Workshops for the University Sector

Workshops provide an ideal away to support transformation initiatives in Universities. The academic environment can often create silos of expertise in both academic and professional support areas; effectively designed workshops can bring all the right stakeholders together to develop a shared view of Institutional developments and to plan change.

Outlined below are examples of recent workshops designed to support different initiatives in the university sector. Workshops can be customised to the strategic needs of institutions.

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Workshops to support research

Developing Interdisciplinary Research Projects & Initiatives: Pollinate™ Workshops. There is a growing interest in research that will address the global challenges that confront society and that will contribute to economic development. In the UK many new funding initiatives have been put in place by the newly formed UKRI (UK Research & Innovation) that demand interdisciplinary approaches and links to business and the public sector. Pollinate™ Workshops have been devised to bring researchers from different disciplines together with appropriate stakeholders to explore themed research funding opportunities. The Pollinate™ approach has been applied to many fields of research including; healthcare, Innovation for Sustainable living, Film & TV, Inequalities and new Digital Services.

Workshops to support REF planning. In all research active universities the REF process is a critically important cross-institutional review process. Having the right systems and policies in place will ensure the REF evidence base is collated and presented in the most effective way. With an increasing focus on impact and the Institutional research narrative, workshops provides a very effective way of bringing key stakeholders together, to explore the different ways in which an Institutions research impact and interests can be most effectively presented.

Workshops to support the student experience

Enhancing the Student Experience: Student Journey Workshops.  All universities are seeking to enhance the experience of their students; the student body itself is constantly evolving, as patterns of recruitment change; external bodies such as the Office for Students in England and different funding bodies in the UK’s devolved administrations influence the experience of students at a policy level. Understanding the student experience within an institution is complex, often the student is the only individual who experiences the entire University offer. Student Journey workshops provide the ideal way to map student needs and their interactions with professional support services and academic provision. Student journey maps help build understanding of the different experiences encountered by students to enable cross institutional enhancements to be developed and actioned.

Planning Future Programmes: Portfolio Mapping Workshops  Every HEI is committed to continual enhancement of its academic offer. As the HE marketplace shifts students are increasingly looking for new forms of academic programme delivered in new formats, with content that reflects changes in business and society. Managing new programme development is a complex process, often with long lead times. Portfolio Mapping workshops provide a format for bringing together key stakeholders within an Institution to map existing provision and plan the future programme portfolio.

Workshops to support Strategic Planning

Understanding external and internal perceptions of the Institution: Stakeholder Workshops.  Higher Education Institutions play a key role in both their local communities and on the world stage. As the role of HEIs in society develops and the funding landscape for higher education becomes more complex it is critically important that Institutions understand who the key internal and external stakeholders in their Institution actually are and what their past, present and future perceptions and ambitions for the Institution might be. The workshop format provides an ideal platform for bringing diverse stakeholders together to map perceptions and future ambitions.

Planning for the future: Strategy Workshops. Setting strategy for universities is a complex process requiring a clear understanding of changes in the external landscape, cognisance of institutional values and consideration of competition and future positioning. Staff, students and stakeholders all have a valuable contribution to make to the strategy setting process. Tom Inns has used a workshop format to develop strategy in many different Higher Education Institutions. A wide variety of methods and approaches can be used to structure thinking and capture feedback.