vegetation found in the local Hogsmill stream (sewage permitting). Now that’s what I call innovative and world-leading.

Supporting our people

Yes, we do occasionally support our people. Much to my relief we achieved a fantastic response rate of 81 per cent in this year’s staff survey, which also saw our staff engagement score increase from 69 per cent to 73 per cent. Such a high response rate helps us to understand how strongly staff feel about my leadership skills and my enlightened approach to people management and cost-cutting and where we can improve. But I feel, frankly, there is no way I can improve on what I am doing already and clearly many of you completely agree with me on this assessment. As for the 19 per cent of you who did not respond, we shall deal with you in due course.

Looking ahead

As I set out last month, we are operating in an extremely challenging environment, accelerated through the rate of inflation and my determination to allocate more millions for the spectacular new buildings we intend to put up on the Middle Mill site at Knights Park. Our immediate focus is on actions to boost our student numbers and meet recruitment targets. We need to be able to invest in our future. To that end, as I mentioned last month, I have instructed my close SLT mate Dave Mac ‘the Knife’ Mackintosh (fondly known to us all as Axjob) to initiate some further reviews into savings that can be obtained through new rounds of VS and the slimming down of certain subject-areas. For obvious reasons, this has to remain top secret for the time being, but watch out for further notices during the course of 2024.

The challenging national context for the sector really does demonstrate the importance of having an ambitious strategy that will enable me to remain in post and make us an institution that is truly sought after by prospective colleagues who are desperate for work and by students who cannot get places in other HEIs. We all have a part to play in my success, and there is much for you to look forward to in the coming year as we engage in further ‘transformation’ (my favourite word) and move to yet another phase in our endless Future Ills Skills programme, increase our research and my knowledge through the KRAPIES, and further embed my values to help make Kingston an even better place to serve in.

I want to thank most of you for all the hard work and commitment you have shown to raising my profile throughout the past year and hope you enjoy a well-earned break. Make the most of it, and don’t spend too much, as you may need that money sooner than you think.

With best wishes,

Sir Steven

Professor, Vice-Clown and Gold Commandant,

Kingston Polyversity University

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5 Responses to Reflecting on my achievements in 2023

  1. Dismayed says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what a chaotic department KBS has become, with squabbling managers and absenteeism. It is supposed to be a model department for KU but the leadership is a mess. If it was a proper business outside it would not survive five minutes. Why students want to study up the Hill under this lot is a mystery.

  2. Miss Mary says:

    it seems standing sandy the lover of sleazy Northern Napolean has been kicked out of KBS as she was leaking information to brain on lease and not so sharp and not so young HODs about Dean Dandy. Smart move but what about the rest……

  3. Miss Mary says:

    Cheerios for 2024- new year and same shit in KBS. They kicked out the chemistry women but not much has changed. Dean dandy is nowhere to be seen, key crack-pots such as brain-0n-lease ; my beloved ex-HOD the not so young and not so sharp are ruling the declining school with one hair brain idea or another. Retarded and corrupt Frenchie couple are still mooching off uni with their brain less venture.

    Soon senior loony team will realise their folly – hahaha

  4. Dismayed says:

    Don’t know what Faculty you were in, Suzie, but you have probably left just in time, to be honest. KU can’t afford to lose people like you, but many talented and hardworking staff have seen which way the wind is blowing and have left. Other loyal people who have stayed on have then been axed anyway. Our ludicrous and overpaid VC has much to answer for.

  5. Suzie says:

    i always really enjoy your perspective- I’ve just left KU and I can see the problems caused by this poor management

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