Heads of University Management & Administration Network Europe

Summer School

Hosted by the Freie University Berlin,

Transforming Higher Education Professional Services


Universities that seek to be attractive in an increasingly competitive and international higher education market can no longer afford to provide sub-optimal professional services. This is true at every level of service provisions in institutions: departments, schools/faculties and “the centre”. There is an increased drive for efficiency and institutions are seeking to deploy innovative practices from other sectors to improve both cost efficiency and service quality. Technology raises expectations of accessing service anytime and anywhere, increasing the pressure to provide high quality and flexible services.

In this context traditional models for professional services in higher education institutions are no longer adequate. Services are often duplicated, inefficient and fragmented across institutions. Clarity of accountability is often poor and professional services staff are far too often not sufficiently empowered to utilise their many talents. Student numbers growth, research expansion and new forms of teaching and learning pose major management challenges for the delivery of professional services in all areas but including finance services, HR, IT, research management, admissions, student services and education programme quality management.


The aim of the HUMANE-EFMD Summer School is to develop the leadership potential of senior managers in higher education involved in major transformational change programmes in their institutions by making them fully aware of:

  • The critical success factors associated with the re-design of professional services operating models for future growth; and approaches to overcome the challenges
  • The implications of cross-boundary process transformations to develop fit for purpose, flexible and modern professional services


The programme will be highly intensive; it has been conceived as a transformational experiential learning experience for the participants. It will include plenary sessions and intensive practical teamwork in small groups all through the week.

Two case studies will be used during the programme, one from academia and one from another sector. Participants will also be encouraged to bring examples from their institutions to feed in the discussions. The working language will be English, but facilitators are well used to dealing with various levels of language proficiency. The programme will include the in-depth study of contrasting contemporary approaches to dynamic professional services being taken across Europe in support of strategic growth in institutions.

School Themes

The Summer School will focus on the leadership and management of transformational changes in professional services that is critical for institutional competitiveness. It will focus on the redesign of core cross-institutional processes, going beyond organisational silos to improve the quality, efficiency and value of support services that is now at the heart of institutions’ organisational strategies. Participants will gain experience in making informed choices in decision-making processes for change programmes. All ideas are firmly based on the context of University life across Europe. The Summer School uses the experience of HUMANE and EFMD to give unique insight into general problems and to ensure that discussion builds on examples from a wide range of different national higher education systems.


The target audience is senior middle and senior managers (managers directly below a head of administration or business school dean), as well as senior managers either directly involved in a significant transformation programme or aspiring to be part of such a programme. These may include the transformation of tightly scoped service domains (e.g. student support services) or the broader reshaping of professional services (e.g. in faculties or academic departments).

Heads of administration will also be interested in attending such a programme, particularly if they have been tasked to orchestrate a major transformation programme.

There may be some prospect of this programme being of interest to senior middle and senior staff working in HE funding and regulatory agencies. Applicants are nominated by their own heads of administration, their deans or equivalent in their organisation’s hierarchy. They are selected by an HUMANE-EFMD panel with wide experience of leadership management development programmes.

Application criteria

The Summer School is designed for senior middle and senior managers (managers directly below a head of administration or business school dean) and heads of administration.

Applicants must during application provide:

  • A one page statement describing their qualifications and why they are interested in this Summer School
  • A one (or maximum two) page curriculum vitae
  • A letter of support from their head of administration or equivalent senior manager

The 2018 Edition will open for applicants in the spring of 2018.