People were rocking with laughter; some were in tears. Deadpan, Don Watson waited. One audience member said later it was the funniest dinner of academic deans he had ever attended. But Watson was not joking. He was reading from a university mission statement and other material on its website.

"To provide outcome-related research and consultancy services that address real-world issues" - shrieks of laughter. The university's "approach to quality management is underpinned by a strong commitment to continuous improvement and a whole-of-organisation framework" - uproar in the room.

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