Saturday, December 4, 2010

Diary of an Executive Dean

(There was such a huge response to Diary of a Faculty Dean we wanted to continue the piece with the next entries of the diary. Unfortunately, as the Dean is still on sick leave we have been unable to do this. Instead, we have the Diary of an Executive Dean which we hope will shed some light into just how hard the senior management at the Free University work.)

October 15th: Mergers, mergers, mergers – that’s what it’s all about these days. Of course it was a long time coming and then suddenly its panic stations. First we had the Provost’s solemn denials, then the VP’s pathetic obfuscations, followed by months of hints and innuendo. Now it’s bloody panic! We have to find someone to merge with – and soon! No problem, sez I – haven’t we been stringing along the Catholic University up the road for the last 4 years. I’ll give my mate up there a call and see if we can’t produce some inane document or other about closer ties and that kind of horse-shit. It’s worked before.

October 19th: problem sorted! One phone call and a month’s work done – now that’s what I call efficiency. I’m feeling very pleased with myself about the whole thing – I had to calm down the VP. He always gets rattled by this kind of thing. I was a model of calm, told him that it was all sorted and we’d have the paperwork in by the morning. He actually kissed my hand with relief. I can’t wait til his position comes up again, I’ll screw the sap. Anyway, that’s a battle for another day. Now it’s time for Mimi’s Massage Klinik and a little light relief. Because I deserve it.

October 24th: The document finally arrived and it’s perfect. Full of task-sharing initiatives, blended learning, synergy baloney – they lap that stuff up in the Department. Impenetrable flowcharts, muddled lines of command, endless repetition – there’s even an executive and a non-executive summary! Is this a first? Anyway it’s just the kind of rubbish that got us lorry-loads of cash a few years ago, it should do the trick. God I love this job.

October 25th: strange day today. No one seemed to want to talk to me. In fact, they were positively avoiding me. The VP’s secretary gave me the glassy glare that I know means something’s afoot. I call her the canary – when she starts drooping on her perch you know there’s some noxious gasses around. I’ll hold tight and see what gives. Must call my chum in the Catholic University tomorrow, see that everything’s still on track. Off to the Klinik now for a top-up. Nothing like a happy ending after a hard day in the ivory tower.

October 26th: those idiots! They’ve pulled out of the merger with the Catholic University! My friend, or should I say, former friend, was spitting blood at me. We’re chasing a goddamn amalgamation with the Corpus University and the Catholic University has been left hanging. And I wouldn’t mind but Corpus are our sworn enemies – our football team even has a special song about eating their entrails. I’ve been trying to get to talk to the Provost, but he’s been “away from the campus” – i.e. avoiding me. The VP’s secretary was looking especially smug. God I hate this job.

October 27th: finally go to talk to the Provost and plead with him not to dump the amalgamation with the Catholic University, to no avail. He thinks that Corpus is more prestigious. My arse – it’s just bigger and he thinks he’ll get more money if we hide under their coat-tails. What an idiot – we’ll just catch more of their shit, is what’ll happen. I’m despairing. I don’t think Mimi’ll do tonight – I’ll have to call to Mistress Domatella for a sound thrashing.

October 29th: very despondent today. We had senior management briefings about how to break the amalgamation news to staff. Nothing too surprising:
  • Middle Managers: stress the “opportunities” in becoming an even smaller cog in a bigger machine – they lap up that rubbish.
  • Administration Staff: the message is: “don’t worry, nothing will change here”. It’s amazing how gullible these people are.
  • Technicians: brass tacks with these folks, stern line about what needs to be done and how they’ll be dumped if they so much as squeak.
  • Academic Staff: Nothing to say to these guys. Who ever talks to them anyway?

November 4th: Catastrophe! Corpus have ditched us at the altar! Those bastards, they’ve jumped into bed with South Eastern University and are hanging us out to dry. Now we have no-one to turn to – after we screwed the Catholic University they went and got hooked up in some god-awful arrangement with Midlands University and who knows who else. But we can’t be left this way. I was very I-told-you-so with the Provost today, which he didn’t appreciate. Well I’m beyond caring anymore.

November 5th: things are getting desperate. We still haven’t found anyone to merge with. After the general management meeting we went for a few drinks and it soon turned into quite a session. Before the night was out it was looking like the last night in Hitler’s bunker. I finally managed to find my clothes and stagger home at 5am. How long can this go on?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Free University condemns "vicious" amalgamation rumours

The Free University has condemned rumours that it is to be amalgamated with a rival university in an effort to cut costs.  “Such vicious rumours have no basis in fact, or indeed, in fiction”, said university PR Manager Peter Catchup.
The university management are said to be particularly incensed with the suggestion that the only remaining question is which rival university the FU is to be amalgamated with. “There is no way we are going to be handed around like a teen at an Italian prime minister’s party”, said Mr. Catchup.
The union for administration staff has also denied the rumours. Local union representative Shirley-Joe King said “we have been promised by head office that nothing will change. And they crossed their hearts when they promised, so we know it’s true.”
The Free University's Minister for Financial Undersight has also moved to debunk the rumour. "The Croak Park Agreement says absolutely nothing about redeployment or rationalization or saving money or anything like that. It’s the same as all of the other national agreements – it says absolutely nothing,” said Sargent Major Dennis Bloodnok.
According to the FU President “no-one needs to worry. We’d like to assure all of the FU stakeholders that, if amalgamation is to happen, the University management will be the first to read the press release from the Department”.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SCUM and Their OAF’s Training Programme Announced

