The need for change in Higher Education


13 Feb 2018

The need for change in Higher Education

Our new consultant, Fiyin Fayeye, is a specialist in placing interim expertise within the higher education sector.  We asked her to share her thoughts on the need for transformational change.

Against an uncertain economic and political backdrop; the Higher Education sector is facing calls for modernisation and development. There is a distinct realisation in academic and non- academic circles that ahead on the horizon is a complex landscape of change. Education providers are operating in a global market and today’s leaders must be able to create and demonstrate fiscal as well as academic value for stakeholders.  

It is clear that the competition is fierce and universities need to rise to the occasion and deliver on course content, teaching and research excellence, student engagement levels and experience, especially given the tuition and living costs inherent in accessing higher education. Coupled with the need to manage students’ rising expectations, increasing costs, funding shifts and the demand for new technologies; the challenges the sector is facing are numerous.

Attracting the best talent is at the top of the agenda as institutions seek new ways to build and increase revenue streams and improve their student offering. Universities are tasked with the need to now ensure their educational offering is current and attractive to the demographically reduced pool of 18 year olds, who have grown up with innovative and fast evolving technology and with drivers that differ from previous generations.  Change and transformation in light of the above is imperative. It is the interplay between looking at how the University can work most effectively and maximising the individual’s role.  In my experience, the majority of universities are focusing on the following as a methodology for improvement:

Change management through development of project and programme management initiatives across commercial, course, staff and student areas.

Management of capital programmes, especially around the development of new facilities and properties to high specifications on time and most importantly on budget.

Additional methods of raising revenues through debt and Loan Instruments from the private and public markets.

Robust management of applicable cost bases including increased accountability in taking and delivering on difficult decisions.

Digital transformation and redesigning services with the rise of CMO appointments to the established Management Board.

Universities are increasingly structuring and closer aligning their Management Boards and academic faculties to effect change.  Composing a team with a breadth of varying backgrounds and experience gained from academic and wider commercial spheres will be crucial to driving this forward.

“If your institution is looking for expertise to guide you through transformational change, contact me at”.

Fiyin Fayeye
Senior Consultant, Higher Education, Executive Interim