Is it not all Academic? Finding leaders of the UK university of the future

Saxton Bampfylde launches its latest insight on finding leaders of the UK university of the future. 

For over 30 years Saxton Bampfylde has advised on leadership roles for every type of university in the UK and internationally. We have always had a keen eye on the evolution of the sector, and particularly how change affects leadership, and vice versa. In 2016, we produced a piece of research titled Evolve or Die – a view from the Chair on the changing face of the university council. This was warmly received as a topic and generated a good deal of interest from Chairs and executive leaders across the sector. The pivotal relationship between the Chair of the governing body and the Vice Chancellor emerged as a prominent theme throughout this research and it therefore followed naturally that the executive leadership function is an area we have chosen to examine more closely in our next research piece.

As one of the great exports of the UK, higher education is woven into the fabric of society. The sector overall contributes £95 billion to the UK economy and supports more than 940,000 jobs. With an ever-greater international presence and an increasingly competitive market place, the UK’s higher education leaders are being projected into a more public role, both locally and globally. It is on this increasingly public platform that university leadership has come under greater scrutiny. This unprecedented level of examination is compounded by the ever-shifting financial, political and social pressures faced by the sector’s leaders, who are working in more agile ways than ever to help the sector evolve to fit the new world into which it is moving.

Whether evolution is inevitable, borne of necessity, or a combination thereof, there are challenges that need to be surmounted in higher education, both in the UK and globally, to guarantee the continued success of the sector. Leaders appointed, the teams they build, and the way in which they tackle the challenges they come up against, are all part of this process.

Our aim with this report was to gather the opinions of the current leaders who are addressing these challenges, to deliver change and build a modern higher education system for the future. We asked them to consider from where the sector’s future leaders will come, the skills and attributes required, which models of leadership will become more commonplace, and what challenges and opportunities are on the horizon.

We are passionate about partnering with higher education institutions to find the sector’s next generation of leaders and are always looking to the future to ensure the right people are in place to guide the sector forward.

We hope that you will find this insight piece thought-provoking and would warmly welcome any feedback on the themes and areas explored.

Is it not all Academic – Finding Leaders of UK University of the Future

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Executive Search and Leadership Advisory for Higher Education

For a discussion about how Saxton Bampfylde can help advise on the future success of your university, contact our Higher Education team

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