SOON YOUR IPHONE WILL BE OLDER THAN A-LEVEL STUDENTS!
Gone are the days when eager undergraduates arrived at University, thankful to have a grant and grateful to any passing academic for simply pointing them in the general direction of the library or the labs. Today’s students are fee paying customers, with high expectations of service and value for money, while the number of academic institutions and routes to qualification have multiplied to offer a far broader choice in where and how they can choose to spend their money.
The Apple iPhone is now over 11 years old. This generation of applicants have grown up sharing data across social networks, and have an expectation that advanced technology will be an integral part of their ongoing education. With shrinking demographics of the population of student age in Europe overall (1) and intense competition for fees, Universities have told us they are under increasing pressure to keep pace with new technologies that underpin the academic experience, and to actively manage the student experience, whilst continuing to balance their books in a challenging economic environment. In this paper we consider some of the challenges you may be facing and look at some of the different strategies that are being adopted to ensure ongoing success.
In the first part of this paper we focus on student experience and in the second we consider wider challenges around academic talent and operational sustainability.
THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
CHALLENGE: ATTRACTING AND ENGAGING THE BEST STUDENT TALENT
A University starts to interact with students long before enrollment at the start of the academic year and attracting high quality candidates has always been a key concern. Traditionally, Universities have formed links with particular schools and colleges, and run events, courses and joint projects to build relationships and affiliations.
Building a strong student talent pipeline is something that commercial industries, in particular in the technology space, have invested in heavily. Microsoft for example, have for some time been building close relationships with academic institutions, creating online talent communities enabled by software that includes aspects of customer relationship and content management, and have used this relationship for talent profiling and job matching. By segmenting their talent communities, they are able to deliver tailored messages and share interesting information, creating virtual community ‘spaces’ that engage end users and are self-sustaining. This enables them to tailor the candidate experience to meet the unique needs of that community. This ‘relationship recruiting’ approach creates a pipeline not just for specific existing openings, but encourages working professionals to spend time on the talent community sites, a source of engaged talent for the future. There is the opportunity for Universities to exploit technology based solutions to help ‘level the playing field’ within the academic world - any potential candidate with online access can participate - not just those who attend an institution with strong links into Higher Education.
Read the full Do Universities need to Change? executive paper now. Click here
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