Understanding your institution: Briefing note

Gain a broader, deeper, understanding of your institution with these techniques for uncovering the personal values of your core constituents - your students, staff and the partner organisations - so that you can more effectively manage the way in which your HEI is perceived.


A key tenet for anyone seeking to understand their institution is that other people’s views matter – ‘perception is reality’. People who don’t know an institution well, but who may be making decisions about whether they want to engage with it, will act on their perceptions of what it is. No matter how ‘wrong’ their perceptions may be, their actions will reflect those perceptions. So these tools show you ways in which you can see your institution from a wider range of perspectives.

Many of these tools are not only useful for eliciting information, but also for communicating information to other stakeholders in your organisation.

The tools described here are about gaining a qualitative understanding – insight into the ‘why's’ rather than a description of the ‘what's’. Our other guides, ‘Analysing your institution’ and ‘Supporting claims of distinctiveness' consider the role of more quantitative techniques. The greatest benefit comes from combining the results of a range of approaches.

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Topics: Establishing your distinctiveness.

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PDFiconUnderstanding your institution (PDF 119 KB)

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This link contains a really useful set of questions to ask in order to begin to understand the various aspects of your institution’s culture.