SUMS Consulting has been talking to university leaders about managing the Covid-19 crisis and their visions for the future. With views gathered from a series of one-to-one interviews, SUMS’ Community of Practice Groups meeting virtually, along with student surveys, SUMS is able to take a service-by-service review of university operations. It has found a sector eager to change and seeing positives in adversity.   Here, Principal Consultant Fola Ikpehai shares insight from her research into the implications of the pandemic on change programmes and teams.



The Higher Education sector, like all other sectors across the UK and beyond, is going through unprecedented change as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In effect, each university is in the middle of a massive and intense compliance programme that is driven by the need to change societal values, lifestyles and behaviour with an impact on practically all operations and elements of service.

Even in a traditional change journey, with a clearly identified target state, compliance programmes are the most challenging in terms of the user experience. The Covid-19 change journey is in no way traditional; it is a crisis management response to an extraordinary event.  However, whether traditional or brought on by crisis, the ultimate goal of any change programme is to achieve long-term transformation and ensure that expected benefits are realised. The transition from the current state to our new normal requires the same change management tools and the same level of change leadership as any other change programme.

Read the full Rapid Response Briefing Paper Harnessing the Winds of Change: Transformation during Covid-19.

SUMS’ consultants are gathering in-depth views from university leaders across the full breadth of university operations. We’ll be publishing their service-by-service findings later this month. Register here to receive your copy of our full sector report.

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