Archive | August 2014

If academia was a sport: the press conference

“So, you’ve fallen in the latest Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings, do you think that will effect your ability to recruit the top ATAR students next year?”

“Look, we acknowledge that we have fallen in those rankings but you have to take into consideration the particular measurements they use. Like all rankings they place weight on some areas and not others…we’ll look at the numbers once we get them in full and address any concerns that may be there.”

“Are you worried you will lose your high flyers?”

“No, not at all. We have a number of ECRs who are performing well at B and C level. And what pleases me is that they’re cross-disciplinary in their approach. They keep an open mind and that in turn gives the University options, it is beneficial for the broader good.”

“So you’re looking at the future, you’re not convinced you’re going to keep hold of your stars?”

“That’s not what I said. I have no doubt that our “stars”, as you put it, have as much faith in what they are doing here as I have. Sure, we have a few out on sabbatical at the moment but that is part of the tradition of this institution and to do without it would be damaging to this institution, and to academia in general. I don’t see that as a negative, I think anyone who did would have to question their commitment to scholarship.”

“You’re midway through your term as DVC, how would you rate your performance?”

“I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess, that’s not for me to gauge. Like all academics, you do at times feel fraudulent, but that comes with the territory. The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know. If you think you know it all, you’re obviously not meant for this environment.”

“What do you say to claims that your University is losing its appeal?”

“I am not sure what you mean by “appeal”, it’s not a term I would use when talking about higher education or scholarship in general but I know you need an answer so I would say that it’s not a concern. We’re still here. Cancer still needs to be cured.”

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