The Schools and Colleges University Managers, in collaboration with the Once And Future managers have announced a new suite of training courses designed to help Free University managers in their day-to-day work. “We are entering a critical period for the Free University”, said programme coordinator Prof. Shameless R. Sole, “and the skills on offer will be of great use to anyone considering a job as a manager in these savage times.” Offerings include:
Controlling the Squirm Reflex: As any modern manager knows, situations arise on a daily basis in which even the doughtiest would find themselves extremely uncomfortable. Whether it's defending the indefensible, evading responsibility or dumping it on those closest to you, there are a whole set of circumstances that are not for the weak-willed. Crucial to the handling of these situations is the suppression of any telltale physical manifestations of discomfort, such as flinching or squirming. This module is taught by the multi-talented Prof. Mór Onn, whose ground-breaking course “Controlling the Gag Reflex” helped many of the FU’s managers to attain their current lofty positions, and is sure to be a big hit.
Sycophant Development and Handling: The middle manager has always depended upon a coterie of sycophants to act as both a rear and advance guard in battle situations. The development and handling of these suck-ups requires careful attention and in this module staff will be introduced to all of the latest techniques. Included will be a discussion of the on-going nature-versus-nurture debate: can a person be turned into a sycophant or are they just born scumbags? Learn how to harness their cowardice and low self-esteem to maximum effect and remember: the worse you treat them, the more they come back!
Truth and the Art of Creative Misinterpretation: We live in an imperfect world, and while things may not be the way we want them to be, that’s no reason to pretend they aren’t. That’s the message of this module, delivered by FU’s very own Prof. Wun Dum Fuk. Drawing from his vast experience of timetabling, hiring and firing, cooking the books and manipulating colleagues, Prof. Fuk has a wealth of experience to share from the academic frontline. Starting with such novice techniques as Flirting-With-The-Truth and Creative-Misinterpretation, the learner will soon find themselves sucked into the more advanced Bespoke-Falsehoods and Lying-To-Order. Unmissable.
Sleeping at Night: Whether it’s pissing on a staff member while telling them it’s raining, taking flak for the wankers above you, or putting the kibosh on former friends, sometimes sleeping at night is an uphill struggle for academic management. This module will cover all of the bases of ensuring that you get at least a little bit of sleep at night: complete moral schizophrenia, selective memory suppression and targeted ethical anaesthesia. The FU’s in-house Doctor will also be on hand to dispense free tranquillizers. 

Top honours for the Free University, again

The Free University received top honours at the celebration held at 'The Nodnarb Hotel' to mark the inaugural awards night and celebration of the first anniversary since the creation of NAHMAAH- the National Association for Helping Make All Awards Higher. 
Representatives from many institutions attended the lavish ceremony in the hope that their efforts to raise the standard of grades achieved by their graduates would be recognised. 
Professor Slash N. Byrne, the Dean of Academic Standrads, represented the Free University at the awards ceremony and was visibly delighted to accept the 'Hallemup Trophy'. The trophy, named as a mark of respect to the recently deceased Professor Willy Hallemup of the Free University's outreach centre in Duffbally, is awarded on an annual basis to the institution which achieves the greatest level of grade inflation in the shortest possible period of time. 

It is generally acknowledged that the award represents the pinnacle to which the members of NAHMAAH aspire. The significant publicity accruing to the Institute which wins the 'Hallemup Trophy' ensured that competition was always going to be intense for top place. Readers may recall that it was alleged that some security officers of unnamed institutions were recorded on hidden cameras forcefully extracting votes from detainees at a delicate stage of the judging process. 
Thankfully, however, a root-and-branch investigation by the independent office of the Dean of Malfeasance at the Free University - together with the unfortunate loss of some security camera footage- meant that no evidence of malpractice by any party was found. The final decision was not easily agreed by the jury but ultimately, the Free University was judged to have earned the award by the thinnest of margins.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Free University, Professor Slash N. Byrne thanked the jury (which was chaired by the President-in-Perpetuity of the Studnets Union at the Free University, Jay Pee, and consisted of a colourful panel of international beneficiaries of NAHMAAH) "A dhaoine uaisle, I speak for all of us at the Free University when I say that we are deeply honoured to have won this prestigious award in its inaugural year. Meine kameraden, this award is a testament to the benefits of the educationally broadening initiatives and grade semi-desemesterisation structures which our team has worked hard to bring to fruition. Je voudrais to thank our esteemed leader, Chancellor Horatio Hornblower, for his forceful words of encouragement and persuasive acts of cruelty which ensured that we all believe that we think we understand the apparent necessity for these very important changes to our model of blended isobaric pedagogical and tautological methodologies." 
Turning to address the jury panel, he continued: "Ye can be proud of what ye have got. We hope that ye'll never forget your turd-livil collidge when ye are scattered around the far, nether regions of the globe in search of employment. God bless and all that, like- tanks for everyting, so."
We are sure that our readers will join with us when we offer our sincere congratulations to all at the Free University and look forward to the next such awards ceremony.

