The policy/project nexus: addressing an old problem in a new way

Margetts, Fiona (2016) The policy/project nexus: addressing an old problem in a new way. In: 39th Tertiary Education Management Conference: From Rhetoric to Reality – The Unexpected Opportunity (TEMC 2016), 11-14 Sept 2016, Auckland, New Zealand.

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The higher education sector is becoming increasingly dynamic, competitive and regulated. The policies of a university establish the standards of governance, academic quality and management that enable it to function in this environment. They are the means by which a university achieves strategy, ensures quality, mitigates risk and achieves compliance with its regulatory environment.

They are thus foundational to creating an environment that enables a university to provide students with a relevant learning experience, respond to innovation agendas, develop new knowledge and contribute to their local and broader communities.

Notoriously complex, yet immensely valuable, policy development and review inevitably receives varying levels of priority across the sector and within individual universities. This will, however, impact a university’s capacity to respond to its changing regulatory environment and deliver and sustain quality outcomes.

Symptomatic of differing levels of assigned organisational priority, the policy environment at the University of Southern Queensland has varied over time. The legacy of these varying approaches is explored in this paper, along with the impact of a three-year policy refresh project, developed to establish a flexible and sustainable framework for the management of policy.

A reflection upon the challenges and lessons learned identifies the key role of a policy framework (the ‘policy on policies’), the impact of an engaged sponsor and an applied project management methodology. The paper provides an analysis of the critical success factors and benefits realised, including improved capability, accuracy and access.

The need to develop clear strategy and plan to embed project outcomes is brought into focus. The critical role of policy deployment is identified and key considerations outlined, including the need to plan for the critical process of continuous improvement. Enabled through monitoring, evaluation and review, the paper highlights the need for the University of Southern Queensland and policy practitioners generally, to further invest in the research and development of this capability.

The outcomes of this project continue to impact the change agenda at the University of Southern Queensland. Findings from this project and its subsequent embedding into organisational practice have and will continue to inform change, research and efficiency agendas and have the potential to impact similarly across the sector.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: oral conference presentation - unpublished.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2017 23:45
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 03:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: opportunity, challenge, quality, capability, compliance
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160506 Education Policy
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160599 Policy and Administration not elsewhere classified
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150312 Organisational Planning and Management

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