As news spreads of the appalling treatment of staff in various restructurings, Queen Mary management has attracted the dubious honour of being skewered by the UK’s leading satirist of Higher Education, Laurie Taylor, in his well-loved column “The Poppletonian”, in the Times Higher. “The Poppletonian” is a satirical newsletter of a fictional university which embodies the very worst of sectoral mismanagement. QM has now been the inspiration for Poppleton’s management drones not once, but twice, in successive weeks!

From the 7 June issue, inspired by the disciplinary procedures launched versus Dr Fanis Missirilis (and Prof John Allen) for daring to question the SBCS restructuring publicly:

The rustle of censorship

It appears that last week’s edition of our sister paper, The Poppleton Evening News, carried a letter from Dr Gene Ohm of our Biology Department criticising this university’s metrics-based redundancy programme.

We now learn that, following the precedent set by Queen Mary, University of London, Dr Ohm could be found guilty of “gross misconduct” and face “disciplinary proceedings leading to dismissal” for having the effrontery to raise such issues in a public place.

Louise Bimpson, the corporate director of our ever-expanding human resources team, admitted that this response might appear “severe” but pointed out that Poppleton was eager to follow the disciplinary practices set by such soon-to-be members of the prestigious Russell Group as Queen Mary. Thus it was only to be expected that we would seek to emulate its espousal of draconian censorship. She hoped this clarified the situation.

From the 14 June issue, a more general stab at the restructuring process:

Clear your desk – you’re restructured

“It’s a thrilling new way to get rid of people,” said Louise Bimpson, Corporate Director of our ever-expanding Human Resources team, as she unveiled Poppleton’s innovative range of measures for weeding out academics who were no longer a part of the university’s strategic plan going forward.

Ms Bimpson admitted that in devising Poppleton’s new CRP (creative redundancy process) she had been influenced by the “admirable process” for sacking significant numbers of people recently developed at Queen Mary, University of London.

This process gave underperforming academics a set of specific targets, such as publishing a certain number of papers in a certain time frame, submitting grant applications worth a certain amount by a certain date, or obtaining minimum scores in student feedback on their teaching.

These were all excellent ways of separating “the wheat from the chaff”, said Ms Bimpson. “But here at Poppleton we believe we’ve added a little extra creativity to the art of getting shot of deadwood. From now on all underperforming academics at Poppleton will be required to meet the targets set by Queen Mary but, in addition, will also be required to satisfy management by bending over backwards, jumping through a selection of specially designed hoops, and contriving to stay afloat after being attached to a ducking stool and thrown into the university’s plastic-bottomed lake.”

Ms Bimpson allowed that while Queen Mary may have pioneered the art of “crude metrics”, she liked to think that our own university’s additional proposals “had raised crudity to an even higher level”.

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