Laurie Taylor Column
What Are You Reading on Holiday?
We continue our investigation into academic holiday reading by making another surprise call to a leading university figure.
This week : Jamie Targett, Head of Corporate Development, University of Poppleton.
Holiday venue : The Excelsior Mind and Body Motivational Centre (somewhere up north).
Jamie Targett : Targett.
Times Higher : Ah, Mr Targett. Times Higher . We wondered what you were reading now.
JT : On or off the record?
Higher : On.
JT : I'm reading a major new volume called The Three Stage University: Maximising Control and Intellectual Output by Daniel J. W. Chegwin. It's an analysis of the main stages in the evolution of the contemporary university.
Higher : What's Stage One like?
JT : This is what Chegwin calls the "Academic Community Stage". Essentially anarchic. No real leadership. Morale is high, but productivity dangerously low.
Higher : And Stage Two?
JT : That's essentially the present situation, what Chegwin calls the "Biscuit Factory Stage". A control-and-command model with strong vertical hierarchy and an emphasis on production targets but with residual elements of obstructive individualism.
Higher : And Stage Three?
JT : That's the interactive model, with a high degree of horizontal organisation and one central electronic control system ensuring that students can be quickly fed with correct information using a multi-screen information system with high bottom-end levels of continuous surveillance.
Higher : And what does Cheggers call that?
JT : The "Call Centre Stage". Very much the coming thing.
Higher : Thank you, Mr Targett. Off the record, are you reading anything else?
JT : By my bed is a book called Nineteen Eighty-Four . Professor Lapping sent it to me suggesting it might be relevant. I can't think why. It sounds so out of date.