The indie-disco guide to student fees and engagement

Nick Hillman’s knowing nod to punk in a Hepi report prompted a flurry of rock’n’roll quips on Twitter

February 19, 2015

It was perhaps to be expected when the Higher Education Policy Institute opted to name its latest publication after a song by one of the North West’s best-known bands.

After all, it was Hepi director Nick Hillman who in 2012 wrote an article for Times Higher Education confessing that he chose to study at the University of Manchester less for its eminent historians and more for the city’s glorious music scene.

So when Hepi compiled Ten Essays on Student Fees, Student Engagement and Student Choice, it was presumably an easy choice for Mr Hillman to title it What Do I Get? – a reference to the 1978 song by Buzzcocks, the punk band formed at what is now the University of Bolton in 1976.

The book, Mr Hillman says, is designed to “help students decide what and where to study and facilitates engagement with their institutions”, and “help universities as they stand to fare less badly in the cuts ahead if their costs are properly understood”.

We decided to use Hepi’s unabashed homage to the Greater Manchester music scene to have a bit of fun on our Twitter account (@timeshighered). Using the hashtag #HitReports, we asked our followers (and our journalists) to tell us what songs they would use to title fictional higher education reports, and what those reports would cover. There was no shortage of contributions.

“Losing My Religion: the decline of theology departments in universities” was the first of two REM-inspired suggestions, courtesy of Paul Greatrix (@registrarism), University of Nottingham registrar. Mike Hamlyn (@mikehamlyn), director of academic enhancement at Staffordshire University, thought Shiny Happy People would suit a report on National Student Survey outcomes – particularly apt given that the most recent results show record levels of student satisfaction sector-wide.

Higher education consultant Hugh Jones (@hughjconsulting) proposed the Wham!-influenced “I’m Your Man: gender and senior management appointments”, while trainee journalist Joe Oliver (@joe_oliver), who tweets regularly about higher education policy, suggested that Close Every Door from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat would be appropriate for research into “Home Office Visa Policy and Higher Education implications”.

THE journalists also got involved, with deputy features editor Paul Jump (@PaulJump) proposing 20 Seconds to Comply by London rapper Silver Bullet as a suitable prefix for “An analysis of Sir Mark Walport’s relationship with the research base”. Books editor Karen Shook (@timeshigherarts) contributed several, including the Specials-inspired “Ghost Town: universities’ teacher training departments in the post-Gove era” and the Manic Street Preachers-referencing “If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next: ‘£9k fees now insufficient’, says sector”. Rankings editor Phil Baty (@Phil_Baty) tweeted that Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce might make an appropriate title for a “complete guide to free speech on campus”.

Finally, Mr Hillman himself (@NickHillman) revealed what could have been an alternative name for the report on fees, nominating It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby by The Wonder Stuff as an apt title for a future higher education report. Certainly beats the overused “Universities Challenged” relied on by many a thinktank.

Send links to topical, insightful and quirky online comment by and about academics to chris.parr@tesglobal.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest