As we are now firmly into year two of Covid-19, we thought it would be helpful to look back and see which insights from SUMS Consulting resonated most strongly with UK universities.  We covered a wide range of topics at the heart of university operations during Covid-19, from transformation and change to recruitment and marketing to successful online teaching delivery - and just about everything in between.  Here, though, are the insights and posts that you said were most valuable.

Top 5 SUMS briefing papers or posts over the last year:

1.Leading through Adversity: the Impact of Covid-19 on University Finance
University finance directors are the custodians and stewards of their institution’s financial strategy. Without exception, they are also crucial cogs in the strategic leadership wheels of their institutions.  Our conversations with a cross-section of FDs from all mission groups painted a picture of a community of staff who care deeply about their institution and the higher education sector, who are finely attuned to the concerns of both students and colleagues, and energetic – often provocative – in their thinking about how they should lead through this crisis.

2.2020: A Space (and Timetabling) Odyssey
Timetabling and space management have been the topic of many a conversation amongst SUMS staff and colleagues in member universities, and are highly interwoven with a number of other themes on which SUMS will be publishing briefing papers.  This paper explores the impact of Covid-19 on the process of timetabling, the timetable itself, and the way that academic space is used, both in transition and in the “new normal”.

3.Silver Linings: How the Response to  Covid-19 Will Change Higher Education Forever
Higher education in the UK has faced numerous turbulent times over the last few years, but nothing compares to the challenges presented by Covid-19.  Whilst this pandemic is a threat to our health, our lives, and our livelihoods, SUMS remains optimistic. Covid-19 has seen the higher education sector respond well under pressure. Indeed, the HE sector is doing what it does best – thinking, learning, innovating.

4.Opportunities to Provide Authentic, Inclusive and Engaging Digital Assessment 
Our recently published report Briefing on Digital Assessment: Opportunities to Provide Authentic, Inclusive and Engaging Assessment provides an invaluable guide for universities looking to adapt assessments for Covid-19, or to completely transform their approach. Here, we share some headlines and practical advice from the report.

5.Universities as Agents of Social Change: What are We Really Doing to Make Sure Black Lives Matter?
Many universities have issued statements expressing support for Black Lives Matter. Less clear is how they plan to translate these statements into commitments and concrete actions for creating more racially diverse and inclusive environments for BAME students and staff, not least in the context of Covid-19.  Here, we explore sector research and examples of good practice to help universities make meaningful change.

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