From HE boom to bust and on to build

The good-times for public universities are over, John Howard (UTS) sets out what should come next

“Now is not the time for ‘root and branch’ structural change. Change should consider the evolution of existing financial, student and research profiles, strengths, and distinctiveness of different provider operations, and encourage and support evolutionary change through clearly defined and differentiated university strategies,” he writes in a new e-book,  Rethinking Australian Higher Education, published today.

Professor Howard  suggests the existing system could “grow and transform around several distinct, but connected, provider categories,” a process already underway as institutions “self-select” what they will do.

He proposes seven strategies

*  the six established research-intensive universities grow “at scale”

* IT, engineering and technology “capability and capacity” in the technology universities

* research and teaching in outer metropolitan comprehensive universities, adjacent to hospitals and medical research

* low-growth metro unis build niche markets and amalgamate where practical

* a specific charter for regional universities to support regional economic development

* growth of non-university providers in fields not driven by research

* “effective participation” by TAFE in a national tertiary education system

Having proposed he sets out how to do it, in deeply-informed detail.

In CMM next week a new series by John Howard on what needs to restructure HE and how to do it