A stimulating new degree course

A Degree in Coffee?

Inside Higher Ed has an entertaining piece on the advent of a new degree in the critical area of coffee:

 

A_small_cup_of_coffee

Many students and faculty members consider coffee to be essential to their daily existence. The University of California at Davis could be moving toward offering a major in coffee, The Sacramento Bee reported. The university, already known for its research and teaching on wine, has created the Coffee Center. Faculty members will conduct research on such topics as as the genetics of coffee and sensory perception of coffee drinkers. A long-term goal is establishing a major in coffee.

 

About time too.

Earlier posts have covered similar educational innovations, including the following degrees:

  • Viticulture & Enology: Grape Growing and Winemaking
  • Packaging
  • Puppeteering
  • Comic Art
  • Bowling Industry Management and Technology
  • Bagpipes

A previous post on the provision of bonkers degrees and earlier items covered similar ground including a zombie course at the University of Baltimore and a course covering Lady Gaga together with a study of Beyonce. Also we previously looked here at the launch of an MA in Beatles Studies and the offer of a degree in Northern Studies as well as offering a podcast on “bonkers or niche” degrees and an MA in horror and transgression at Derby.

But this coffee development seems particularly well-timed.

Who are the real VIPs on campus?

Who would you say is the most important person on campus?

We all like to think we are indispensable. Unfortunately this is rarely the case. I sometimes worry the place will grind to a halt when I go on holiday. However, it does seem that things often progress just fine when I’m away (for a brief period, anyway). So perhaps I’m not completely indispensable. Which then invites the question are there key individuals within universities without whom things would just fall apart?

image vip

Obviously there are groups of people who are fundamental to the operation of the institution, starting with academics who teach and research and including grounds staff, catering teams and those who sort out the timetable and run school offices. But who are the absolutely critical individuals?

So who is the most important person in your university? The Vice-Chancellor? Chief Financial Officer? Registrar? Chief Information Officer? Or perhaps others?

You might think that one of the following is more important:

Dean of the Medical school? Head of Grounds? Press Officer? Head of Health and Safety? IT Network Manager? Head of Admissions? Students’ Union President? Head of Security?

Who would you rate as your campus VIP?

#campusvips

Trademarking the obvious in Higher Education

You might be sued for using some pretty common HE phrases

Slate has an amusing piece on universities and colleges which have trademarked seemingly everyday Higher Education phrases such as “student life” and “fast-track MBA”.

According to the piece various institutions have been granted federal trademark registrations on the phrases, presumably to stop other people from using them in any context remotely related to education. At least in the USA. The key terms to avoid:

  • first-year experience has been trademarked by the University of South Carolina

  • fast-track MBA has been trademarked by Eastern University

  • be the difference has been trademarked by Marquette University

  • cure violence has been trademarked by the University of Illinois

  • student life has been trademarked by Washington University in St. Louis

  • students with diabetes has been trademarked by the University of South Florida

  • one course at a time has been trademarked by Cornell College

  • touched by a nurse has been trademarked by the University of Colorado

  • we’re conquering cancer has been trademarked by the University of Texas

  • working toward a world without cancer has been trademarked by the University of Kansas Hospital

  • imagination beyond measure has been trademarked by the University of Virginia

  • tomorrow starts here has been trademarked by East Carolina University

Don't even think of copying this strapline

Don’t even think of copying this strapline

And it does seem that some are not afraid to go after those who use their trademarked property:

The University of Alabama has made legal threats against a cake shop; East Carolina University sued Cisco; West Virginia University sued a company selling blue-and-gold shirts (they said “Let’s Go Drink Some Beers!”—which WVU claimed was too close to their trademarked “Let’s Go Mountaineers!”).

Bizarre. Some of these are such everyday phrases it is difficult to imagine not using them on a regular basis. Although it is a struggle to imagine a context in which “touched by a nurse” might be deployed to positive effect. It couldn’t happen in the UK, could it? (It probably has.)

Trinity rebrand shock

Although perhaps not quite that radical

According to the headline:

‘Ivory towers’ shaken by plan to rebrand Trinity

The Independent has the full story on this shocking plan:

Outraged tenured academics, referred to as Fellows, have held a number of meetings to discuss a proposed change in the name of the college to ‘Trinity College, University of Dublin’.

The college hired market research firm Behaviour and Attitudes to produce a report entitled ‘TCD Identity Initiative’, which showed clearly that the vast majority of students, staff and members of the public are strongly opposed to changing the name.

But the survey also revealed that Trinity was widely viewed as a “snobbish and elitist” institution, rich in heritage and tradition but not really regarded as a modern university.

The report adds that the possible name change is part of a drive to “modernise” to attract more international students. It really isn’t clear how adding a comma and two words is going to deliver that. Nor how the current logo…

TCD-logo-wide

…fails to convey the University bit.

But they could certainly make themselves look more modern. Including by pretending those 420 years of history and academic achievement didn’t happen.

