Ivory Tower: We take a look at the research return of another celebrity academic
A room on floor four of the university administration building.
Research manager: Do come in, thank you for coming.
Academic: I came in the lift. Something of a gift, to get me through this shift, double swift, swift.
RM: Err yes… you’re from the creative writing department, aren’t you?
Academic: A lucky guess, I do confess, but I must in the affirmative, answer yes.
RM: Are you Greek?
Academic: No. Should I go? If there’s been a mistake, do say so.
RM: It’s just that it says here, Dr Zeus, thought that would be Greek.
Academic: Seuss is the name, poetry is the game, children’s rhymes for testing times.
RM: Wretched autocorrect, must switch it off from the staff data base. Yesterday, I had someone from the Chemistry department in here. Turns out he wasn’t called Dr Jackal at all. Maybe that’s why his friend Mr Hyde kept interrupting… anyway, good to touch base, I just wanted to catch up on your research plan.
Seuss: Plan? Sam I am. I do not have a research plan.
RM: Sorry, I thought you said it was Seuss? Is it Sam Seuss?
Seuss: I do not have one, Sam-I-am. I do not have a research plan.
RM: It says here you have a workload allocation and a significant responsibility to conduct research.
Seuss: I am a writer and need to be free. I cannot be part of your organisational tree.
RM: Sadly, it’s not down to me. So, I have to ask, do you have a plan?
Seuss: Sam-I-am. I am not a fan of the research plan.
RM: Perhaps not today, but you could do it at home, or we could talk later over the phone.
Seuss: I would not like it in my home. I would not like it on the phone. I would not like it here or there. I would not like it anywhere. I would not like a research plan. I would not like it, Sam-I-am.
RM: Listen Sam…
Seuss: Dr Seuss to you.
RM: Dr Seuss, I’m going to have to see your outputs. Could you drop them off in a box?
Seuss: I would not leave them in a box.
RM: With a list of research talks?
Seuss: I will not leave them in a box. I will not list my research talks. Not in my home. Not on the phone. I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere. I do not want a research plan. I do not want one, Sam-I-am.
RM: Would you? Could you for the REF?
Seuss: I will not list them for the REF. I will not list them for the KEF. I will not even list them for the TEF. I will not list them, are you deaf? I will not list them at my home. I will not list them on the phone. I will not list them here or there. I will not list them anywhere.
RM: If not for me, then for your head of school?
Seuss: I will not tell my head of school. They could never be so cruel. I will not be in your research pool. I will not use your online tool. I will not follow the open access rule. I would not, could not, be such a fool. I do not have a research plan. I do not want one, Sam-I-am.
RM: I’ll need to report this up the chain.
Seuss: Up the chain?
RM: I am going to have to put things in train.
Seuss: You can report me up the chain. You can report me to the train. You can report me in the rain. You can wash me down the drain. I do not want a research plan. I do not want one in a can. I do not want one you can scan. I will not meet the research man. I do not want one, Sam-I-am.
RM: Well, you’ll just have to do more teaching then.
Seuss: That’s different.
RM: Now, I have your attention.
Seuss: The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So, we sat in the research support office on that cold, cold, wet day.
RM: I’m beginning to think you‘re not a real doctor.
Seuss: Truth to tell, I’m more of a concoctor.
RM: Is this what you call practice-based research?
Seuss: Maybe we could talk again in March. When teaching’s done, and we can all have fun, fun, fun.
RM: I could not put you in the REF.
Seuss: Not in the REF? What about the KEF?
RM: I could not put you in the REF. I could not, would not, in the KEF. I would not name you in the TEF. I would not even have you as a chef. We need something with more heft. I’m sorry to say, it’s time you left.
Seuss: Leave this office? Sorry if I’ve been incautious. I never thought I’d see such callousness, to send me to teach undergraduates.
RM: You’ve only got yourself to blame, and it really is a terrible shame. But the REF has been around for some time, to pretend otherwise truly is a crime. I’m afraid as a scholar you are well past your prime, and if all you want to do is rhyme, then you should really do it on your own time.
Seuss: Is this interview at an end?
RM: Frankly Sam, I’ve been driven round the bend, by your nonsense which isn’t worth twenty cents. Get thee hence, and we’ll treat this talk as if in the past tense.
Seuss: Ah well, I had just finished my book. Sure you wouldn’t like to take a look?
RM: I do not want to look at your book. But if it meant you’ll leave and that’s what it took… Dear me, this is very sloppy. There is no research, no bioscopy, no endoscopy, just a cat in a hat in an old jalopy.
Seuss: It’s sold over 600 million copies.
RM: 600 million, you say?
Seuss: As of today. There or thereabouts, the publisher no longer counts the sales, rather they weigh, from Norway to Marseille, the units for which people pay.
RM: Why didn’t you say? Dr Sam, sit down. Don’t leave, turn around. I was only joking when I said you should be sacked. Don’t you know, you’ve got impact!
Seuss: I don’t understand, have you cracked? A moment ago, you said get your bags packed.
RM: Dr Seuss let’s make a pact. Whatever it was your research plan lacked, it’s more than made up for by your impact. I would go so far as to say, in fact, that we can count you in our next return for TRAC.
Seuss: Well, I have to say my schedule is jampacked. Perhaps, you would like to give me a research-only contract.
RM: No more teaching?
Seuss: No more teaching, no more student beseeching, no more colleagues screeching, no more managers overreaching. That’s my price, otherwise I’ll walk and take that list of my research talk, with my outputs in a box, to another Uni less on the rocks, how does that sound buddy?
RM: Come now Sam, don’t be a fuddy duddy, we’ll make you an impact case study.
Seuss: And the contract?
RM: Leave it with me, let me see. I’ll go have a word with the PVC.