After her ‘tweets’ from around the world which have infuriated staff Edwin Phillips is still at a confrontation between contentious official Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University (H L-S), and a bored colleague (C), about the results of her paid trips abroad and meetings with famous people.
C: (Feigning interest again) and what about your other contributions?
H L-S: (Appearing to jump about) as the world knows, as well as being an expert in entrepreneurship, I am all about gender, equality, and networking.
For example, none of the other members of the Regional Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, Wales (REAP-Wales) team had recently met Princess Anne, so that was one-up for H L-S!
My other recent top contacts included Stephen Kinnock, who has a famous wife (Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a former Prime Minister of Denmark), the well-endowed Ken Skates – the names go on and on.
It is a veritable parthenon of Z-listers.
My team was, understandably, very impressed.
C: (Mischievously) but I thought that REAP was about innovation and entrepreneurship.
For instance, the REAP programme says that the participants will “understand key drivers of successful innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems”.
I understand the word ‘innovation’ in there, but what does the rest actually mean?!
H L-S: (Not picking up on the barb) I am so glad you asked that.
Women have clearly been under-represented in science and we need to redress the balance.
(Coughs) have you seen my acclaimed TEDx talk on YouTube?
As you know, it is my life’s work to get gender equality in Australia, as well as push Swansea up those all-important rankings I tell everyone about.
C: (Losing patience) do you understand what you are talking about?
What the heck has your answer got to do with REAP, innovation, and entrepreneurship?
H L-S: You clearly don’t understand.
Women have obviously been under-represented in science and we need to redress the balance (to self) er, have I said that before?
C: (Also to self) I might as well be talking to an automaton.
(Louder) so am I to assume that your contributions to the team discussions were somewhat limited?
H L-S: That’s as true as that absurd petition calling for better degrees at our esteemed institution!
(Triumphantly) ha – did you see what I did there?!
I, um, turned it round to cast aspersions on the petition.
Anyway, all of my REAP team wanted to hear about my life’s work to get gender equality in Australia.
(Quietly) Their eyes appeared to be glazed over but I expect it was in admiration and envy as I recalled last year’s lecturing holiday in Oz.
C: (Shaking head and quietly) we are getting nowhere.
Let’s move on.
(To Hilary) so since returning, what frontiers of knowledge have you pushed back?
H L-S: Er, there have been two key events.
First, I was super-excited to have reached my 10,000th tweet without being sternly talked to by Richard (Davies, Vice Chancellor).
I used the tweet to thank my wonderful colleagues at Swansea University.
I was going to identify them individually but I would have needed nearly my 140 characters just to name all 12 people at the university with whom I remain on good terms (Richard B Davies alone takes up, um, a lot).
C: (Gaining confidence) so how would you reply to somebody who says that Twitter is the natural habitat of those that have a desperately pathetic craving for self-publicity and public approval, and that it is simply a vehicle for sad, trivial, lonely, and insecure people who have an irresistible need to tell their followers that they, for example, have had a short night’s sleep?!
H L-S: (Deliberately ignoring question) second, I have written an article and this time I have done it all by myself.
It is what we academics call ‘sole-authored’.
The article is published in a magazine called The Conversation which is a world-famous top-ranking academic journal that comes out weekly.
I also usefully added a link in the article to my TEDx talk on YouTube where I highlighted that very important fact about Swansea having the first female professor (have I mentioned this before?).
(To self) it was typical of that vexatious website The Eye to distort it.
C: (Sarcastically) I have heard that the article is, surprisingly, about gender and equality
H L-S: Too right, as we say in Australia.
The article is entitled “To get more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) little girls need better role models” and is likely to be one of the principal papers (if not THE principal paper) which will form the basis, together with my TEDx talk (have I mentioned this before?), of Swansea University’s submission to the next Research Excellence Framework in 2020.
C: (Sighing) I have also heard that the content of the article is identical to your YouTube video.
Is this yet another case of your re-cycling we have heard so much about?
Does Melanoma Trump know?
H L-S: You have to remember that the common people cannot get enough of a good thing.
And those 800 well-chosen words in my vision, I mean mission, statement will hopefully fob-off those less-than-well-informed members of the University Council who apparently believe that I am a complete waste of space and money.
Remember what my very good friend Nigel Piercy (controversial former head of the university’s management school who wrote about ‘Duckpond University’) said “… there is no such thing as bad publicity”.
Thinking about it, can I be sacked for plagiarising my own work?
C: (Quietly) hopefully.
Tomorrow why a Welsh Assembly Member attacked her former boyfriend in the same party.
On Friday Edwin Phillips reads a more truthful advertisement by a Welsh property ‘expert’ crook exposed by The Eye.