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Tertiary Education: Navigating Complexity

Join in the discussion as we explore the big questions that transcend traditional borders to find the best practices within tertiary education ecosystems around the world. Through this, we will highlight some of the best practices and innovations for the future.

Tertiary education faces a range of challenges from regulatory change, investment, metrification, inflation, hybrid delivery and innovation in pedagogical practice. When we talk about tertiary, this extends well beyond the traditional higher education institution of a university. 

For members grappling with the big questions that extend into tertiary education, we invited you to tell us what big challenges – and any solutions, innovations and ideas – you've identified. Members were invited to interactively decide which big questions and solutions they want Advance HE to look at in more depth.  

In early 2023, Advance HE held a series of webinars and panel discussions that dig into some of the biggest questions you told us to explore. These member-benefit events will shape how we take our work within tertiary education forward. 

This term - ‘tertiary’ - is used to pull together all post-compulsory education under one umbrella. Sometimes it’s called the ‘third level’, ‘post-16’ or ‘post-18’ - depending upon the age when compulsory education ends and student choice begins in a nation. This is delivered by all sorts of providers – universities, colleges, apprenticeship providers, small and specialist institutions and prisons. Within this space of tertiary education, it looks different depending upon the location and context. What is happening in Scotland does not necessarily match New Zealand’s approach to tertiary, even if they’re both using the term. But what are the common challenges that transcend borders? 

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Project Outputs

Project Output: Introductory Blog

Tertiary education ecosystems are evolving in different ways across the world. Dr Charles Knight and Joni Alexander of Advance HE pose a serious series of provocations to help define the big questions that need big solutions.

What exactly is the tertiary education ecosystem? What are the big challenges that are faced working within them, as a university, college, specialist provider, and prison? How do we – or should we – face these challenges?

Read the blog

Project output: Tertiary Education Challenges: webinars and panel discussions 

During the interactive webinar, Dr Charles Knight and Joni Alexander of Advance HE asked a panel of international experts to consider a selection of these ‘big questions’ and discuss ways in which different partners in the Tertiary Education Space can work together to solve them. 

Our speakers included:

  • Dr Hafsa Ahmed, Lecturer in Department of Global Value Chains and Trade, Lincoln University, New Zealand,
  • Dr Tracey McClean, Head of the Institute of Health and Social Care Studies, Executive Director of the Guernsey Institute,
  • Nina Ruddle, Head of Public Policy Engagement at Wrexham Glyndwr.

The event used framing questions to guide our discussion: 

  • How do we build cohesive communities across Tertiary Education ecosystems? 
  • How do we make sure that sustainability and the UN’s SDGs underpin all our activities? 

Webinar - Tertiary Education: What are the Big Questions?

This 45-minute Webinar is aimed at: 

  • Governance professionals and lay members who have organisational oversight and wish to understand the future landscape and challenges,
  • Senior Leaders who will be interested in the strategic aspect of the questions posed,
  • Others who will be interested in emergence of best practice they can adapt.

The webinar was held on 07 February 2023.

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Tertiary Education: Navigating a new system for Wales

In March 2023, Advance HE Assistant Director of Knowledge & Innovation, Dr Charles Knight, hosted a panel discussion that explored the future of tertiary education in Wales with the newly created Commission for Tertiary Education and Research. and how this shapes their strategic role in delivering civic mission. Panellists included Prof. Ellen Hazelkorn, Amanda Wilkinson and David Hagendyk.

Watch the discussion
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