Free University opens the CLIMAX wing

The Free University today announced that it has finally opened the doors of the much anticipated 'Centre for Looking Intelligent, Modern And Exciting' wing. Construction of this facility, which has long topped the list of essential resources sought by the management team, will mean that that all lecturing staff in need of a freshening up of their lecturing style can avail of this facility's state-of-the art resources. 
Cilla Smileykins, the promotions officer of the Free University said: "Lecturing staff in need of a freshening up of their lecturing style can avail of this facility's state-of-the-art resources." 
In a tour of the facility led by Horatio Hornblower, the Chancellor of the Free University, much attention was paid to the specially designed 'Barnacle Removal Unit', 'Posture Correction Device' and the 'Brain Extractor and Enhancer Machine' which are expected to be among the most popular of the many facilities availed of by the most senior staff.
Sir Hornblower noted that the facility would also be made available to the entirety of the Free University's management team. "I am proud of the dedication which I alone have shown in ensuring that this magnificent facility has finally seen fruition. I have issued Directive 227.2A to my minions requiring that they avail of the treatments and procedures which I have personally selected for each of them."
Cilla Smileykins gushed: "It is a testament to the dedication of our great leader that this magnificent facility has finally seen fruition. May I also add", as she flashed a pearly-white smile, "that I am honoured to have been included in the lengthy list of VIP's who have been personally prioritised by our great leader for the first set of treatments."
When questioned about the status of the impending application for funding to commence construction of the 'Free University Centre for Keeping High the Awards of New Graduates- Experimental Models' (FUCKHANGEM), Sir Hornblower commented: "I expect to be making an important announcement on that matter shortly." 
"An important announcement on the matter of that application will be made shortly by our esteemed leader", purred Cilla.
It is widely understood that this proposed facility has as its objective the imposition of appropriate sanctions on staff who fail to meet targeted student exam success quotas. We shall keep our readers posted of the progress of this application.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Students’ Union Offers Free Tattoos

In an effort to help new arrivals at the Free University to fit in, an innovative partnership between the Students' Union and the Trades Department is offering freshers free tattoos. The tattooing, which is being carried out by trainees from phase 6 of the Ink Apprenticeship course, was a big hit last year with incoming students, as these photos show.

“I tink its grate”, said Union President Jay Pee, “you dont have to be pissed to get a tattoo anymore. And these days you look stoopid without one”.

The University Chancellor also welcomed the continuation of the scheme. “Given the way the apprenticeship area is going, it is heartening to see new groundbreaking courses such as Ink Apprenticeship taking off”. 

Chancellor’s Report

Board of Trustees
Chairman of the Board, Councillor Phlegm Gargle, commended the Free University on the wonderful quality of the crab soup served at the recent Trustees meeting. Questions arose, however, as to the origin of the caviar at the meal – while some thought it must be of Iranian origin, others felt it was more likely of Azerbijani provenance. The Minister of Strategic Initiatives has been delegated to ascertain the truth of the matter and is due to report later in the year.
A special session was held for Trustees on filling out Free University expense claim forms. The session was well-attended and, according to all involved, very informative. The introduction of payment for the time and effort spent in filling out the claim forms was welcomed by Councillor V. ‘Cal’ Maher – “The issue of expense forms has been discussed at every Trustee meeting I’ve attended since 1901 and it is great to see some action finally being taken”.
The other agenda item was the question of the inclusion of Trustees associates on the upcoming visit to the Seychelles University. Following a lengthy debate, it was decided unanimously that while spouses, family and cousins of Trustees could be included in the visit, only ‘close’ friends would be allowed to take part. “This historic decision will finally put an end to the ‘junket’ claims that the media love to trumpet” said Trustee Phil D. Quota. The meeting adjourned to top restaurant Le Coq Hardon.

Student News
Congratulations to student Nora Spect (4th Year Business) on her wonderful success in the Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School egg-and-spoon race. While rumours have surfaced of the use of glue or similar banned substances, the Free University Students’ Union is preparing to vigorously defend Nora’s achievement.

Staff News
All the staff at the FU would like to wish our recent retirees well.  Prof. Shay M. Lesswaster and Prof. Dodge N. Duck have spent many years servicing the Free University and we wish them the very best in the future. The University Health and Safety Inspectorate are investigating the circumstances in which Prof. Duck was struck by the door on the way out, and a full report on the incident is expected soon.
Congratulations to Prof. Patch Slurp of the Department of Absentee Professors on his obtaining of planning permission to build 300 luxury homes in a new ghost estate in Vellybally West. We would like to take this opportunity to commend Prof. Slurp on his ability to work the Free University system so well, and, since we’ll be seeing even less of him over the next year, to wish him every success in his endeavours.