Few would deny the importance of networking, whether it’s for students establishing the beginnings of a professional network, seasoned professionals enhancing theirs, or institutions seeking to expand their teaching and research scope. The importance of networking, in the context of university partnerships, will be the focus of this blog article. Partnering with other organisations (academic, governmental or corporate) has the potential to improve the overall reputation of your institution and make it more attractive to the right students.
Remaining competitive as a university has become more challenging, and therefore requires a new approach
Up until the last few decades, academic institutions operated like islands, with universities independently competing with each other for the best teaching staff and brightest students—not to mention, academic prowess. Their mission was to improve research output and guarantee that students graduated with a solid academic formation. These goals are still integral to universities, but the way institutions achieve them has shifted. Students have more choice than ever when it comes to choosing higher education, and with international study on the rise, your institution now competes with those around the globe. Remaining competitive and attractive to the right students is more challenging than ever: universities need to adjust their modus operandi to achieve this, which highlights the importance of networking among institutions.
Partnerships create opportunities for both your institution and students to succeed
There are several types of university partnerships that are beneficial to academic institutions and their students. Institutions can partner with government entities, corporate organisations (as UCL has done) and other universities (through a network such as INTO) to leverage research capabilities, attract funding and access a larger pool of talented staff and students. Partner bodies can then enjoy access to leading research and highly talented future employees. The organisations you partner with can also have a brand boosting effect, which can further enhance your university’s ability to attract the best talent and improve student satisfaction (thereby influencing your league table rankings)—especially if prospective students are made aware of the employment opportunities that may arise from such partnerships.
Compatibility, common goals and governance bodies help create strong university partnerships
Making university partnerships work lies in your institution’s ability to create and nurture high-quality links with other organisations. To do this, there needs to be compatibility between institutions that allows for common (and measurable) goals and missions to be set and worked towards. The relationship needs to be based on a foundation of strong communication to allow for the building of trust. A governance body also needs to be in place to manage the partnership and monitor whether outcomes are being reached. Blessinger and Cozza explore university partnerships and the parameters that govern their success in their book, University Partnerships for Academic Programs and Professional Development.
Student prospects after graduation can be amplified with the right skills development programme
Partnering with the right organisations can create many employment opportunities for your students: ones that’ll ensure they flourish after graduation. The importance of networking with the right industry partners also lies in the fact that students can experience rapidly changing business practices. Part of ensuring the long-term success of students involves equipping them with the skills they need in the workplace.
Curriculo’s career development programme is designed to achieve just this. For an in-depth analysis of employability and how this affects student outcomes, download our guide.