Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington operates in a highly globalised environment.
The University operates in a rapidly globalising tertiary sector characterised by the emergence of elite university brands capable of operating across borders through various forms of transnational education. To thrive in this sector, a university must have an identity that is respected, clearly differentiated from other universities, and distinguished by attributes that matter to its staff, students, and communities.
Universities in New Zealand provide uniformly high-quality education of which the nation can be justifiably proud. However, it is becoming increasingly challenging to sustain this quality. Public funding has been falling behind rising costs for decades. The chronic impacts of these budgetary policies are currently compounded by declining numbers of domestic school leavers.
Universities have responded to these financial challenges in part by striving toattain scale through internationalisation. Constraints and challenges to internationalisation are emerging. The international market is increasingly more competitive. Most prominently, academic standards must be protected while the learning needs of international students and the talent requirements of their countries must also be considered. Maintaining the social licence to teach international students and avoiding unacceptable levels of financial risk are developing concerns.
The time-honoured operating models of universities are also changing. There is a trend toward disaggregation of research-led teaching and increasing mission-led multidisciplinary research. There is also a greater reliance on online or blended education and lifelong learning.
Demand is increasing for culturally responsive pedagogies of deeper resonance with Māori, Pasifika, migrant, and international students. Inspiring leadership to manage the externalities of universities and to address the existential threats of poor planetary stewardship is essential.