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With the introduction of variable fees Universities have entered what education secretary Ruth Kelly called "a new era". Financial departments have had to find more creative ways to meet the sector's growing competitive demands and those working within universities have had to take a more business-like, customer-focused approach to many aspects of their work as they compete for students.
Some questions this panel session will be discussing include:
Is it time that we start to deal more with the commercial sector?
Should they no longer be seen as "money grabbing tyrants" who lack understanding for the work we are trying to do?
What about using commercial services such as content management system providers and Web site consultants?
Should institutions with existing in-house teams should ever be using external agencies in the first place?
Is there a formal approach we could take to dealing with the commercial world?
Are there richer models in dealing with these complexities?
by Brian Kelly
16th–18th July 2007