World Class Reputation Drivers

A reputation management framework for world-class universities

As one of the world's most highly ranked universities, you will want to have a reputation and an image to match. Ideally you need to be, and perceived to be, world class. Intrinsic quality is the bedrock on which an authentic university reputation can be built but reputations need to be managed if they are to be sustained and enhanced.

Building on an extensive literature review, preliminary exploratory research, and personal investment in research led postgraduate training, The Knowledge Partnership is now in a position to offer W100 members the opportunity to subscribe into an ambitious research and development project that aims to create a reputation management framework specifically for world class universities.

This project has 2 stages and members will see benefit from each:

Stage 1 - Primary Research with Audiences

The aim here is two-fold: primarily to surface the key drivers of a university's reputation (the factors that stakeholders use to compare and contrast the world's leading higher education institutes); second to report how these key facets of a university can be most convincingly communicated including channels (web, academic networking/conferences, word-of-mouth etc) and content (how credentials can best be illustrated and exemplified). Here is a theoretical example:

The sample (including University leaders, senior staff, academics and students) will be drawn from W100 universities and those agencies that are deemed critical to them for funds or for support. We will also concentrate on those individuals within the audience groups that are internationally mobile - i.e. they are in world class universities outside of their country of origin. We feel that these individuals will have a more global perspective.We would undertake some exploratory qualitative research within each group before developing quantitative tools to enable data from a large enough sample to be generated. We will require support from W100 members in gaining access to those staff and students, and external agency contacts that we will need to research.The output of this phase will be a research report that members can use as a basis for their reputation management plans.

KEY DRIVER OF REPUTATION
EXEMPLIFIED BY:

Political influence/impact

  • University expertise or research referenced in political debate
  • Senior academics being nominated as expert advisers
  • Alumnus in positions of political power

Stage 2 - Reputation Management Evaluation Tool

Using the findings from primary research and an academic literature review, a world class university reputation framework will be created.

The Knowledge Partnership has considerable experience of translating the findings of research into frameworks and tools that can be used by education institutes to evaluate their processes, activities and plans against best practice, and then to benchmark against peers. The framework for reputation will include a series of inter-related statements of best practice with associated examples of good practice evidence.

Subscribers will have free access to this framework for internal use, enabling current practice to be evaluated against the research built standards. Guidance on how to use the tools will be provided. There will also be the opportunity for each member to submit their summary evaluation results for benchmarking with other members of the group. This will facilitate the sharing of best practice on a voluntary basis, the creation of case studies and a means of locating potential speakers for future W100 conferences.