Authors: Katherine Emms, Andrea Laczik & Dana Dabbous
This report provides a brief overview of the current higher education landscape and touches on some of the overarching issues of the sector - some that existed before the pandemic, and some of which have been exacerbated since then. It goes on to describe five higher education case studies - four from across the UK and one international example - which outline practice that looks vastly different from centuries past. They are forward-looking and prepare students for life in a very different and evolving 21st Century.
- The undergraduate participation of 18-year olds is continuing to rise, at the same time universities are increasingly making unconditional offers to their applicants, in an ever more competitive sector.
- Young people are still not getting adequate access to up to date and impartial information, advice, and guidance for post-18 options, including apprenticeship and training opportunities.
- Students’ perceptions of whether they are getting value for money from the HE experience is not recovering anywhere close to pre-2012 levels.
- Students expect a supportive university environment, support in getting into high-paying jobs, and increasingly, strong institutional values and ethics.
- Incidences of mental illnesses amongst students is rising and problems have been worsened further by the pandemic.
- Jobs, and the way we do jobs, is rapidly changing. Students must be prepared with the skills and attitudes to thrive in a complex labour market to tackle interdisciplinary issues - interpersonal and communication skills and creativity are highly sought after by employers.
- The five case studies in the report are:
- Cardiff University’s National Software Academy
- Dyson Institute of Engineering
- Minerva Schools at KGI
- Eden Project Learning
- The University of Salford
These are reimagining the traditional university campus and prioritising the holistic learning and development of its students in a different way; emphasising the development of student employability, making a clear link between theory and practice, and engaging meaningfully with external stakeholders.