The Ultimate Higher Ed Band List

Higher Ed Bands

We’ve all heard about the bands which formed at college or university: Roxy Music, Editors, Pink Floyd, Everything But The Girl, REM, The Pixies, Talking Heads, Coldplay, London Grammar, Snow Patrol to name but a few.

But now it’s time for a comprehensive listing of the top Higher Education bands who have hitherto escaped recognition. The following bands might possibly have been formed by choosing a name from the wonderful world of Higher Ed. Or possibly not. #HigherEdBands

The Russell Group – swaggering, over-confident ageing southern sextet,strong musical pedigree, extraordinary chart success over many, many years
MOOCs – ultra hip techno duo. yet to benefit from all the free downloads they’ve given away.
Wu Tang UCLan – legendary Preston-based hip hop collective
Million+ – chippy northern upstarts and indie darlings. rarely troubling the charts
Convocation – North-Western Joy Division-lite misery droners
Prospectus – drippy Essex-based shoegazer quintet
Tenure Track – veteran US East coast art-school rockers

Guy Garvey's shameless attempt to make the #HigherEdBands list

Guy Garvey’s shameless attempt to make the #HigherEdBands list

The Registrars – impossibly cool, utterly essential indie quartet. Hugely under-rated
Charter and Statutes – influential British electronic music production duo
Presidents of UUK – Classic soul four piece, now getting on a bit but still able to fill a big venue. Notably disloyal and capricious following
Richard III – challenging midlands/York combo with extraordinary capacity for self-promotion despite limited output in recent years.
The Thelmas – Alternative indie-pop all female group – won more awards than you can shake a stick at
Borderline First – Not as good as they think they are
Search Committee – Welsh guitar-led group struggling for recognition
Ranking Phil B – legendary toaster and founding member of North East reggae collective, League Tables, has continued to enjoy solo success and many international tour dates
Bloc Grant – sprawling large, chaotic and well-funded dance band. Have been forced to downscale in recent years. Often late
Robbins Report – much-lauded and respected 60s revolutionary rockers – launched many imitators down the years (see The Dearing Enquiry and rather flash-in-the-pan Browne Review)
Cable and Willetts – improbably successful DJ and producer duo who,despite rarely appearing live together have enjoyed some modest critical if not popular success
Extenuating Circumstances – moaning Morrissey clone
Erasmus-Mundus – highly travelled multi-lingual trio – huge in continental Europe but have struggled to break through in the UK
Harper Adams – rural agri-folk duo with small but loyal following
RAB Charge – cockney hardcore thrash metal merchants – their stock keeps rising
Brasenose – posh fey indie groovesters
The Adjuncts – grumpy US grunge merchants
Masters – earlier and cooler incarnation of chart-topping PhD with Jim (no relation to Ian) Diamond and some other bloke on synths
Ab Initio – along with their peers, Early Career, it is a bit soon to tell if they are going to take off
Electives – group of moonlighting Status Quo channelling medics who should really stick to the day job (in all our interests)
Humboldt Model – legendary and hugely influential Kraut rock combo

Those are the ones we are able to catalogue. Sadly no details remain of the following bands:

OFT Enquiry
Year Abroad
Adult Learners
Administrative Bloat
Efficiency Exchangeeffic exch
Comprehensive Internationalisation
Science park
Solid 2:1
Eduroam
SHEFC
Open Access
Senate Agenda
Any Other Business
Post-92
HEIF
WonkHE
Hefsea/Hefkey (not to be confused with Hefcoo)
STEM
Cap & Gown
UCAS
London Met
Anglia Ruskin
4* journal
NSS
Learning ResourcesAverage tariff
2* paper
REF return
Trac return
Clearing
PQA
Value added
Non-returners
Partial Performance
Tech transfer
GPA
Summa cum laude
Academic Freedom
shared services
China campus
Knowledge Exchange
USS
Grant letter
First Destinations
Alumni
ASOS
Campus life

Do let us know if you know of any more #HigherEdBands we failed to mention.

(Inspired by a blog post by Hopi Sen on fictional political bands)

Still waiting for a decent new campus novel?

Fertile territory for Higher Ed fiction?

Previous posts on Higher Ed fiction have looked at the end of the campus novel and some flickers in the embers with a few more recent offerings including the Marriage Plot. More recently I also posted on satire in HE which covered, among other things, an unpromising series of British novels which didn’t seem to add greatly to the corpus.

