University of Warwick: Out-thinking the competition

Claim for distinctiveness: A unique mixture of entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to absolute academic excellence.

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The VC’S view: “For all the claims of distinctiveness in higher education, most universities actually do roughly the same thing – although I think there is going to have to be greater differentiation in the times ahead. Our genesis was unusual – we were established in a location with no natural advantages and successive funding models hadn’t done us any favours. But this has bred a kind of fierce independence, both intellectually and financially. We have had to pioneer new ideas and ways of working. Innovation is in our blood. “Our structure facilitates that. We have lots of schools but we don’t have a hierarchy of management, and executive responsibility lies in a few hands. This means that proposals for new ideas can be raised and evaluated quickly. We also have an extremely strong, professional administration. So we have a good supply of talented individuals who are capable of managing projects, which enables us to have a range of new ideas being progressed all the time. We tend to ‘grow our own’ administration staff rather than recruit from outside and since administration tends to be more stable than academic schools, our sense of how we do things is easier to maintain.”

In this case study discover:

  • How did they work towards their distinctive identity?
  • What did they learn?
  • How do they know it's working?

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Topics: Guiding your internal decisions, Case Studies, HE Case Studies.

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