Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The gradual evolution of management practices at my university - from collegiate to Stalinist meant that I was recently subjected to apparatchik scrutiny (rather than mentoring) by someone unknown to me (pictured). I had previously seen this man shuffling about the campus, but I had assumed that he was homeless or attached to some sort of supervised group home facility.

Imagine my surprise then when I turned up to his office and found that my new supervisor, Professor Oldman, and the shuffling derelict were one and the same.

The interview was a shambles. Oldman knew nothing about my work, but simply reiterated phrases from the new "Supervisor's Handbook". These included (in no particular order): obedience; greater glory; five year plan; redouble our efforts; The Dear Leader; you must kneel before me, for I am a member of the nomenklatura (I think this last one was Oldman's own invention).

In amongst the inane prattle it was made clear to me that I was expected to abandon my investigation into the literacy standards of our own graduates. This I will not do, so I have no choice but to pursue this issue in retirement. It is easier to be a true academic in retirement than it is with institutional affiliations.

Note: Professor Oldman is a composite character and any resemblance to any person, living or decomposing is purely coincidental.