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Facing the challenge of uncertainty in higher education

Paul Woodgates, head of higher education at PA Consulting, hosted a debate between senior leaders of Britain’s leading universities at THE Live 2019. The debate looked into how higher education institutions can respond to the unprecedented political and economic changes, in particular to Brexit. 

Paul summed up the dilemma shared by many: “The pace of change is unprecedented and we can’t predict what will happen in the future, so how can we plan or make decisions in the absence of certainty?” 

The panel also discussed other concerns including partnerships with EU institutions opening doors to research opportunities in the Asian market, student mental health and the complexity of the growing role of university leaders. 

Paul goes on to call for universities to do two things: first, consider their purpose and identity as the “guiding star”, to articulate what makes them unique; and second, to design their organisation to be flexible and adaptive over time. 

Paul concluded: “You need to ensure you can make quick decisions, take risks in a managed way, but still within the context of your guiding strategy”. 

Read the full article in Times Higher Education

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