Saturday, 20 December 2008

RAE of sunshine?

Just gone midnight on the day the Research Assessment Exercise results are announced. "Mr President" and I are at work huddled around a computer waiting for the press releases to roll out on the web site along with a video recording of our esteemed leader congratulating the staff for their hard work.
Triumphal music played accompanied by sweeping shots of our old buildings (carefully angled not to show the ugly 1960s buildings), jauntily lit stills of beautiful female science students looking at exciting hi-tech apparatus from strange angles, before fading in to a shot of the Vice Chancellor with a back drop of oak panels and leather bound books "Fellow academics I would like to congratulate you all on the hard work that you put in preparing the RAE submission and above above all in contributing to the innovative and World Leading research effort here at Funcaster. I can say categorically that on the weighted aggregated and normalized score over multiple units of assessment we can safely say that we have put clear water between us and our nearest rivals. Our ambitious 2020 vision of Funcaster as a World Leading research intensive university is clearly on course with over half of the outputs submitted to the exercise judged to be of at least international standing...."
Well done Vice Chancellor. How did you manage to prepare the video at such short notice, we only just got the results?
Oh I had it made ages ago...
But Vice Chancellor last week you told me you had no idea how well we had done.
I didn't Snedders. I made two videos. The other was my resignation speech!
But what about the figures you quoted?
Well it all depends on the words "weighting" and "normalized". Choose the right fudge factors and you can come up with a league table that says pretty much what you want.

About Me

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Adam Upwrite is Professor of Creative Accounting at the University of Middle England. His Registrar's Diary is about a fictional registrar and an equally fictional English university.