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Revealing the true value universities create for society

11 Sep 2018 | Advance HE A new report about integrated thinking and reporting published by Advance HE sets out how higher education institutions can develop significantly more effective ways to articulate and report on the outcomes and the value they create. The report highlights that integrated thinking and reporting can help to shape institutional strategies.

The report, Let’s talk Value; How Universities create Value for Students, Staff and Society authored by Professor Carol Adams, proposes a significant shift in approaches to reporting, based on evidence from both outside and within the higher education sector.

The report highlights the benefit of moving beyond historic compliance-orientated measures of reporting to a forward-looking integrated approach which defines and articulates the outcomes and value higher education institutions create.

The report draws on insights from an Advance HE project with 10 universities, working through a programme of workshops to explore and pilot the practical application of the principles-based integrated reporting framework. The report recommends three key stages to better convey value:

  • Preparing a value creation statement
  • Identifying the key activities which contribute to value creation
  • Identifying the resources or assets – or ‘capitals’ -  transformed in the value creation process

Alison Johns, Advance HE chief executive, said, “The current debate around value in higher education is often framed and limited to measures such as contact hours or the value of research grants won. This sells the universities short.

“The report shows that the debate can and should be more richly informed. Integrated thinking and reporting helps institutions to convey a compelling narrative of the value they actually create for society, including their close stakeholders, through the world-changing education and research they deliver.”

Chris Cobb, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Operations) and Chief Operating Officer, University of London, who chaired the project steering group, said “Integrated thinking and reporting is bringing in a step-change in the way universities can engage stakeholders through a far more compelling and accurate picture of the full value we create over the short, medium and long term for stakeholders and wider society. We’re using this approach to enhance our decision making and collaborative working, and in a way that supports and informs our strategic planning.”

For further insights and information:

Video: Let's Talk Value - Professor Carol Adams, the report author: 

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