Change will be driven by five trends

University of the future

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University of the future 2012

Key findings:

  • Drivers of change
  • Preparing for the future

“We will come under increased pressure on Government funding, whichever way you look at it”
- Head of university representative group

1. Democratisation of knowledge and access – The massive increase in the availability of ‘knowledge’ online and the mass expansion of access to university education in developed and developing markets will mean a fundamental change in the role of universities as originators and keepers of knowledge.
2. Contestability of markets and funding – Competition for students, in Australia and abroad, is reaching new levels of intensity, at the same time as governments face very tight budgets. Universities will need to compete for students and government funds as never before.
3. Digital technologies – Digital technologies have transformed media, retail, entertainment and many other industries – higher education is next. Campuses will remain, but digital technologies will transform the way education is delivered and accessed, and the way ‘value’ is created by higher education providers, public and private alike.
4. Global mobility – Global mobility will grow for students, academics, and university brands. This will not only intensify competition, but also create opportunities for much deeper global partnerships and broader access to student and academic talent.
5. Integration with industry – Universities will need to build significantly deeper relationships with industry in the decade ahead – to differentiate teaching and learning programs, support the funding and application of research, and reinforce the role of universities as drivers of innovation and growth.

How these drivers will change the higher education industry

“Our major competitor in ten years’ time will be Google...if we're still alive!”
- University Vice-Chancellor

  • Universities will be compelled to create new, leaner business models as competition increases for staff, students, funding and partners
  • Public institutions will increasingly be run like corporations, while seeking to maintain the freedom of inquiry and academic rigour that their long-term reputation depends on
  • Private institutions will exploit profitable market niches, while others will create new markets and sources of value; for example, by specialising in select parts of the education value chain
  • Policy makers will seek to maintain steady growth in access to university. They will search for policy levers and programs that put the higher education sector at the centre of a genuine knowledge economy integrated into the Asian region, while inevitably tightening the public purse strings for higher education providers.

How universities will be forced to adapt

“There will be 15-20 independent, global brands … the rest will be playing for the silver medal”
- University Vice-President

  • Breadth of programs – Universities will need to consider whether they can continue to maintain a competitive position – domestically and internationally – across a broad range of programs, or whether to concentrate resources on a smaller range of programs
  • Target customers – Universities will need to have a clear strategy and execution around target student segments
  • Channels to market – Universities will need to rethink the role of digital channels and third party partnerships in recruiting students and delivering teaching and research programs
  • Back office – University asset bases and administrations will need to be significantly leaner than they are today.

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