Thursday, 25 November 2010

Student Experience (1)

I think that you need to meet Gareth,
my favourite PhD student.
I was planning to keep him all to myself
but that would be selfish because
Gareth needs an Appreciation Society.

Today Gareth arrived in my office
with a bag of fruit scones and plain scones
(baked by himself)
and a jar of home made jam
and a tub of clotted cream.

Thank goodness it is at least three years
before he submits his thesis.

original post

Student Experience (2)

I am very sorry but I will not be able to attend tomorrows lecture as I have managed to stupidly give myself food poisoning . But I will ensure someone gets me a hand out and I catch up on what I have missed. Very sorry again, will cook chicken more thoroughly from now on.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The New Principal visits The Department

MrsM wakes up at 4.30am
and wonders if she booked the catering.

MrsM spends an unreasonable amount of time
trying to decide whether
a contemporary wooden necklace
is more appropriate than
a shimmery necklace of mother of pearl.
She takes both.

The Head of Department
is anxious about his tie
because the knot is slipping.
MrsM assures him that it is not noticeable.

The Lady Professor
is worried about her skirt.
It is a beautiful purple silk
with a clingage issue.
MrsM assures her that it is not noticeable.

The Head of Department reviews the presentation
and makes changes at the very last moment.
MrsM shuts her eyes and prays
that he will not delete it accidentally.

At 9am the Principal arrives with the Dean
and finds the whole Department
sitting expectantly in the Board Room,
name badges neatly attached.

MrsM is thrilled to discover her photo
at a feature point of the presentation.
She resists the temptation to whisper "That's mine!!"
She notices that the Principal smiles.
Well...she is sure he did.

As the Principal leaves the Board Room
to tour the Department
MrsM's best friend from catering
is waiting around the corner
with the trolley of coffee and biscuits.
MrsM resists the temptation to hug him.

MrsM briefly panics when she remembers
the Daniel Craig feature wall
in the Departmental Office but knows that
it is part of the Student Experience.

MrsM wonders if the Principal notices
the smell of furniture polish,
or the impressive display of posters
or the immaculate noticeboards.

The Principal leaves promptly at 11am
and the Head of Department breathes out slowly
for the next hour and a half.

The Principal writes to thank the Department
and praises the evidence of excellence
in teaching, external engagement and research.

There are exceptionally difficult times ahead
for Higher Education and particularly Geography.
The Department will need friends in high places.

original post

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

all in a day's work

If you were me
you would have met
these students today:

four early birds
waiting at my door when I arrive
with essays hot off the press

a finalist who needs to borrow books

a late bird who delivers his essay
dressed in pyjamas and slippers

a very tall, athletic lad with a limp,
(tendon problems, apparently)
accompanied by two very small admirers

an anxious first year
who has missed the deadline
to pay for the field trip to Spain

a new PhD student from Canada,
delayed by visa issues,
but here at last,

an exchange student sending greetings
and a warm weather report
from the University of Arizona

a student with a complicated medical problem
weeping with frustration
at the inconvenience of illness

a beautiful young Belgian
collecting a red rose
delivered by an admirer*

a vivacious PhD student
with long blonde hair
and fabulous black nail polish
left over from Hallowe'en

my lovely South African friend
who asks about MasterM
and knows how far away he is

a Masters student in Peruvian bobble hat
coming in to start work as I leave


*actually, that wasn't today
but I thought that you should know about it

original post

Thursday, 4 November 2010

the world comes to me

Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio
Map of the North Pole/Arctic
Mercator (1595)

The brilliant young ice scientist from Denmark
is visiting to give his annual lecture.

He tells me about the silent ice world that he works in,
flat, white and bright with constant daylight.
After a while you lose track of time
and the only thing that breaks the monotony
is the wild party that is organised every Saturday.
The scientists set to with chainsaws and create an ice bar
which is loaded up with an impressive amount of alcohol,
the musk ox steaks start sizzling on the barbecue
and then the party begins.

If his outrageous Nigella impression
is a glimpse into Saturday night life on ice
it would be serious fun to be around.

In my next life I am going to be an ice scientist.

original post