Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SCUM presents: the Faculty of Business Choir

In a much anticipated show, the School and College University Managers were delighted to present the Faculty of Business’s very own staff Choir.  Under the expert conducting of Prof. Slash N. Byrne, the Choir struck just the right note at a well-attended recital in the Free University recently.  Included in the programme were such crowd-pleasers as “Stand by me”, “A spoonful of sugar” and “Me, myself and I”.

Soloists included Prof. Emeritus Dim Blunt, whose audacious rendition of “How could you do this to me” brought the audience to its feet.  Also appearing was the reclusive Prof. Sawf Tutch, who made a rare outing from the University undergrowth to sing “I love you just the way you are”.

Particular attention had been paid to the orchestration, masterminded by Prof. Haggard Sow, who was on hand to prevent anyone drifting away from the well-rehearsed script.  The finale was a heartfelt rendition of “Don’t leave me this way” by Prof. Byrne, which brought tears to the eyes of over half the audience.  

Over the years, members of the Choir have proven extremely popular with Free University students.  Student President Jay Pee said “they are a great bunch of lads and they’ve been serviced by the students many times down through the years”.  It is hoped that the University will play host to the Choir again in the near future, although there are no immediate plans for further recitals.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Centre for Teaching Effectivity Issues Health Warning on New Teaching Methods

The Free University’s main teaching research unit has issued a strongly-worded warning on new teaching methodologies that appear to have unintended side-effects. In at least two cases lecturing staff have been hospitalised while utilizing the methods.

Prof. Ima Aarçe, Director of the Centre for Teaching Effectivity warned “only those who are fully qualified, who have undergone special training, should use the Blended Learner Teacher method. These are powerful tools and in untrained hands can have serious side-effects.”

The BLT method uses advanced teaching methods such as conceptual blending, cognitive meshing and partial pedagogic inversion.  The controversial method often involves confusing cause and effect, competence and confidence, objectivity and subjectivity.

Recent studies carried out by the Centre have shown that the method can lead to instabilities in both lecturers and students. The severity of the side-effects can be linked to the level of the teaching material.  Common side-effects include:

Level 7 – mild irritability, irrationality,
Level 8 – uncontrollable laughter, prone to do circus tricks,
Level 9 – severe irrationality, loss of long-term memory,
Level 10 – ecstatic visions, near-life experiences.

In one recent incident two lecturers got their teaching styles meshed and required painful surgery to be separated.  In another, it was alleged that a lecturer and a student had become enmeshed through rapid pedagogical interactions.  An investigation by the Dean of Malfeasance concluded that there was no evidence for this rumour.

In a better documented case, Prof. Watt A. Sap underwent a full pedagogic inversion and became convinced he was a primary school student.  Prof. Sap is currently on sick leave until he makes his Second Holy Communion.

Despite calls from some quarters, the Free University is reluctant to ban the method, as it has also been shown to result in increased grades.  The Dean of Academic Standrads has made it clear that any attempt to ban BLT would be to the detriment of the University.  “We are where we are, and if we weren’t, we’d be somewhere else where we’d be”.

The Professors’ United Federated Fellowship (PUFF) has been cautious in accepting the BLT method.  “As far as teaching and learning goes, it is the only game in town,” said Prof. R. Bitrary,” and we accept it only under protest”.

The Free University's Minister for Financial Undersight has welcomed the Centre’s announcement. "This is exactly the kind of flexibility envisaged under the Croak Park Agreement", said Sargent Major Dennis Bloodnok.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Message from the FU Provost

It is finally that time of year again. The University is buzzing back to life, the summer holidays a distant if pleasant memory. Students throng the halls trying to work out where they are expected to be, lecturers march around trying to work out where they don't want to be, and presiding over it all with a benign calm, the heads of faculty. 
Such a large jolt of life to the University, will always lead to some hiccups, but I am delighted to report that the first few days have gone off without a hitch. Once again the Free University's much lauded Information System has lived up to its reputation. No more of the headless chicken routines, the room over-bookings, the fisticuffs between lecturers or the crying secretaries. 
Is it any wonder that in our recent Critical Self-examination Process, the Information System received a special commendation? Indeed, this is the only such commendation ever awarded in a  Self-examination Process by an Irish University, which speaks for itself.
While it can be hard to stay positive in these difficult times, we at the helm of the FU will be guiding the ship away from some dangerous rocks and into a glorious dawn. If at times our instructions to row like crazy may not be understood by those without our clear view, please bear with us and, most importantly, do as you're told.
Wishing you a productive and competitive year,
Horatio Hornblower III
Free University President