Now Inside Higher Ed has a piece on a professor and a former university president (both in the US) who have both just published new academic novels. The synopses do not inspire confidence. The first, Academic Affairs, seems to hinge on an extraordinary set of circumstances:

As the book opens, Smithfield University graduate student Jim Hagedorn — who identifies as gay, and who is theoretically monogamous with his long-term partner, Kevin — discovers that he has accidentally impregnated his classmate and rival, Sally. Meanwhile, Jim’s thesis adviser, the successful but tormented sociologist Bill Massy, finds himself in the same boat with Smithfield’s provost, Esmeralda Marcos. Marcos has other problems, notably the outrageous request made of her and Smithfield’s president, Roger Turner, by Stanley Egbert, a would-be major donor who is willing to pony up $250 million in exchange if Marcos and Turner will adhere to his conditions. Turner would rather decline the offer, but he’s pressured to accept by Smithfield’s board chair, Peter Hagedorn — Jim’s brother. And that’s just the beginning. (Academic Affairs runs to more than 500 pages, and they’re densely packed.)

The new campus bonkbusters?

The new campus bonkbusters?

The other, Signature Affair, looks like a bit of wish-fulfillment:

Cochran had written a full draft of what would become Signature Affair — the story of Steve Schilling, the charismatic and successful president of Eastern Arkansas University, whose spiraling sex addiction threatens to destroy his marriage and career. Schilling loves his wife, Suzanne, but he can’t seem to stop falling in love with other women as well: an old girlfriend from graduate school; the widow of a major donor; a faculty member; a political contact; even the university’s mailroom supervisor. Indeed, Schilling’s affairs are so numerous that it becomes rather difficult for the reader to keep them straight; Schilling himself manages it only by giving them each a different color of stationary on which to pen him romantic missives, which all five of his paramours are apparently eager to do.

Cochran didn’t set out to write a novel about sex addiction, he said, but as he was in the midst of writing the book, golf superstar Tiger Woods’ now-notorious affairs began to make headlines. As Cochran read news coverage of the scandal, he started to notice parallels between Woods and his protagonist, and he found himself thinking, “This is the guy I wrote about!”

Indeed. It looks like we might have a bit longer to wait for a great new campus novel.

True Crime on Campus §34: voodoo

New year true crime on campus

Some odd things can happen on campus. Fortunately, our unflappable Security staff are more than capable of responding to any situation:

010 Report of a group of youths on Jubilee Campus. The youths were spoken to by Security and told to leave Campus. The youths ran into Exchange Building and then off the Campus shouting and Swearing at the Officers.

0210 Report of a Conference Delegate lying on the ground adjacent to Cavendish Hall. Security attended the male was found to be so drunk he could not stand without assistance and was resident in Willoughby Hall. Security Officers took the delegate back to his Hall a further check on him was made later in the night to confirm he was well.

cherry picker

1520 A Patrol Security Officer observed a Cherry Picker being manoeuvred on the Science Site. The Officer watched as the Cherry Picker drove into a parked vehicle causing damage to the rear of the vehicle. The driver of the Cherry Picker was stopped and spoken to by the Officer. The owner of the vehicle a member of Staff was informed and attended. Both parties exchanged details.

1845 Security spoke to two youths who refused to leave Jubilee Campus. The youths are part of the larger group that has been causing issues on the Campus. The Police were called and on arrival they spoke to the youths and took them home to speak to their parents. Security are to follow up.

2028 Report of two suspicious males sitting on a vehicle adjacent to Newark Hall. Security attended and spoke to the males who were found to be students.

1740 Report of a suspicious male on Beeston Lane. Security attended and spoke to the male who was identified as a Conference Delegate.

1635 Report of a male on the roof of Trent Building. Security attended and spoke to the male who stated he was free running. The male was told to leave and not to go back on the building roof.

2030 Report of a Student with an injury to her hand in Hall. Security attended. The Student had bruised one of her fingers while “fooling around” with a friend.

0100 Report of a dispute between a Pizza delivery driver and a Taxi driver outside Willoughby Hall. Both Drivers stated that they had been sworn at by the other. Both drivers given advice.

Digital-clock-alarm1240 Report of an alarm clock sounding in a room in Hugh Stewart Hall. Security attended and turned the alarm off.

0010 Report of a disturbance at the Mooch. Security attended. It was reported that a group of Students had stolen a box of Cider from a Beer festival. Students who organised the festival had recovered the Cider but two of the group had been punched while recovering it. Security to follow up. Police not involved.

1545 The Porter of Willoughby Hall reported that a sofa was on the roof of the Porters Lodge and that Estates would remove tomorrow.

2315 A member of Staff from Starbucks cafe reported that they had left two grills on in the Cafe. Security entered Starbucks and turned the Grills off.

0255 Patrol Security Officers stopped two males who were running from Hugh Stewart Hall. The males were stopped by Cripps Hall. Officers stopped one of the males who is a guest of a Student staying in another Hall. The male had taken a tin of food from a student’s room in Hugh Stewart Hall. The Warden is to be informed.

1140 Report of a male by Highfields Lake with a Sword. Security attended. On arrival Officers spoke to a number of Students from a re-enactment Society and informed them of the concerns which had been raised. Students’ Union to be informed of Police request to be notified of any further such meetings in this area.

16:35 Security received a report of a cigarette bin on fire outside the entrance of Humanities. On arrival, the fire had been put out with water by a member of staff. The Helpdesk were already aware.

