The value of universities


The Higher Education sector has been working hard to communicate the invaluable ways it contributes to UK society.

BUFDG has contributed to this effort by supporting finance directors to improve financial communication, assisting the development of value reporting (in particular the use of Integrated Reporting <IR>), and developing our own educational materials.

These materials include a series of six short videos exploring the value of universities. Please feel free to share them widely.

Video 6: Universities and culture

The sixth film of the series reminds us that universities are all different and face the need to change and adapt. Depending on their age, mission and ambitions, they will change for different reasons and at varying paces. This means looking at what works from the past, keeping it and blending it with new ideas. Because “academic work cannot be put in a wee box”, getting the right people in the right positions at the right time and considering different points of view is also crucial to successful universities. The majority of universities are charities and not-for profit, but knowledgeable and empathetic leaders are needed to make sure they are not-for-loss too. This film features some of those leaders who work in the amazing world of higher education, working to make the world a better place.


Video 5: Universities and investment

A University, in fact any organisation, has to adapt to thrive. The fifth video shows that investment does not just mean financial resources allocated to shiny new buildings, but to systems, people and community too.

That said, investment by universities in buildings is nothing new, as research for the fifth video in this series revealed a report in the Illustrated London News of 30th May 1846 of the opening of new facilities for the School of Practical Chemistry. The building was designed and constructed according to best practice at the time and housed the most up-to-date equipment for the use of the students and professors, amongst whom was Professor Thomas Graham – he of “Graham’s Law of diffusion”. As our research was, in the general scheme of research, superficial, it would not be right to suggest that had UCL not invested in that building in the 1840s, scientific discoveries would have been delayed. The point is that standing still is not an option but decisions must be made in context of an organisation’s ambitions.

Additional resources:


Video 4: University funding and the English system


Additional resources: Money Saving Expert - Student Loans Mythbusting



Video 3: Universities and Value


Additional Resources:  What is Integrated Reporting <IR> ?



Video 2: A challenging time


Additional resources: Wonkhe - Where has the narrative about universities and students gone wrong?



Video 1: What are Universities?


Additional resources: UUK - What do universities do? And what do they spend their money on?


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