Navigating the Future of Higher Education: Insights from the Education Strategy Forum

Posted by Reza Mosavian

Hello to the ever-evolving world of higher/further education! As the Head of Student Engagement at Tribal, I had the remarkable opportunity to attend the Education Strategy Forum, at Carden Park Hotel 30th, 31st October & 1st November 2023. This event brought together thought leaders, innovators, and educators from all over. Here, I share the excitement, innovation, and insights we encountered on this enlightening journey.Reza 2023

In an era of constant change, higher and further education institutions must adapt to the evolving landscape, ensuring the best possible experience for our students. This blog captures key findings and vibrant discussions from the event, tailored to resonate with senior leaders, middle managers, and academic staff committed to enhancing the student experience. 


Embracing Change in Higher Education

The Education Strategy Forum emphasised that change is not just on the horizon, but it's already here, with institutions actively shaping the path ahead. 


Key Findings from the Education Strategy Forum

1. Building Mental Resilience - Insights from Sally Gunnell OBE

Sally Gunnell OBE, former European, World, and Olympic Champion, shared her remarkable career journey. Her session highlighted the importance of mental resilience, achievable goals, and teamwork in sustaining high performance, managing stress, and overcoming setbacks. In a challenging business and social environment, these principles are invaluable. 

Sally Gunnell's insights on mental resilience, achievable goals, and teamwork are directly applicable to higher and further education, offering students the tools to thrive in challenging academic environments and equipping leaders with strategies to support and enhance the student experience.

2. Chairing the Event - Kudos to Adrian Ellison

The event was expertly chaired by Adrian Ellison, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Information Officer at the University of West London. His insights on How Good is Your Information shed light on the evolving landscape of cyber threats in higher education. Despite increased awareness, the sector remains at risk, and his session discussed practical measures to mitigate these risks effectively. 

Key takeaways including the need for robust information security, continuous awareness, and collaborative efforts among institutions, and Tribal can play a crucial role in providing comprehensive solutions and support to strengthen cybersecurity defences and protect sensitive information.

3. Recruitment and Admissions Transformation - Lessons from University of Salford

John McCarthy and Vicki Hennessy from the University of Salford detailed their institution's successful adoption of AI to enhance the admissions process. They streamlined legacy systems with a single CRM system, redefined applicant journey mapping, and improved efficiency. Their experience serves as an inspiring case study for achieving increased applications, conversions, and year-on-year financial savings, all while enhancing the candidate experience. 

Tribal Dynamics and Tribal Admissions work together to empower higher education institutions to streamline and enhance recruitment and admissions processes by enabling automated, personalised marketing campaigns, data-driven decision-making, and integration with other key systems, ultimately fostering a more engaging and effective applicant experience.

4. Driving Sustainable Change - Insights from Mike Beaven (Amazon Web Services)

Mike Beaven, a Senior Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), shared universal success factors vital for public sector transformation, particularly relevant to Further and Higher Education. His session delved into agile methodologies, digital technology, curriculum development, and risk management, offering actionable steps to enhance teaching and administrative capabilities and drive meaningful, long-term change in educational organisations. 

Tribal can play a vital role by offering innovative solutions and expert guidance to further and higher education institutions, helping them effectively implement agile practices, integrate digital technology for teaching and administrative excellence, optimise curriculum development, and strengthen processes to drive sustainable and meaningful long-term change within their organisations.

5. Creating a Brighter Future for Institutions - A Call to Action from Osama Khan (Aston University)

Osama Khan, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Aston University, championed Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, advocating for modern, digitally enabled education. He called for collective action and discussed the role of automation and workflow in creating efficient and effective institutions. 

In line with Osama Khan's call for modern, digitally enabled education and collective action, Tribal, as a market leader, can provide pioneering solutions that empower institutions to adopt cutting-edge technology, streamline processes, and drive efficiency. Our expertise in solutions ensures that institutions can embrace innovation, improve operational effectiveness, and deliver a world-class educational experience. 



The Education Strategy Forum illuminated the exciting possibilities for the future of higher and further education. By embracing change, learning from experts like Sally Gunnell, and adopting innovative solutions discussed in these sessions and the many meetings that were had, we can truly enhance the student experience and navigate the ever-evolving landscape. 

I encourage you to explore and implement the strategies and insights gained from the event within your own institutions. Let's collectively shape the future of education, one step at a time. 


Final Thoughts

We were delighted to hear positive feedback from delegates who recognised the strength of our ecosystem of solutions. These solutions are not just designed to enhance the student experience; they also drive efficiencies and productivity for institutions. The positive response is a testament to our commitment to higher education's success. These honest and open conversations have been invaluable, helping us reflect, validate, and test our approach moving forward. It's a reminder that, even as leaders in our field, we remain dedicated to learning and listening, ensuring that we continuously evolve and improve. 


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