Vudu1510 A member of the public contacted Security to report that there was a Voodoo doll on the Headless Statue adjacent to Built Environment. The member of the public was concerned that Satanic Practices may affect Students. The person was given reassurance Officers attended the Statue and removed a doll with a pin through its head.

2245 Report of a dead body on the footpath adjacent to the Swimming Pool. Security and Police attended. On arrival a male was found to be drunk and unconscious. The male was woken up and spoken to. He confirmed his details and stated that he had been to a works party on Campus and had far too much to drink. This was confirmed by his line manager. The male was taken home for his own safety by the Police.

Dead wood

Not very environmentally friendly

Back in April 2008 I planted a tree at Lenton Rec as a mark of the University’s sponsorship of the park. There was lots of other activity too as part of the support for Nottingham in Bloom.

The report on the event includes a comment from the University’s Off-Camous Student Affairs Manager, Melanie Futer:

“There is a lot of pride in the fact that the Recreation Ground is a Green Flag award-winning park and our hope is that by enhancing it still further we can encourage more people to use the park this summer and in the years to come,” said Melanie.

080417 filmed for posterity webpic

Me. Beside the tree (still alive at this point) [picture from the Parkviews blog ]

The Council was equally positive:

Councillor Malcolm Wood, Chair of the Nottingham in Bloom Working Group, said: “This new sponsorship will bring benefits specifically to the people of Lenton, who live alongside many of the University’s students and who enjoy the park all year round.”

A further comprehensive report on the event can be found on the Parkviews blog 

Lenton Rec is still sponsored by the University and heavily used by students. Whilst the rest of the park looks great, unfortunately, the tree did not prosper, despite my expert digging. That was the first, and I fear the last, time I’ve been asked to plant a tree.

It is an ex-tree. It has ceased to be.

Sorry about that everyone.

Disciplinary differences…

…and similarities.

In an earlier blog post I noted the noted the importance of good discipline on campus. A sound disciplinary framework is important for sustaining a strong idea of community, ensuring students are able to get on with their studies without unwarranted distraction and for developing s sense of social responsibility across the student body. It was interesting therefore to happen across this disciplinary code from the (intriguingly named) Lovely Professional University in India. A few of the highlights follow:

Disciplinary misconduct constitutes but not limited to one or more of any of the acts that follow; and any student found guilty of disciplinary misconduct shall be liable for severe disciplinary action beside the action imposable under any law or regulation in force:

Physical assault or threat to use physical force, against any staff member, visitor, student of the university or any other person;

Irregularity in attendance, persistent idleness or negligence or indifference towards the classes, test or examination or any other curricular or co-curricular activity, any other work assigned or a student is expected to participate in;

Carrying of, possession of, use of, or threat of use of or abetting the use of any kind of weapons including sticks, rods, guns, swords, knifes, etc. and any kind of firework, cracker or any other explosive or anything barred by the university and/or the law;logo_lpu

Misbehaviour or cruelty towards any other student, staff of the university or any other person;

Possession, use of or dealing with or abetting the use of any kind of intoxicating material including alcohol, drugs of any kind, gutka, tobacco, cigarettes or any other sedative material or anything, except those prescribed by a qualified doctor;

Any violation of the provisions of the Civil Rights Protection Act, 1976 or any other law for the time being in force;

Indulging in or encouraging violence or any conduct which involves moral turpitude;

Any form of gambling;

Discrimination against any student or a member of staff on grounds of caste, creed, language, place of origin, social and cultural background or any of them;

Practicing casteism and untouchability in any form or inciting any other person to do so;

Drinking or smoking;

Although some of the language is a little quaint, some elements look rather strange (I fear there might be rather a lot of what might be described as moral turpitude as well as a bit of drinking and smoking on UK university campuses) and some aspects are quite specific to the national context (casteism for example), overall the code is not that different from what we might expect in any western university. So perhaps discipline arrangements at Lovely Professional University are not that remarkable.

That Higher Ed joke isn’t funny any more

Satire in Higher Education.

I’ve written before about books covering higher education in general and the commented on the end of the campus novel as well as its  possible reinvention.

More recently, there has been a series of books intended to capture the humorous and darker side of British higher education life:
A comic portrayal of modern university life seen through the eyes of a Professor of Christian Ethics. Married to the daughter of a baronet, he is rich, successful and eminent. Yet, as he approaches retirement, he is caught up in a conspiracy involving sexual harassment, victimisation and fraud. As he seeks to escape from the web of deceit that surrounds him, he uncovers the dark side of the modern university.
Written anonymously by a prominent academic this comic novel exposes the petty jealousies, excitement and intrigue of campus life in the twenty-first century.

