Without question the world in which we live and work has completely transformed over the past couple of decades, and as we enter this new era marked by ongoing innovation, organisations are continually having to consider how they need to evolve in order to remain relevant and effective.
Here universities and higher education institutions are no different, and without a radical change in approach the reality is they will be unable to provide an effective learning experience that will ensure their students are adequately equipped to not only survive but thrive in this ever changing new world.
This however will require higher education institutions to fundamentally transform not only the type of learning they facilitate and the way they impart that learning, but in fact the entire environment in which teaching and learning takes place.
When considering its role going forward, the university of the future will have to gain a substantially deeper interpretation of the students under its tutelage and a very clear understanding of their aspirations once they have graduated.
Not taking the necessary steps to define and understand the future challenges their students may encounter will undoubtedly be the biggest hindrance when it comes to universities being able to adequately adapt to ensure their students are future ready.
So what can be done to begin the necessary transformation? First and foremost, it will require universities gaining a much clearer perspective on where from a global perspective they want and need to fit into both the higher education as well as social landscapes.
In addition, a far more focused approach will need to be adopted when it comes to defining and refining the core activities it will need to perform within its particular areas of specialisation to ensure it is able to deliver on these ‘new world’ requirements.
However, any organisational change is always accompanied by fear and uncertainty and for universities to transform from the intrinsically bureaucratic institutions that many have become to more specialised, agile and contextually relevant learning facilities, is by no means an easy task.
Nonetheless by deliberately choosing not to question their relevance and redefine their roles and restructure their approach to learning will see those universities effectively condemning their students to a future in which they find it extremely difficult to achieve their career aspirations.