There is a heatwave, and it is clear that Victorian buildings, however beautiful, are not ideal places in which to work in such weather. The marked absence of neckwear among the senior management team suggests that even the more conservative among us have decided to accommodate ourselves to the times.
If only it were that easy on the political front. With threats from Brexit and Trump on the international front, and from Corbyn and the least competent government since Lord North on the home front, it is hard to feel that things can only get better. As a deep-dyed conservative, this is what I expect. That anti-Semitism has made a comeback is deeply depressing. These are times to try the spirit.
As colleagues pack themselves off for exotic (or not so exotic) destinations, and the thoughts of others turn to the holidays, those of this pro vice-chancellor turn to something most academics scorn: league tables.
It is almost obligatory to play them down. Like any measurement of performance that is not purely financial, the university league table metrics have their weaknesses. But the days when universities could grandly refuse any form of assessment other than their own are, thankfully, long dead.
Our students here at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, pay £9,250 a year for their tuition. If you add on living costs, their total bill across three years is in the region of £50k. They have the right to know that what they are getting is the first-rate education that we, along with all other universities, claim to be offering.
So it was a delight when the National Student Survey figures recently came through to see that we have risen 56 places and, at 88 per cent student satisfaction overall, have the most satisfied students in London.
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