There is a tension and dynamic playing out in the sector in many of our institutions of what comes next.
Another budget has come and gone. It leaves us in no doubt that public funding relief for either our research, or our core teaching and learning missions, will not happen. We have been denied the largesse bestowed in other directions, and to other sectors, not because of an oversight to be corrected. The government has made it abundantly clear that the high-water mark of public funding has passed, prioritising short-term international student returns will not happen, and they expect universities to change business models.
This being the case, in most cases you wouldn’t know it. Many continue to appear to be in hope for the return of all that we had. After celebrating the mass move to online in 2020, the question must now be asked: Are we risking undoing any gains from that emergency action by expecting a full return to campus and the past?
While schools around the world appear to be returning to on-campus attendance mode, and other workplaces struggle with defining working from home and office attendance expectations, practices and processes, what is our long-term expectation and model for our universities?