The Tertiary education sector has, throughout its history, existed between the needs of the state, the individual and the disciplines and schools of thought that it nurtures. Each boom in growth, expanded both the outlook of post compulsory education as well as the diversity and size of the student population. This continual diversification is demonstrated across each major mission group and association of colleges and universities.
The cost, however, is borne in two parts: the funding of institutions, and the funding of students. As a public policy problem, student financial support is truly wicked, as debates go on about the merits of universalism versus means testing, students simply want to get on and enjoy their course, start their careers and embrace their passions. This diversity of students has transformed service expectations, with growth and specialisation within student support services, academic quality, consumer rights, student representation. All of this is in the context of major policy issues: widening participation, barriers to success, awarding gaps, mental health and freedom of speech, to name but a few.
Counterculture worked with Wonkhe and Adobe to understand the complexities of students’ futures, and how this influenced provision today. Students expressed a wide range of goals and ambitions which drove their choices and motivations, ranging from particular careers to the changes they want to make in the world. Universities, Colleges, Conservatoires and Institutes all play a key role in developing students’ networks, particularly through co-curricular activity,
creating space around the “core” curriculum for students to experiment, apply learning and test out different versions of their future selves.
“Tertiary education is no longer just about the subject. Whilst the subject is the vehicle which transforms the future of so many industries, professions and our culture, the success of an academic subject is now driven by the creativity of students, supported by robust, imaginative and open institutions – institutions who invest in the talent that is bursting from their students and their staff. Our role is to help unlock that talent, to foster collaboration and to embrace ambition.