Jean Tully Education Correspondent for the New Times continues her exclusive series about the University of Weeengland: HE Minister orders review of HE status
The Minister for Higher Education Milley Willey has ordered HEFCE to undertake an urgent institutional review of the University of Weeengland. This follows a first week of unprecedented disaster which began with an anarchist attack on VC Woodley.
Last Friday morning the Vice Chancellor‘s signature live ‘boar hunting’ lottery draw, was interrupted. VC Woodley and Candice Weymouth, SU President, were briefly captured in an embrace on camera before STUDENTWEB switched to a live declaration from hooded members of the University of Weeengland Anarchist Collective. Waving fountain pens madly UWAC condemned the coalition of state, capital and union which, “cashes in on the future of students to pays for the selfish pleasures of today’s middle aged belly-floppers such as Woodley.” The illegal broadcast switched to images of Professor Woodley. His legs are splayed across his desk while Professor Roberta Rainsford rides him, whipping him with a knout (the Woodley family crest is clearly visible above the table). The existence of such images had long been rumoured, but UWAC today claimed a major propaganda coup in its war against management.
This fiasco was preceded by the release of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the respected rankings of web-ometrics. It ranked Weeengland 16999 out of 17036 institutions across the world. UWEEE was ranked one place higher than Microlink Religious Technology College, of New Athens in the US, a notorious cesspit of Christian Fundamentalist bile. UWEEE is officially the worst University in the United Kingdom. It has displaced London Met and Bolton University from bottom place. The VC of London Met expressed gratitude to Professor Woodley: “VC Woodley has made an extraordinary contribution to improving the image of London Met. I cannot express my gratitude enough.” The web-ometrics report cited cuts in staffing, privatisation of services, and an incompetent, corrupt senior management team as evidence to support it’s ranking. VC Woodley, a guest at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, condemned the ranking system as an asinine exercise, carried out by sterile mules. He pilloried the press, using the sexual harassment of women at the BBC as evidence of press corruption. He claimed that any sexual images of himself were photo-shopped: “Just ask my wife. We have not had sex for five years.” Ironically it was the asses in his own institution who topped off this day of woe.
As news of the anarchist attack, and the world university rating shock, settled in the University braced itself for the publication of the Tyson dossier. Dismissed Head of Registry Jonathan Tyson spoke to this reporter on the 30th of August this year. During that interview he revealed that:
– senior management promotion procedures are bedevilled by the sexual shenanigans of the vice-chancellor and other managers;
– the University values money before learning and has commercialised every aspect of educational life;
-VC Woodley procured undeclared ‘gifts’ from business partners.
Tyson’s dossier documents University life with emails, photographs and cassette recordings of his time at UWEEE. The headlines are familiar – sex for promotion, secret payments linked to commercial transactions, and an unquestioned devotion to money. However, it is the day-to-day detail which shocks. The dossier details incompetence at all levels and in all jobs: academic staff, administrative staff, security officers, admissions tutors – none are exempt from Tyson’s scythe. Tyson does not blame staff: under investment he argues has created an institution where there is no time to do anything properly. In fact, Tyson writes, the anarchists do not need to attack time. Senior management have already done so. In each case he illustrate his claims with stories of particular individuals. The New Times will release these stories through the week, but let’s take the example of a hapless Philosophy admission’s tutor.
The Head of Department Alex Witherspoon, (one of the so-called three musketeers, a fast reaction unit which responds to outside pressures with alacrity) appointed a new lecturer as admissions tutor in 2008. No training was offered, but these instructions were issued:
‘Weeengland is shit and the students know it. Take anyone, but make sure you can justify it. If you get the numbers in I will make sure you get a bonus. Do not be too precious. They all smell of money?’
This lecturer made indiscriminate offers, and never rejected an applicant. The department has the lowest qualified students on any degree programme in the country. Remarkably, this had no consequences for results achieved by students.
Tyson speculates that this accidental experiment in the recruitment of anyone demonstrates one of two things:
- either A-level results are of no consequence whatsoever in predicting degree results,
- or the Department of Philosophy has consistently manipulated degree results and mapped them on to national averages.
Tyson did note that every department in the country manipulates the results profile to improve its rankings. Academic credibility is, he contends, a corrupt myth. Universities must award degrees according to a meaningless statistical mean. This acts as a self fulfilling prophecy, encouraging the award of precisely 15.2% of firsts, 56% of 2:1s and 29.8% of 2:2s or worse. He noted that this last figure must be reduced by at least 2% every year, as evidence of ‘improvement.’
This same Philosophy department awards one-third of course credits to students who work for no pay, completing the outsourced service contracts of Capital A. Learning outcomes include “learning how to wash dishes and clean offices in a competitive environment.” This counts as contact time on the degree’s ‘Key Information Statistics.’ Minister for Higher Education, the right honorable Milley Willey took time out from a champagne cocktail party to congratulate the Weeengland on this aspect of its work. The introduction of students to workplace skills is, he says, an excellent example of the Big Society at work, for free. However, he was less complimentary about Alex Witherspoon’s year 2 Philosophy course titled: ‘When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea: Shopping in the philosophical market place.’
He ordered an immediate review of UWEEE after this reporter brandished the compromising photographs of Woodley in front of him, at the Tory fringe event for lunatic libertarians.
Professor Of Moral Philosophy Josie Wiles was somewhat less circumspect. She described the Head of Philosophy as ‘a corrupt fuck-wit dumber than Bottom in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, with his head permanently up that of an ass.’ Tyson’s painstaking documentation of the failures of UWEEE will form part of the evidence presented to the commission investigating Weeengland’s status.Tomorrow learn more about the madness of HE in England, exclusive to the New Times!