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Showing posts from February, 2014

Academic v administrative staff in HE: A recipe for disaster?

Here is a joke:

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 51 and 52 degrees latitude and between 0 and 1 degree longitude.”

“You must be an academic,” said the balloonist.

“I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist ”everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no ideas what to do with your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all.”

The woman below responded, “You must be an administrator.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of h…

Creative Writing can make you more employable, and make your essays better

I have been pondering of late my new venture into teaching Creative Writing - which I will be doing this semester. It comes at the same time that I have been expending considerable thought on how to embed employability more explicitly into the English modules which I teach, and one of the first things I have had to address is the issue of how useful a Creative Writing module will be for students?
After all, the idea of Creative Writing on an English Literature and Language degree might at first seem a little incongruous. Even the images associated with 'Creative Writing' tend towards the archaic and the disconnected: Old type-writers, pencils and fountain pens scratching away on parchment-type paper.  Unlike linguistics or the theoretical and historical weight of Language and Literature, the idea of sitting around discussing our own jolly wee stories might seem a little irrelevant - like an short vacation from the critical rigours of academic study. 
Of course, this impr…