PIPaL: JISC BCE at Loughborough

Archive for March 2010

Pulling It All Together

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We were delighted to learn that Loughborough has been successful for an unprecedented fourth year running in winning the Times Higher’s Best Student Experience award. The role of achievements such as this cannot be underestimated in terms of building up the institution’s profile both locally and nationally, and drawing in new partners and collaborators.

As our project draws to a close, it is instructive to look back at the composite view that we have built up of the state of play with Relationship Management in our stakeholder group at Loughborough. This is illustrated quite nicely in the diagram below, which shows the various external facing University units operating very effectively in parallel, but maintaining their own contact and project databases and thus losing the economies of scale and synergies that would apply from a more strategic approach.

We are proposing a way forward that would see a unified approach to gathering and maintaining information about partners, together with details of contacts with them, joint projects and so on. What has been very interesting is that our stakeholders quite rightly saw the introduction of an IT system in support of Relationship Management as a secondary activity, contingent on us developing a fuller understanding of our own processes. The consensus view at a recent stakeholder workshop was that we should begin by profiling the extent of our involvement with a small number of key partners, across the spectrum of organizations that the University is involved with. It was felt that these should include the likes of a commercial partner, another Higher Education Institution, a charity or Non-Governmental Organization, and central Government.

The approach to process mapping developed for the JISC project should prove highly valuable as we move forward to take a broader and deeper look at institutional practices. Even from the relatively small number of processes we studied, it was clear that things were often more complex than they needed to be, and that there were any number of opportunities for “quick wins” to improve the efficiency of existing processes and procedures. The diagram below demonstrates this general principle by showing some of the steps involved in the production and distribution of the University’s undergraduate prospectus.

In reality the process is far more complicated, and student recruitment more generally takes in the likes of student “ambassadors” visiting schools and prospective student visits to the University. In our primary context of Business and Community Engagement there are direct parallels with the less immediately tangible benefits that accrue from “networking” events and groups such as the Innovation Networks set up under the auspices of emda, the East Midlands Development Agency.

Written by Martin Hamilton

March 8, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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