41gU5WOPw8L._SS500_

I failed to get excited by the extracts of this series I have read. However, others were more enthusiastic:

‘I charged through the opening chapters with a growing sense of horror,
paranoia–and recognition. This is a rattling read, and a chilling expose
of political correctness on campus.’ Boris Johnson, [then] Shadow Minister for Higher Education

And seeking to occupy similar terrain there is the  Wading through treacle blog:

The ‘action’ (used in the sense of the narrative and in no way intended to imply that anything active actually occurs at Burston Central) takes place during the spring and summer terms. Car parking is still important, and the anarchy over kettle ownership rumbles on. And as for the ‘multi-functional devices’ which have replaced personal printers….maybe they’re working better. Or maybe not.

So, apart from this latter splendid effort, there really hasn’t been a lot to get excited about on the satire front. But then this very amusing video emerged which was an informercial for a fake online for-profit university. As the Chronicle reported:

At first blush, it might seem like an ad for another online university you haven’t heard of. But “Let’s Profit Off Each Other” is, in fact, the slogan of the fictional “For Profit Online University”—the subject of an 11-minute parody infomercial that, according to the blogSplitsider, was created by former writers for The Onion, a satirical website, and has been airing at 4 a.m. recently on the cable-television channel Adult Swim.

And it’s quite brutal. Some of the gags: FPOU is “proudly unaccredited,” and its students use proprietary online “thoughtcoins” to download facts, purchase “class points,” and buy sandwiches from Panera Bread. FPOU’s enrollment policy? “Technically, if you have a credit card, you’re already enrolled.” Faculty? “Don’t like your professor? Our instructors are easy to replace because they’re spread across the whole world. And they have no way to contact each other.”

Traditional universities aren’t spared, either. For instance, an FPOU transfer student’s testimonial about his bricks-and-mortar college experience: “There were constant sexual assaults, suicides, and building collapses.” FPOU, in turn, promises to do away with “crumbling campuses, full of corrupt, anti-Israel professors.”

It really is very good indeed. Unfortunately, the video itself seems to have disappeared at time of writing.

And then there was this report in Times Higher Education:

The scandals that sometimes line these pages – from stories about grade inflation to sexual harassment and dodgy overseas dealings – often seem like the plot of a theatrical farce. So it was only a matter of time before a play was written about the current dramas besetting higher education.

Sellout – a “political comedy” by dramatist David Lane – gets its first rehearsed reading at the Exeter Northcott Theatre, University of Exeter on 24 January.

At its heart is Frank, a 48-year-old senior lecturer who has just returned from enforced leave after complaining about the fact that student “Jessica Charter was ushered through to her next year of study despite not just failing but getting one of the lowest marks the department’s ever seen”.

When it comes to students, Frank takes the old-fashioned line that “somewhere in that throng of leggings, ironic flat caps and deck shoes is something we’ve never seen before…We need to push them, it’s what they’re paying for.”

Yet everything the lecturer stands for is under threat, from a head of department who wants him to “closely monitor [his] stakeholder interface” and a younger colleague with an Excel program to “time [her] student allocations to the minute”.

With depression, excessive alcohol, collapsing families and doomed office romances thrown in, it is clear that Mr Lane has an amusingly bleak view of university life that is likely to be familiar to many academics.

Amusingly bleak? Bleak for sure. Anyway, perhaps satire in higher education does have a future.

No stress in academia?

Professor ranked as one of the least stressful jobs.

Inside Higher Ed has a report on an annual work survey which again names Professor as a low-stress job.

This year’s report ranks university professor the No. 4 least-stressful job, behind audiologist, hair stylist and jeweler. Seamstress/tailor, dietician, medical records technician, librarian, multimedia artist and drill press operator round out the top 10 least stressful jobs. The No. 1 most stressful job is enlisted member of the military, followed by military general. Unlike last year – when adjunct professors pointed out that uncertain employment and low per-course pay were particularly stressful aspects of their jobs – the ranking notes that it refers specifically to tenured professors.

stress-1

The 11 factors considered  for each of the 200 careers reviewed are as follows:

  • Travel (the more travel, the higher the stress)
  • Growth potential (dead-end jobs tend to create more stress)
  • Deadlines
  • Working in the public eye
  • Competitiveness within the organization
  • Physical demands
  • Environmental conditions
  • Own life at risk
  • Hazards encountered
  • Meeting the public
  • Life of another is at risk

Given the criteria used it is perhaps not that surprising a result. However, it does not feel remotely accurate or seem at all like the other “low-stress” jobs ranked with it. Whilst academia is a long way from the most stressful jobs in front-line military roles the ranking here doesn’t quite seem to capture the realities of what can be highly challenging work.

More real than university itself?

The Sims 3: University Life

Back in 2007 I posted on Sims 2 University. Since then things have become much more exciting it seems.

This Sims 3: University Life opportunity to “play with university life” all sounds incredibly realistic and enables you to attend lectures, organise protests and experiment with street art. And of course do lots of partying.

The-Sims-3-University-Life-Trailer_5

Engage in inexplicable activities!

