JISC consultation: Institutional support

17 Jun

My two-pennies for the current JISC consultation answering, “What are issues that will impact on the key services that your institution needs to keep running, such as IT systems, estates and administration?” …

Institutions are service providers. It is critical to understand that.  Students expect an educational *experience* which will provide a foundation for their future careers.  Staff expect an employer who will support them in becoming exceptional researchers and/or teachers in an increasingly global arena.   I believe the ongoing provision of specialist support for both staff and students – in the areas of learning, teaching and research – is key for an institution in delivering a high quality service to those groups.

It is time to recognise that specialist support staff are not outside the core business of of an institution but they are absolutely at the heart of delivering the change that is required.  As institutions streamline and centralise many processes, often IT is seen as the magic wand that will solve inefficiency and ineffectiveness.  However of course, an IT system is not the solution and quite often causes more pain!

Specialist staff who are capable of delivering change (supported by IT systems) are technologists AND educationalists who are also extremely good with people.  The key to change is supporting academics and students with educationalists who can adopt new ‘service improvement’ approaches with an empathy for their colleagues and an insight into emerging technologies.

It is these services that Institutions need to keep running!

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