Following the controversial Swansea university Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor Hilary Lappin-Scott’s (HLS) overheard conversation with a colleague (C) after returning from Havana, Edwin Phillips listens to more of her plans to link with the city’s university.
HLS: (Excitedly) so lovely to see you again at this working breakfast!
C: (Tries unsuccessfully to eat quickly and leave) Um, yes.
HLS: (Firmly) Just to continue our wonderful conversation, as you know my travels abroad are purely on behalf of Swansea university.
I tweet about them because people obvs want to know where I am.
Conflating holiday time and work time is one of the perks of my very demanding job as Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor as well, of course, as having the pleasure of working closely with our esteemed Vice-Chancellor (Richard Davies).
But it is obvs that the time I spent in Cuba working tirelessly on behalf of Swansea university should not come out of my annual leave.
As members of the closely-knit, supportive Swansea university family, I am sure that none of you would disagree with that.
C: (Mumbling with crumbs in mouth) er, I am not so certain about that.
(Coughs and gives up eating quickly) after all that fuss we had about the students’ petition, what is Swansea likely to get out of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Havana university you told me about, anyway?
We don’t want the sort of fiasco that Aberystwyth got involved in with their Mauritius campus.
HLS: (Appearing not to hear) two obvs benefits flow to Swansea university, rather than to me personally, of course.
First, I will be able to say that the MoU contributes significantly to an even greater awareness of Swansea in a global context.
As you know, my academic responsibilities at the university include the student experience, academic standards, research and entrepreneurship, travel, twittering, and most importantly, internationalisation.
Getting an MoU signed with Havana university would be a great addition to my CV and would rank as one of my greatest academic achievements, of which as you know, there are many.
This would also be very useful when (I hope the day never comes) our esteemed Vice-Chancellor decides to go into a well-earned retirement.
Second, some of my favourite members of faculty who are mostly women will benefit, but there will also be a couple of men – including the Vice-Chancellor himself of course!
Obvs he will need to go out to Havana and scope out the opportunities for research, networking, conferences, and, just as importantly, leisure.
C: I thought it wouldn’t be long before you mentioned that.
HLS: Well, we all need a bit of me-time, don’t we?
In my case it’s me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-time!
A small joke there for you to enjoy.
On the flight back, I sketched out my short-term plans for a conference next year – The 2017 Global Conference for Diversity and Gender Equality hosted by the University of Havana and sponsored by the University of Havana and Swansea university.
C: (Wearily) I suppose you will figure in all this.
HLS: (Appearing not to hear again) the order will be this:
Keynote Speaker – Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swansea university.
Conference Organiser – Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swansea university.
Chair of Organising Committee – Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swansea university.
Organising Committee – Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swansea university.
Break-out groups will include a special masterclass session on how to go around the world on one set of PowerPoint slides (principal, and only, speaker – Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor, Swansea university).
HLS: (To self) all I have to do now is to look at the annual weather forecast to pick the best month (when the weather in Swansea is wet and windy) and my work will be done.
The details can be left to others at the university
The Vice-Chancellor can come out to Havana to introduce me at the conference but his approval of the event is a guaranteed cert — and will be as quick as anyone can say ‘Vilebrequins’.
(Loudly and excitedly) It will be brill, fab, and awesome!
This creativity, global awareness, and linguistic ability are all characteristics of my USP* (to self again) … and all before finishing breakfast!
Garçon, un autre croissant, s’il vous plaît.
* Note – for non-marketing and non-entrepreneurship experts, USP = Uniquely Special Personality