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Developing flexible ecosystems for education that support student success

Where are we now, what works and where next?

Advance HE Collaborative Development Fund

Advance HE is dedicated to supporting the development of our members based on sector needs, and provides funding to help enable this. Previously, funding had been in the form of our Small Development Projects (SDPs), which were launched in 2004 and more recently, our Good Practice Grants.

For the 2020-21 member benefit year, funding will be available to our global membership base in the form of our Collaborative Development Fund, which aims to harness the knowledge, experience and innovative capabilities of our members in order to address current challenges within the HE sector.

We invited our colleagues at member institutions to apply for the funding of between £20,000 and £35,000 per project, with projects starting in February 2021. 

Queen Mary University of London has been awarded the funding for this project. Further updates on the project and its outputs will be available in due course. 

The Collaborative Development Fund is an Advance HE member benefit and is open to colleagues at Advance HE member institutions. 

Find out more about Advance HE membership
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Developing flexible ecosystems for education that support student success: where are we now, what works and where next?

Prior to the current global pandemic the HE sector had begun to recognise the growing need for agile and responsive education and training systems to regularly upskill and reskill the workforce. Changes to the ways of working and living already being wrought by the fourth industrial revolution and artificial intelligence were driving changes in how and where we will work and continue to learn across our careers, but also upon how higher education would provide those on-going learning opportunities

The pandemic has highlighted that, globally, higher education institutions need to enhance their capacity to operate flexible and resilient education systems to meet student expectations and the accelerating social and economic transformations that society anticipates. To survive and thrive in the future employment landscape and to contribute economically, socially and culturally to society, students and graduates need to be self-motivated, innovative active agents prepared to take responsibility for their own learning and skill development. Globally, the higher education sector needs to ensure it has the strategies and infrastructure in place to develop and support the needs of graduates, society and the economy.

This project invites applications to lead a collaborative project entitled ‘Developing flexible ecosystems for education that supports student success’.

The principal aims of the study are:

  • to review the higher education sector’s capacity for flexible provision
  • to identify exemplars of the requisite infrastructure, strategies and enabling technologies that support equitable transitions through learning and work
  • to identify priority areas to be addressed by Advance HE or providers.
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Take part in the surveys

As part of the project, we are surveying members to learn more about the range of flexible learning approaches that higher education institutions have adopted to provide opportunities for all.

There are three surveys to take part in, each aimed at different audiences. We would very much appreciate your participation in these. Read about each survey below to decide which survey is most appropriate for you to answer.

The outcome of this work will help establish the current state of flexible learning approaches in higher education and findings will be disseminated widely for the benefit of the sector.

The surveys will remain open until 14 May 2021.

If you have any questions about the surveys contact:

Survey for Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors/Pro Vice-Chancellors, Registrars and Student Services and Admissions

This survey asks questions on your institution’s approaches and policies for managing flexible reward and recognition (e.g. credit transfer).

Take part

Survey for Directors and Heads of Departments, Academics, EDI Practitioners, Librarians and Organisational/Staff Developers

This survey asks questions on your institution’s learner-centred educational approaches and policies (e.g. flexibility in time and place) and approaches and policies related to institutional partnerships.

Take part

Survey for Governors, Chief Operating Officers, Deans, Business Development, International Activities, Knowledge Transfer and Business Links staff

This survey asks questions on your institution’s approaches and policies related to institutional partnerships.

Take part
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Additional projects

As part of our Collaborative Development Fund, during the 2020-21 membership year, we are also running two additional projects:

The reshaping of higher education and research institute strategy and culture: pandemic perturbations, evolution or revolution?

The central question for this generative project will be ‘how have the strategies of higher education institutions and research institutes changed as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?’ The inquiry/research goal will be to review the range of radical changes to institutional strategies (and strategic thinking) brought about so far by the pandemic, and hand-in-hand with this the transformation of organisational cultures.

Find out more
The reshaping of Higher Education and Research Institute strategy and culture project

Board Diversity Practice Project

This project aims to collate, understand and share members’ practice to deliver on board diversity via the sharing of practice and lessons learned from members’ attempts to diversify their boards. This will provide an evidence base for members, potential solutions through an easily-accessible bank of case-studies, and identification of priorities for areas still to address.

The Board Diversity Practice Project is running in collaboration with the international executive search firm Perrett Laver, whose involvement has enabled us to widen the scope of the research and maximise its benefit to Advance HE members and the sector.

Find out more
Perrett Laver