Exerpt From An Environmenal Scanning Project Paper Distributed to Lincoln University Faculty, Staff, and Administration

Lincoln University in 2010

We cannot choose a future for Lincoln University unless we first imagine it. This paper is intended to stimulate discussion about the nature of Lincoln's preferred future. The document defines a framework of global, national and organisational trends and issues that have been identified by staff involved in our futures scanning systems or in workshops. In our consideration of these, we must transcend preoccupation with existing structures and entities and explore the possibilities of the future with imagination and a sense of opportunity. It is essential that we preserve the characteristics, traditions and community standing currently associated with Lincoln as an institution of excellence. It is vital that we preserve the best of university values and traditions. We must also identify new ways in which we can position ourselves as an outstanding provider in a twenty-first century environment.

The transition to 2010 will require careful reflection about where the university should be strategically placed with regard to its core businesses of teaching and research, as well as with regard to the nature and extent of its human and physical support structures. Above all, we need to ask ourselves several key questions with regard to our future vision and identity:

  • What is our dream for Lincoln?
  • What should Lincoln do well?
  • What should Lincoln excel at?
  • What should Lincoln not do?1
  • Does the Lincoln University mission need re-visiting?
  • What are our core educational, social, community and ethical values?
  • What imaginative concepts can we create which will provide the vehicle for transition to 2010?

As you think on the challenges and possibilities raised in this paper, you should refer to these broad questions often. A series of more specific queries follows each segment of discussion. These questions require discussion and debate by all sectors of the Lincoln community.

Section 1 : Challenges for the Next Fifteen Years : National and International Trends & Issues Faced by Lincoln

New Zealand universities, like those in many other parts of the world, now confront serious financial and demographic crisis. Societal attitudes toward universities have also changed, and in most countries emphasis is being placed on enhanced accountability for their expenditure of public monies. These problems coincide with several other forces which seem set to transform the structures of higher education throughout the world. Above all, universities face conflicting demands both to 're-engineer' their staffing structures, administrative practices and teaching programmes for greater productivity; while simultaneously enhancing the quality of their services and their ability to provide for the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base. A brief examination of the forces for change which underpin this central tension will highlight the difficulty of its resolution.

International Market Forces in Tertiary Education

  • Strategic alliances between tertiary providers and businesses, (especially communications businesses), are becoming more common as devices with which to implement changes to programmes, to delivery mechanisms, to marketing strategies, and to 'client' services.
  • While nation states may continue to operate accreditation and audit systems, universities are increasingly offering programmes in the global market-place, where regulation is a more complex issue. Franchised degree programmes from Ivy League universities in the United States, for example, are now being offered in Asian countries. Modular executive training programmes have been developed by North American providers for delivery to overseas clients. Distance delivery systems allow foreign degrees to be delivered in New Zealand. National programmes must increasingly compete, therefore, against the best of overseas offerings. In such an environment regulation and "credentialing" are likely to become increasingly difficult.
  • As South East Asian nations continue to experience 'tigerish' economic growth and rapid population increase, demand from these students will boom over the next decade or two. While significant infrastructural and human resource investment is occurring in local universities, the social value placed on overseas education by many South East Asian nations means that there will be increasing world competition to access these markets and to meet the needs of top quality South East Asian students. Movement of international students to this country is also highly dependent on foreign exchange ratios.
  • At present international students provide a vital additional source of funds in western universities. Should social values, immigration policies, or local conditions, (such as law and order, race relations etc), change, this inflow will be curtailed. At Lincoln, our financial viability is currently dependent on international students as a source of supplementary income.

Key Questions:

  • How can Lincoln use strategic alliances for more effective leveraging?
  • What strategic alliance partners does Lincoln need? Where and when?
  • In which areas are we able to compete on an international basis? In which areas are we not able to do so? Should we stop providing the latter?
  • Which South East Asian or other Asian markets should we be cultivating? How?
  • How can we minimise our risks with regard to the income derived from international students?

Geopolitical Developments

  • The flow of overseas students, and our ability to successfully market ourselves in the global marketplace, are dependent on stable geopolitical conditions in our present and...

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