Academics need to apply their own research to transform higher education sector


Dr Radka Newton

A Lancaster University Management School academic is urging her fellows to utilise their academic research expertise in organisation transformations to improve Higher Education’s sustainability and success.

Dr Radka Newton has contributed a chapter to a new book on the global practical application of lean for higher education.

Dr Newton, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy features in Global Lean for Higher Education: A Themed Anthology of Case Studies, Approaches, and Tools.

Her chapter, ‘What if we knew the future could be different!’, offers a human-centric focus on those who are driving and delivering continuous improvement. She has incorporated coaching principles into the lean cycle and developed a lean cycle of experience offering a caring and considerate approach to lean application in the education sector.

Dr Newton is an active member of the Lean in HE network and regularly presents papers focused on applying lean principles to operations within the education sector.

She said: “My chapter provides a reflection on the approach to continuous improvement in Higher Education that operates in the same way as any other business. Universities deliver value to the public and, in order to become more effective and efficient, they can benefit from tried and tested continuous improvement approaches such as lean.  I offer a coaching approach to lean application focusing on the human element and consideration for team work and collaboration.”

Dr Newton’s chapter offers a complementary element to the lean cycle that incorporates a more conscious time to think, providing teams with a non-judgmental space where they are able to break down their assumptions and imagine what if...

The new book aims to demonstrate the diverse applications of lean in universities, inspiring others to engage with lean thinking in their own unique context and to drive successful, sustainable, lean work.

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