Clarification on the Meaning of Academic Awards

There has been some confusion about the meaning of the Grades being awarded at the Free University. We at the Office of Academic Standrads would like to assure all of our customers that our awards are of the same fine quality that they have come to expect.
To help FU steakholders,  the Office of Academic Standrads has set out below the exact meaning of the various awards. Any further queries can be directed to my office,

Prof. Slash N. Byrne
Dean of  Academic Standrads

Pass:You know about one third of what you are supposed to know i.e. this result means absolutely nothing.
Merit 1:You made great choices with your electives and all those walkover EBMs have finally added up.
Merit 2: This means that in days past you would only have passed, which would mean absolutely nothing.
Distinction: There was some serious fracas at the Board of Examiners meeting and you were dragged up a full 15% to get this – no one can quite work out why.
Fail: With your performance, even your uncle from Castleisland on the Board couldn’t save you – let him explain it to Mammy.
Exemption(s) granted: Even penny-pinching Free University Professors give to charity occasionally – you actually only passed half the number of exemptions you got.
Noted – Not Eligible for Award: No one in the history of the Free University has ever gotten one of these, so ignore this.
Noted = Subject(s) incomplete: Remember all those Thursday mornings when you woke up with your head in the washing machine instead of being at practicals?
Deferral of Results: That forged note from the University Doctor seems to have worked – now is time
to play the dyslexia crad.
Results Withheld: You might not be embarrassed by your results but we are, and we’re going to keep quiet if you will.
Second Class Honours Grade 1: Appeal this result – you’re bound to get upgraded to a first class honours at the second look.
Second Class Honours Grade 2: Count your lucky stars – all those nights spent in Hormones Nite Klub don’t seem to have halted your progress through the system.
First Class Honours: Don’t take it personally – these days at least 60% of the class has to get this.

Welcum from the Student President

Hi all,

As we are at to the strat of the academic yeer for 2010/2011 I and my close friends wood like to
thank all the adminisistration staff, lectures and heads of deportments and managements for all the hilp and support they'l be giving uz in the next year. We wood like to say thankyou face 2 face for making things a bit easier. In fact, the easier the bettr!

It will be a plehsure working ;) with yee all.

All the Best and someting

Jay Pee

Office of Academic Standrads Announces Semi-Desemesterization of Grades

In line with a recent rubberstamp by the Academic Senate, the Office of Academic Standrads has announced that the Free University will be moving to semi-desemesterization of the grading structure. Under this innovative scheme, students' yearly grades will be determined by the larger of their first and second semester grades. 
The change has been prompted by the confusion created during the recent semesterization of  year-long courses.  The Free University is anxious to ensure that no student is penalised for what most outside observers have called an "utter fiasco". In a bid to see off lawsuits, the Free University has awarded distinctions to the whole class of 2009 in all disciplines, and is now implementing changes to ensure that there is no repeat of what has been a disastrous year.
"We are desperately trying to put this behind us" said the President of the Academic Senate, Prof. Henry Martini. "Our quality assurance mechanisms are now the best in the world," he added hastily.
Dean of the Office of Academic Standrads, Prof. Slash N. Byrne is adamant that the changes will go far enough to satisfy even the most apathetic student. "Other than dropping our trousers in the street and bending over, I'm not sure what else we can possibly do," he said.
Meanwhile, the Free University's Minister for Financial Undersight  has welcomed the changes. "This is exactly the kind of flexibility envisaged under the Croak Park Agreement", said Sargent Major Dennis Bloodnok. 
Another positive spin-off has been the patent on the system, established by the Minister for Barmy Schemes, Prof. Smarm E. Gett. "A number of other Universities have expressed an interest in our model, and we will be licensing out the format through a campus start-up company, Hire Education Ltd." 
A Students spokesman was not available for comment as of Thursday afternoon, since Wednesday night is Pukers Niteklub student night.