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Case study: Ensuring student success at a leading UK University

Book open Reading time: 2 mins

Over the last two years, The PSC has worked with a leading Russell Group Higher Education Institution (HEI) to deliver a major transformation programme including Student Focus, Business, and Digital Transformation support.

During 2021-22, The PSC was proud to support the development of a Programme Business Case for a leading HEI’s £80m “Student Success Transformation Programme” to deliver a positive impact on student progression, retention and experience.
Our work has included providing market analysis of competing universities, particularly around attracting international students, and user research and strategy on adapting from a primarily in-person model to a hybrid learning model.

Context 

The university is a culturally diverse and complex organisation, with 35,000 enrolments and a budget of over £1.2bn. Following a decline in National Student Survey scores, low levels of staff satisfaction and a high comparative cost per student, the university committed to a major digital transformation programme. This programme covered the entire digital and physical estate across the learning experience, in a modern a cyber-secure manner - to tackle these issues, and position the organisation as world-leaders for student outcomes.  

The university needed support in achieving full Executive Council alignment on the roadmap, to understand the overall quantum for investment, benefits schedule and to develop a programme mobilisation approach.

Our approach

The PSC was commissioned to work with senior leaders and staff in the HEI to: 

  • Work with senior leaders to develop visioning and future state design of student success 
  • Developer “user persona” (across students, academic staff, and administrators) and service mapping to guide the programme’s workstreams - covering a new mobile interface, better scheduling and timetabling, and improved analytics - and aims, using best-practice user-centred approaches and Agile practices 
  • Agree the programme initiation, delivery mobilisation plan 
  • Develop an overall financial quantum and investment schedule through a business case, including option appraisal 
  • Create the overarching narrative and structure to support the programme through effective communication and stakeholder management

In addition to this programme-level work, in a supporting piece of work, The PSC was subsequently commissioned to undertake visioning and future state design and an options appraisal in order to identify new opportunities for international expansion via online learning and delivering a first class student experience through these means too. 

Impact and Outcomes 

The student success programme has progressed to Full Business Case, was signed-off at College Council and is due to enter the second phase of programme delivery which The PSC is continuing to support. The international expansion work is now progressing to Executive Council for decision-making on a future direction of travel.