July 21, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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“The world is changing, and UT must respond to developments in a timely manner.”

“The world is changing, and UT must respond to developments in a timely manner.”

Wood: It’s a mission we’ve wanted to do for some time. Last fall we decided that we really wanted to produce a product that would provide insight into developments outside the University of Texas, but could have an impact on our university.’

Brockman: We’ve worked on this with a wide range of strategies and policies. Each participant collected three notes each month. In the end, together we came up with 140 observations, which we then translated into seven trends and seven recommendations.

The seven trends observed

  1. Low flow
  2. Less money
  3. Ask about lifelong development
  4. Regional importance
  5. Lack of clarity in governance and increased administrative pressure
  6. Changing the role of science in society
  7. The importance of accountability for impact

Why is it important to follow trends?

Wood: Many organizations are interested in topical issues, and we are no exception. It makes sense to work internally. But the faster the world around us changes, the more important it is to respond to developments in a timely manner.

Brockman: “There is also an increasing expectation from society to know what happens at universities – and how tax money is spent. This demand comes from outside, so as a university you cannot afford to work from within. That ivory tower idea certainly doesn’t work these days. This Also a trend we’re seeing.

Many of the trends mentioned do not come out of nowhere: declining flow, less available funds, the demand for lifelong development, the importance of the region in retaining talent… Have you encountered any surprises so far?

Wood: An open door for one person can be an insight for another. It would not be a good sign if existing trends were completely removed from daily practice. The value of the briefing was also in this process: joint evaluation of which observations were facts and which were opinions. And in grouping observations into trends: What determines whether a trend is worth advice?

The seven tips

  1. Focus on lucrative courses that match your UT profile
  2. Look for alternative financing opportunities
  3. Invest in a lifelong learning offer
  4. Choose a number of partners and invest in this collaboration
  5. Keep each other informed
  6. Clearly discuss the rights and obligations of UT individuals in public action
  7. Choose and play a clear profile

Some of the tips seem very sharp. Such as: “Focus on lucrative courses that match your UT profile.” It also states: ‘Stop non-profitable courses. Our financial and competitive position no longer allows us to maintain this. Such advice can have very serious consequences…

BROCKMAN: Let me start by saying: This is not policy, this is independent advice. Whether or not our organization uses it, and if so how, is none of our business. We support the document one hundred percent, but we are not concerned with implementation. This aims to evaluate and encourage the organization to reflect on these developments. But it came independently.

So with a different hat than the one a policy official wears?

Brockman: “Exactly.” This was done as objectively and independently as possible and separate from our usual work. Of course I noticed some overlap in content, which is good. ‘It would be surprising if we actually discovered different things at the conference than what we work on at the University of Texas.’

Wood: ‘This means that some of the feedback can already be incorporated into the building blocks that were introduced recently and in preparation for the spring memorandum. What happens inside and outside UT is inextricably linked. So some of the feedback actually turned out to be rather useful.

Brockman: ‘But it remains a separate, well-defined project compared to the service’s own work. This is beyond that Domain. So, whether the advice is actually followed or certain trends are responded to, that’s not what we’re talking about. This project aims mainly to identify and engage the organization.

Will this project continue?

Wood: Yes, we are working on a second version. To this end, we very much want to seek the broadest possible cooperation with the rest of the Organization. We want to expand this beyond the strategy and policy staff group. We want to do it together and so called The wisdom of the crowd Use it to the fullest.

Brockman: Because the more perspectives you gather, the better you see the big picture. There is an example of seeing an entire elephant. He who sees nothing but a tusk thinks he sees a spear. If you see only the ears, you think you see the propeller. If you see a tail, you think you see a brush, and so on. Only when you combine all these perspectives will you be able to see the whole elephant. We are trying to achieve this. The more we see and share with each other, the better we will be able to respond to this in the future.

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