Tesco Plc has announced an innovative proposal, now in its “pre-planning” stage, in which the supermarket chain will expand into the University Humanities Sector.
TescoUniversity will open for enrolment in the 2014/15 academic year, with an initial branch planned in Sheffield and further branches planned in London and Cambridge.
Vice-President Kath Embers stressed the synergies which would result from the initiative. “While universities have attempted to become more market-oriented in their approach, only in the private sector do we find the supporting corporate structure and skill-set available to positively transform tertiary education into a fully fledged market-driven product.”
“Sheffield TescoUniversity promises to provide high-end user-driven results in this space, going forward together.”
The announcement has met with a mixed response from academics. While existing university faculty members in the Sheffield area have expressed their “dismay” at the development, there was nothing but praise from recent recipients of honorary doctorates from TescoUniversity.
“It’s about time these ivory tower types earned an honest living by teaching something that everybody understands, rather than some high-faluting theory about feminizing or some sort,” commented the new Dean of Humanities, Dr Barry McFettrick, former Assistant Manager of Tesco Furniture and Kitchen.
The Humanities has been targeted by the company as the academic area which has “thus far responded least to the reality of the market in the modern world” and so “offers the greatest potential for positive growth and development.”
Ms Embers outlined some details of the proposal at a press conference held yesterday, in which the Humanities would be organised into a series of “aisles,” ranging from the more “meaty” disciplines such as Economics and Tourism Studies, to the less substantial “confectionary aisle” which would include “sundry items” such as Philosophy and Biblical Studies.
“But even in disciplines which have traditionally offered little of end-user value, such as Biblical Studies, we intend to offer a range of courses which reflect our market-driven approach. In fact, we are in the process of negotiating an exciting joint-venture which we hope should eventuate in the establishment of the L. Ron Hubbard Centre of Religion,” announced Ms Embers.
“For example, in Biblical Studies, we are developing a strategic staircase to reorient the field towards a profit-focus while retaining all the advantages of the traditional discipline. It is not our intention to make significant changes to what has for many centuries been a successful product venture, so in most cases the changes will be undetectable. For instance, the Introduction to the Gospels will still be taught, but will be rebranded as an Introduction to the Prosperity Gospel.
“Students are always asking us what good will these courses do them in the real world. But at Sheffield TescoUniversity, we hope to produce graduates who can ask precisely the opposite question: ‘What good will we possibly find in the real world following an education at Sheffield TescoUniversity?’”