Professor Eric Thomas, vice chancellor of Bristol University, today highlighted the importance of colleges’ and universities’ use of technology in encouraging student applications.
He said: “An integrated, sophisticated use of [new technology] is going to mean that the university is seen as cutting edge and more attractive. I see JISC’s role as assisting us in making the university look as attractive as possible.”
JISC’s deputy chair Professor David Baker agreed: “Over the next 5-10 years JISC will have an ever more vital role to play not just in the education sector but across the UK. I don’t believe that JISC or higher or further education can afford to slow down.”
Against the backdrop of an increasingly demanding student body, Professor Thomas predicted that within ten years there would be more students studying in their home towns to save costs, and that they would also have the choice of non-degree entry to traditional careers like accounting.
Professor Thomas also highlighted recent scrutiny of universities’ connections with Libya as an example of how the public see education as operating within a different value system.
He said: “It’s essential that we see ourselves as educational institutions and that we retain our values. People expect higher education to have different value set. It’s really important that we maintain that.”
Professor Thomas’ talk opened the JISC11 conference in Liverpool today, which is attended by nearly 700 delegates from across further and higher education in the UK, China, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.
It introduced a day of advice, guidance and future-gazing on the theme of ‘financial challenges, digital opportunities’ to help colleges and opportunities reduce costs and improve their efficiency.
Follow the conference online using the hashtag #JISC11
JISC news | http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2011/03/jisc11.aspx | 15 March 2011