Are your Sims ready for the time of their lives? Heading off to university opens up new opportunities, from social connections to career growth. From class activities to major-specific objects, your Sim will find new ways to learn! And university isn’t just about hitting the books. Join a protest, flirt at a bonfire party—there’s a lot to explore outside of lectures at the student union. With new locations like the bowling alley and SimBurger to visit, and new activities like juice pong and spray painting murals to enjoy, your Sims are sure to have the time of their lives!

It doesn’t get more real than this:

The-Sims-3-University-Life-Trailer_3

Protest in a realistic fashion about stuff!

KEY FEATURES

Achieve Academic Excellence. Learning is more fun than ever with new major-specific objects, from broadcasting your own radio show as a Communications student to boning up on anatomy using the skeleton as a Science and Medicine major. Your Sims can also learn through class activities, lectures at the student union, and joining in social activities.

Get Ready to Party! Text books and study groups are a big part of university, but sometimes Sims just need to party! From hosting bonfires by the lake to doing juice keg stands at a dorm party, there are lots of ways to have a great time at university.

Make Connections and Network. Grow your social networking skill through texting, blogging, and streaming video. This builds your affiliation with the three social groups on campus—the nerds, the rebels, and the jocks. Building your cred with these groups offers unique advantages, from earning dream jobs to a coveted extra trait.

Actions Matter. Just like in real life, your Sims’ decisions are deeply interconnected. For example, a Fine Arts student benefits from the Avant Garde trait, develops their Street Art skill and cred with the Rebels by tagging and spray painting. Just don’t get caught by the cops!

Reap Benefits After University too! Reach the top job in your career path more easily with faster promotions and a higher entry-level job for university grads. If your Sim becomes a legend with their social group, they may even land a dream job as an art appraiser, sports agent, or video game developer!

Explore the Campus and Town. From striking out at the bowling alley to flirting with the barista at the Roasted Toasted Beans to browsing comic books at Keith’s Komics, there’s a whole new town and campus full of places to explore.

The_Sims_3_University_Life-FLT-www.intercambiosvirtuales.org-03-20130305-200343

Take selfies in gowns!

All sounds even more of a real university experience than university ever did. That’s my next holiday sorted.

True Crime on Campus §33: Best of 2013

True Crime on Campus §33: Best of 2013 and vote for #1

It’s the time for some reviews of last year’s stuff and 2013 has been another busy year for our hard working Security staff. Here are some of my true crime on campus favourites from the year together with an opportunity to vote for the report you think is the best.

 

13:50 Security were called to the Trent Building as a staff member reported two parts missing from a coffee machine. Security to follow up.

0345 Security received a complaint from a Med Link Delegate in Hall complaining that they were too hot in their room. Security attended and turned the radiator down and moved the bed away from the radiator.
radiator-classic-heating

2140 Report of a “smelly blower “at DLRC. Security attended. The hot air curtain at the entrance to the building was thought to smelling. Officers could not detect any issue with it.

1950 Report from a member of Staff that they had dropped their keys down the lift shaft in the Sir Colin Campbell Building. Security attended and were able to recover the keys.

1641 Patrol Security Officers asked a group of people who were in the Lake at Jubilee Campus to get out and leave the Campus.

2316 Report that a Tutor had been Rugby tackled by a student outside the Hall. The Student was part of the American Football team who were having a Social event. Details of two of the group have been taken and will be passed onto the Warden.
tackle

08:51 Security received a fire alarm activation from Computer Science for a room that did not exist. The Porter has reported this problem and the Helpdesk informed. The building was checked and the alarm panel was reset.

 

1200 Report of a male hiding in bushes. Security attended and spoke to the male. As he had no connection to the University and had been drinking he was told to leave the Campus.

swan
A swan? Go on!

1720 Report of a distressed swan in the Road adjacent to Melton Hall Security attended and moved the swan onto the grassed area. The swan appeared to be uninjured and was eating the grass. Officers checked later on the Swan it had left the area.

0905 Report that Conference Delegates in Hall had items stolen from their rooms. Security attended – it was discovered that the Delegates were on the wrong floor of the Hall. All items were safe in their rooms.

1332 Report of a dog running loose on the grassed area adjacent to DHL. Security attended and an Officer caught the dog but the Council were unable to collect the Dog until Monday. The Officer who caught the Dog decided to take the animal home until it could be collected by the Council.

Very dangerous indeed
Very dangerous indeed

1225 Report of a person with a suspected broken ankle on the Downs. Security attended. While dealing with the injured person another person fell injuring their ankle. Both Students were taken to Hospital by Ambulance. Both Students were injured while playing Quidditch.

1950 Request from resident regarding birds in his chimney. Security attended and the bird – a Jackdaw – was apprehended by Officers. The Jackdaw was released by Officers after being removed from the House. At the request of the occupant Contractors were called out to board up the fireplace.

0115 Report of two residents with painful ankles following dancing in the Mooch bar. The residents asked if Security could take them back to the Hall in a Security vehicle – both residents taken back to the Hall.

