Response to the University and College Union (UCU) analysis on government funding cuts

8 July 2010

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Former Head of Digital Transformation
The analysis from the University and College Union pretty much confirms what we feel is at the heart of the issue around university funding. Somewhere between increased fees, cost cutting and quality education, there is another issue that really should matter. A major funding hole in many universities today is student retention, particularly from those high-paying international students, and there are a raft of inefficiencies that can contribute to this problem. For example, during induction, students are continually frustrated with having to go between departments, providing the same details over and over again. As they progress, they’re dealing with multiple sources of grants or funding. In some instances they will even find they are speaking with people doing effectively the same job but in a different department. Can you imagine the uproar if a commercial business such as a mobile phone company was to make customers jump through as many hurdles before getting a connection?

Hence the only way to maintain quality, justify any increases in tuition fees and implement budget cuts is to ensure all three are aligned to what really matters – the student experience.  This is the only way we be confident in protecting and growing our world class university system. In the business arena we see organisations using technology to refine these often administrative tasks. As a result, it is possible to significantly reduce costs whilst improving the quality of what are essentially business processes.
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