Le Lézard
Classified in: Business, Covid-19 virus
Subject: SVY

A quiet revolution: post-pandemic UK university system is refocusing itself around local social and economic needs over league tables and national policies

LONDON, Dec. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Vice-chancellors (VCs) are driving radical change in the higher education sector by focusing their universities' future identity and income streams on their local community's social and economic needs, according to latest research by PA Consulting (PA), the consultancy that's bringing ingenuity to life. In contrast to historical priorities, 60% of VCs rated the recruitment of under-represented and/or local student groups as their first or second strategic priority and 45% prioritised support for local levelling-up projects. Only 13% prioritised recruiting the academically most able students.

PA's survey reveals a sea-change in the outlook of universities, becoming less focused on national policies and instead centred around local needs.

Key findings include:

Ian Matthias, head of higher education at PA Consulting, says: "A picture is emerging of vice-chancellors and institutions differentiating their missions and strategies to be more relevant and responsive to changing social and economic needs.

"Vice-chancellors are building on the unexpected capacity for rapid innovation, adaptability and agency that universities discovered through COVID-19. This will secure their futures, better deliver for students and further strengthen the links between universities and the people they serve."

Mike Boxall, higher education expert at PA Consulting, says: "The movement towards direct engagement with local and regional economic and social ecosystems opens the prospect of a very different higher education sector. This will be more relevant, more open and more valuable to fast-changing societal needs. It brings with it new challenges, but we are seeing vice-chancellors taking the bold decisions needed to ensure their university can make a sustainable living in what will be a radically changed sector."

Download a copy of 'A Differentiated Future: PA's 2021 Survey of Heads of UK Higher Education Institutions'

Notes to the editor

About the report

Our survey ran in 2021 through an online questionnaire sent to the heads of UK universities and other higher education institutions, supplemented by additional written commentary and in-depth telephone interviews. Our findings are informed by more than 40 responses.
Note: within this report, reference to 'universities' and 'institutions' covers all recognised higher education institutions (HEIs); and 'vice-chancellors' encompasses the diversity of titles among the heads of HEIs.

About PA

We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world.

As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity.
Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results.

An innovation and transformation consultancy, we are over 3,300 specialists in consumer and manufacturing, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, health and life sciences, and transport. Our people are strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers and technologists. We operate globally from offices across the UK, US, Netherlands and Nordics.

Discover more at paconsulting.com and connect with PA on LinkedIn and Twitter.

PA. Bringing Ingenuity to Life.



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