On Friday 9 April, Arden University had the opportunity to join the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) for their weekly Better Manager Briefing to discuss higher education in the private sector. 

Our Dean of the Faculty of Business, Dilshad Sheikh, joined the CMI CEO, Ann Francke OBE, to look at how we can ‘build back better’ after Covid within higher education.

The briefing is a weekly 30-minute webinar that welcomes industry experts to help upskill its network of members, learners and partners on expertise and resources.

Dilshad, who is also CMI Regional Chair of the West Midlands and North West Board, shed light on the differences between private and public sector universities and the benefits students get from their higher education. 

Dilshad said: “A private university is still subject to all regulations that apply to the traditional sector, for example quality frameworks with the QAA. Our business model has allowed us to be flexible and more agile. We are a young and small university so we can respond to external challenges quite quickly.” 

The talk also discussed how universities and students have adapted with the pandemic and how it has actually brought about a lot of opportunities within the sector and has shown how resilient universities can be. Arden was advantageous during the pandemic as they were already adept to online and distance learning. In fact online learning has provided more accessibility for students, such as the opportunity to see guest speakers they may not have had chance too if it wasn’t via an online platform. 

Dilshad added: “We believe the student experience has been enhanced due to covid as we need to ensure our lectures continue to be engaging. The switch to digital has been tremendous and I commend the flexibility and the resilience students have shown to continue with their studies in what was a really challenging time.”

Dilshad reenforced the unique qualities that Arden has: “At Arden the vision is very much about lifelong learning and skills and making sure that we offer our learners every opportunity to develop and upskill.”

The webinar then drew to a close with questions from the audience, including a look at how Arden has been actively helping students during the last year to avoid burn-out. Dilshad mentioned: “We recently ran a staff engagement survey; we’re currently working through the results and will be making sure we put an action plan in place to address those results.” 

For the final question Dilshad gave her thoughts on how universities can help more people take leadership responsibilities, to which she shared her advice on just going for it and taking the risk. She added: “There is no value in putting someone in a position if they’re really not wanting to do something, but sometimes I just say give it a go. You don’t know whether you will like it or not unless you try.”

To watch the full webinar back and find out more about how Arden navigates higher education in the private sector, please visit: https://bit.ly/2Q6wIDr

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