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MN50735: Understanding strategy and risk in international higher education

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: School of Management
Further information on credits Credits: 12      [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 240
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Academic Year
Modular (no specific semester)
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail for this unit will be available shortly. (CW 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
This unit aims to equip students with a deep conceptual understanding of the theoretical foundations of strategic planning and risk management in response to international trends in higher education (HE). It aims to develop students' ability to apply critically and creatively relevant bodies of management knowledge about strategy and risk to specific problems in their own professional areas whilst taking account of the interdependencies between the various areas and functions of universities. The unit also aims to stimulate systematic and independent thought in making evidence-informed decisions as university managers.

Learning Outcomes:

* Systematic understanding of the principles and practices underlying contemporary, strategic and sustainable leadership at different levels in universities
* Ability to take an international perspective in understanding the role of higher education in global and regional economic development
* Critical awareness of the key areas of operations management and the relationship between operations strategy and business strategy both within and between universities in international partnerships

Students who successfully complete this unit should develop:
* The ability to identify, reflect upon and engage critically with current research and advanced scholarship in the field of international higher education strategy and risk management
* The ability to reflect on their learning in the unit and current professional practice with a view to integrate new knowledge concerning strategy and risk with past experience and effectively apply it to management scenarios.
* Time management skills appropriate for middle leadership roles
All skills are initially taught/delivered in seminars, and then facilitated through further discussion online and individual work. All skills should also be evident in the final assessed work.

Typical content covered in the unit includes:
* The impact of globalisation and the state on HE internationalisation strategy
* The role of higher education in global and regional economic development
* World-class universities vs world-class systems of HE
* Neoliberalism and students as empowered consumers
* Strategic responses: marketisation, stratification and massification
* Principles and practices underlying strategic leadership in universities
* Shaping and influencing organisational vision, culture and values
* Mission, identity and strategy - translating mission statements into action
* International best practice in HE strategy implementation
* Context-specific risks for different international HE systems and institutions
* Risk mitigation - operational and reputational
The unit will also address a range of related concepts and issues such as HE as a public good, the limits to capitalism in HE; elitism, selection and market segmentation; leadership theories and practice in HE; internal governance and strategic capacity.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

MN50735 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

School of Management
  • TMMN-APM60 : MA International Higher Education Management
  • TMMN-APC60 : PG Cert International Higher Education Management


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.