As academics of course we both research and teach, in our case issues of relevance to the main body of our students, who come here to take an MA in Publishing or MA Publishing with Creative Writing. A less widely appreciated part of our role is recruitment – we describe the course we run and the modules that make it up, using appropriate language to convey the benefits on offer (in the terms of the assignments our students must take, I guess this is a mixture of description and persuasion). We check the copy written by our marketing colleagues and try to locate testimonials received from those who have visited us and been impressed – or taken the course before.
And, however this information is conveyed to the market (and increasingly we can count the activity on our website, the hits on our course blog, the number of leaflets printed and distributed), we receive applications, decide whether or not those sending them are suited to the course, and make offers.
All of which leads us to the group who sat in front us for the first time two weeks ago. This is an experience that never leaves me unmoved. All those people who responded to what we had written, and decided on this basis to join us – in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market. People who up to now existed for us on paper, or maybe through an open day – but now sit there as real members of the cohort.
But in addition to feeling genuinely moved, I also sense the weight of our responsibility – to deliver what we have promised, and try to ensure students make the best use of their time here. So welcome to the University, class of 2011/12. We look forward to working with you. Here’s to a good one!