Universities of the 21st century: campuses or business parks?

    Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruption to business as usual across all industries, including education (Purcell & Lumberas, 2021), and there is a growing consensus that the HE sector may never go back to ‘business as usual’. It has also brought to the fore other issues that have been affecting the sector for a while. For example, over the last few years, universities have been impacted by reduced government funding which was generally offset by the income from international students. However, factors such as the federal government’s shift towards ‘job ready graduates’ (DESE, 2021), technological advances, and changes in the expectations of the digital natives (Kesharwani, 2020) has exacerbated the challenges. Also, with high number of graduates unable to find a job within the first 6-12 months of completing their course (Healy, 2015), and the dissatisfaction of employers with graduates being unable to transfer their skills from university to the workplace (Productivity Commission, 2018), there is an overall shadow over the value of a university degree.
    Other factors such as the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Open Education Resources (OERs) (OER Commons, 2021) resulting in qualifications at a significantly lower costs (OERu, 2021), courses with Zero Textbook Costs (ZTC) (CUNY, 2021), qualifications made up of micro-credentialling subjects are already affecting the monopoly model of education. Whatever the new normal may be, it won’t be the same income generation model for universities (KPMG, 2020).
    Whilst universities are now trying to develop their strategies for 2030, several management consultancies are projecting a very challenging HE landscape in the next decade (KPMG 2020; PWC, 2020, Howard, 2021). Suggestions from the death of the normal university campus to shutdowns, mergers and collaborations are widely predicted (EY, 2021). Although, other industries have faced such disruptions and have coped with responses such as, partnerships and mergers, it may be time for universities to reconsider their business models for the future (KPMG,2020; Howard, 2021). The sooner the sector engages in this dialogue the better it will be for universities to refine their systems and processes and move confidently into the 21st century.
    This presentation will address the key challenges impacting the financial viability of universities and discuss possible operating models for universities to thrive into the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021
    EventInternational education 2021 : Re-conceptualising Higher Education Teaching & Learning for Sustainable Internationalisation of the Curriculum - Online
    Duration: 15 Oct 202115 Oct 2021


    ConferenceInternational education 2021
    Internet address


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