It is essential that a university develops and implements strategies to attract local, interstate and international students to the university as a destination of choice.
In the University of Tasmania’s Student Experience Strategy (http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/807994/SE-Strategy-v.6.pdf), it suggests:
“Universities operate in an intensively competitive, dynamic and increasingly de-regulated global marketplace. The quality of an institution is recognised through international reputation, rankings and capacity to attract high quality staff but equally through its capacity to attract and retain quality students from all over the world.”
To retain quality students and create an ongoing connection to the institution, the student experience becomes central to the institution’s value proposition and sustainability.
Students are seeking an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. Shaping universities’ physical spaces and how the campus looks is an integral part of that environment. This will be achieved through a holistic, student-centred approach across all dimensions of their experience.
We recognise this within the team at The Blueprint. From the perspective of one of our landscape architects, Genevieve Mrost, whose expertise centres around urban spaces, wayfinding and placemaking. Genevieve Mrost studied at Unitec, Auckland, NZ.
“In comparison to the other universities in Auckland, Unitec has a healthy student culture and feels quite multicultural. I felt Unitec celebrated international students more than the other universities do. Unitec’s ranking may not be as high as other universites such as the University of Auckland but they have developed a positive and inclusive student experience. The university has a wide variety of social and learning spaces including multiple libraries, various sized study areas, open space, student hubs and cafes.”
Strategies implemented by universities that achieve high satisfaction in student experience are always about the longer term, not chasing short-term advances through showy initiatives.
The Blueprint has worked with a number of leading universities in Australia to assist with strategies to improve student experience and enhance reputation through the built environment.
The key to creating a world class experience in universities is to begin with human centred design to produce a marketable experience, whilst remaining true to the institution’s core identity. This comes from collaboration with specialist designers and architects integrating signage, wayfinding, urban art, digital and lighting to deliver individual student experiences. This is what we do at The Blueprint.