Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Futures forum part 2

Diversification and stratification, fees and positioning. VC, Lancaster University.

4 years of turbulence predicted. Huge cuts imposed on us. Will be lot of pressure to reduce operating costs, especially in non academic areas. Lot of pressure to share services. Cooperation and collaboration will be as important as competition, but there is a timelag. Some institutions will have to reorganise resources to provide better data and information for students. Will be more web tools, and e-interventions, social media will become important ( not much in evidence here) :-)
Student experience will be differentiator between universities, and between unis and FE, and unis and private sector.
Lot of risk out there!

Panel session on A Time to Choose for Higher Education

David Sweeney, HEFCE

Lots of data showing that Universities phenomenally successful, but they are output statistics. This debate is about what unis will do for the country. Let's talk about what we can do, not how tough it is for us. Shift focus to be more outward looking. Unhelpful to talk about privatisation. It's about how unis can make the best use of the significant amount of public money they get for public good. Let's not pretend we're entirely private institutions. The country needs economic growth, therefore contribution that Unis make to this is a public benefit. Not going to get hugs and sympathy for moaning about needing more money. Unis need to be more diverse. Business models need to change to be more sustainable.

Anthony McClaren, QAA
Categories of private and public becoming more fluid, unis becoming more complex. Styles of provision also becoming more diverse. How does QAA measure quality in this diverse environment is a challenge.
Student expectations increasing with higher fees. Informed student choice will drive the future shape of sector. Need good public information to inform that choice. Increasing places to get that information, and it's often uncontrolled, eg social media, twitter etc. Student centredness and student choice increasingly critical. Students will be at the centre of the new method of measuring quality, and will be involved in reviews.

Jeremy Oppenheim UKBA
No's of migrants must come down. New immigration rules have been introduced. Clear that Home Office want them to support HE sector. Have been teething problems, and we need to work together to sort them out. There are some concerns about private education sector still, and the spikes in applications to them from overseas. Some places offer cut prices, don't apply English Language rules etc. We do need to bust the myths and make sure other markets don't take advantage and take our markets.
On -line applications will be introduced later in the year. Will be simpler process for highly trusted institutions. Need to work together.

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