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1750 Report of children swimming in the fountain adjacent to the Humanities Building Security attended and asked the children to get out of the water and not to swim in there.

1415 Report of a male urinating onto the rear of DHL Building. Security attended and spoke to the male. He stated that he needed he needed to urinate and the toilets in DHL were too dirty to use. The male was given advice and told not to do it again.

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1220 Patrol Security observed a small child on a tricycle fall into the Lake at Jubilee Campus. The child’s Grandfather got the child out and the Officer was able to get the child’s cycle out of the water. The child was unhurt, just wet. They were taken home by the Grand parent.

2354 Intruder alarm Hallward Library. Cause of activation due to a bat having flown into the area. Security attended. Officers were able to get the bat to leave the Building.

20:50 Security provided access for a student who was locked in the Hallward Library as the Library staff had gone home.

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1235 Report of a person trapped in the lift in Tower Building. Security attended. The person trapped was the lift engineer who had attended to repair the lift. A second engineer was able to rectify the fault.

1340 Report of a male strangling Ducks at the Jubilee Campus. Officers attended and spoke to the male who denied it. There was no evidence to confirm the report. The male was told to leave Campus.

5474155241_4918b47ea6Update:‘Report of Theft of £1000 by a Student from his room in Hall on 28/09/13’. A Security Officer from the Covert Team visited the student in his room to conduct further enquires. The student informed him that he had left the money in a top drawer in a bag. The Officer pulled the drawers out and found the money at the back of the drawers. To say the student was elated would be an understatement and he gave the Officer a big hug. Police and Hall Management updated.

0020 Patrol Security Officer observed a male attempting to break into a house. The Officer spoke to the male who stated that this is where all the drugs are. The male then ran from the area and was detained by other Officers who attended. The male was found to be a student from Derby University who was staying with a friend in Hall. This was confirmed by our student. Wardens to be informed. The student from Derby University was extremely drunk.

446707751_e6ed02a1d92145 Report that a student had his hand stuck in a vending machine in Sir Clive Grainger Building. Security attended the Fire Service were called out. The Student managed to free his hand and went to the QMC to be checked due to pain in his wrist.

2120 Report that people were giving out free cider to students in the car park. Security attended. Those who were handing out the cider stated that they had been given permission to do so but had no proof of this so were told to leave Campus. Security are to follow up.

2230 Report that a student thinks they may have Flu in Hall. Security attended.

iphone1130 Report that a mobile phone had been stolen from the Chemistry Building and the owner was tracking the phone. Security attended the Science Site and with the owner concentrated on the area where the phone was tracked too. As Officers closed in on the area the signal from the phone was lost. While making enquires in the area Officers discovered that the owner had in fact purchased lunch in the Coates Cafe and left his phone at the till. The cafe staff had waited for a short period to see if the owner returned when they did not they placed the phone in their safe which was when the signal to it was lost. The phone was retrieved and returned to the owner.

2150 Residents of a Flat contacted the Control room asking for help as their baby would not stop crying. Officers gave the contact number for NHS Direct and attended the flat.

1310 Report that there was a dog in Highfield Lake in distress. Security attended and on arrival Officers observed a male with the dog. The male was spoken to and confirmed he was the owner and he had jumped into the lake to save his dog.

Never a dull moment on campus.

So which is your favourite? I’ve got a selection of the special ones for you to vote on below for no real purpose. Or you could suggest your own. You can choose three.

Let’s hope for more of the same in 2014.

Lift symbol: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Lift_symbool_%28NS%29.jpg

By not very popular demand: it’s the top Registrarism posts of 2013

Well, it’s been a busy old year.

Following the incredibly innovative post pretty similar to this last year I thought I would repeat this highly efficient means of listing previous postings. Yes, it’s the list of the most viewed Registrarism posts of 2012 2013! Here we go then…it’s rankings, rankings, China, rankings, MOOCs, my book, true crime, hobbits, leadership puppies, rankings and yet more rankings.

Let’s hope there’s a bit less league table enthusiasm next year. Unlikely though, which possibly explains why this blog continues to avoid the epithet ‘award-winning’.

Home page / Archives 17,887
Sunday Times 2013 University League Table Top 20 11,789
The Times: 2013 University League Table 5,322
The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian and Complete University Guide League Tables 2012-13 3,657
Times and Sunday Times 2014 University League Table Top 20 Placings 3,261
UK HE in China 2,125
Sunday Times 2012 University League Table 1,595
2014 Complete University Guide League Table 1,540
2013 Complete University Guide League Table 1,310
About Registrarism 1,290
Another World Ranking: High Impact Universities 1,246
The Times, Guardian and Complete University Guide League Tables 2012-13 1,215
Guardian League Table 2013: Ups and downs 1,148
The Times: 2012 University League Table 1,045
Why MOOCs won’t kill universities 1,029
THE World University Rankings 2013 696
Ranking in Latin America 681
Dangerous Medicine on Kindle 586
The Times: 2011 University League Table 563
True Crime on Campus §26: Best of 2012 537
RAE 2008: Results and rankings 487
Hobbit talk 485
Sustainability charts: UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2012 482
The Imperfect University: what do we know about HE leadership? 469
THE World University Rankings 2012 421
New Guardian 2010 UK University League Table 389
Exam stress? Head for the puppy room 371
What about a university professional services NOOC? 356
Daft University Traditions 328
The Imperfect University: Free Information? 328
 

This post also signals a brief hiatus for the holiday period. Back with more tip top higher education posts in the new year. In the meantime, here’s a picture of some cure puppies:

puppies

Robbins? Or Bobbins?

The all new higher education game.

Inspired by the recent Rewriting Robbins conference I thought it would be fun to create a new game to mark the 50 years since the publication of the Robbins report (any resemblance to any silly games popularised by radio’s favourite daft duo, Mark and Lard, is entirely coincidental). So, use your skill and judgement to decide which of the following passages are actually from the mighty Robbins report and which are not. So, which are:

Robbins?
Robbins cover

And which are bobbins?
Bobbins_colored_thread

Answers at the bottom of the page…

Passage 1

The organisation of higher education must allow for free development of institutions. Existing institutions must be free to experiment without predetermined limitations, except those necessary to safeguard their essential functions; and there must be freedom to experiment with new types of institution if experience shows the desirability of such experiments.

Passage 2

We have inherited institutions of very different sizes, with different strengths, different patterns of participation, different offerings by level and subject of study, different local, regional and national orientations, different legal status and governance arrangements and different histories. Some are of very recent origin; some are ancient foundations; most owe no allegiance to any particular group in society; others are church foundations. All of these factors influence the pattern of institutional provision and the institutions’ individual and collective characters and strategic aspirations.

Passage 3

Quite rightly our education system is envied on many levels, stretching beyond our academic excellence. Other countries are attracted to the expertise that UK institutions and organisations can offer on governance models, on professional development and curricular design, on construction, on the international reputation of our qualifications and on management and finance. The attraction also extends to the innovative equipment and technology solutions that our educational suppliers are constantly developing. But the UK can also learn from others. Countries like India quite rightly want a reciprocal partnership with the UK based upon shared values and mutual respect.

Passage 4

Students should be expected to spend a substantial part of their vacations on work related to their fields of study. Guidance on how best to use the vacations should be given by the institutions in which they are studying, and evidence that the time has been used to good purpose should be required.

Passage 5

Halls of residence in the traditional sense, where some teachers also live, and where teachers and students dine together, have common rooms and other social facilities, are expensive and they are not necessarily desirable for all students. Halls of residence provide a sense of real community; but to some students they may seem unduly restrictive.

Passage 6

Our visits overseas suggest that, in the long term, other nations will increase their investment in higher education to sustain their economies. There is some emerging economic evidence to support such an approach. First, that countries which are the first to develop new research and technology capabilities gain a long term advantage over their competitors. Secondly, that ‘the weight of evidence is increasingly that education is positively associated with income growth and higher education seems to be the most relevant educational variable in more developed countries’. As a matter of economic strategy, we must match international levels of investment to anticipate and respond to the changing structure of the international and national economy.

Passage 7

It is the essence of higher education that it introduces students to a world of intellectual responsibility and intellectual discovery in which they are to play their part. They have to be taught techniques and methods and acquire a corpus of relevant knowledge; but, more important, they have to be inspired to learn and to work. The element of partnership between teacher and taught in a common pursuit of knowledge and understanding, present to some extent in all education, should become the dominant element as the pupil matures and as the intellectual level of work done rises.

Passage 8

In some universities postgraduate students may be a further potential source of assistance in informal teaching and the conduct of discussion groups. At present about half of all students in courses leading to Ph.D. degrees do some teaching, the proportion being much higher in science than in arts.† There are obvious dangers here both for the postgraduate, who requires all the time he can find for his own work, and for the undergraduate, who should not be dependent on inexperienced teachers. But with proper safeguards and with proper departmental supervision a small amount of teaching is good for some postgraduates, and would give them an introduction to university teaching. Further, undergraduates may benefit from being taught by those who have recently passed along the same way.

Passage 9

In the professions, the UK’s institutions, such as its accountancy bodies, command worldwide respect for their roles in setting standards of entry to the professions and for professional development, covering ethical as well as technical standards. The qualifications offered by UK professional bodies are seen as benchmark standards in countries around the world. These qualifications are valued by business and governments for the depth and breadth of finance and business skills they teach, and by students because they open a wide range of international career opportunities.

Answers below:
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Passages 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 are from the Robbins Report
Passages 2, 3, 6 and 9 are Bobbins – 3 and 9 are from the BIS report International education strategy: global growth and prosperity and 2 and 6 are from the Dearing Report.