Jisc CEO offers digital vision for UCAS ‘Journey to a million’ challenge

Heidi Fraser-Krauss is one of 50 leading thinkers to contribute to the campaign.

Jisc CEO Heidi Fraser-Krauss has contributed an essay to a UCAS debate about the expected rapid increase in student numbers over the next seven years, where she outlines a bold vision for tackling the challenges a million undergraduates will bring.

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, projects that there could be up to a million higher education applicants in 2030, up from almost three-quarters of a million today.

It launched a national debate highlighting the key challenges and opportunities created by increased demand during this potential ‘Journey to a Million’. It has commissioned essays from 50 of the country’s leading thinkers in higher education on how to respond.

In her essay, ‘How can technology and blended learning support the Journey to a Million?’ which was released on May 18, 2023, Heidi says that digital transformation, driven by better data governance and agile infrastructure, will enable the HE sector to scale provision like never before.

Investing in digital transformation can help HE scale up and cope with increased student numbers, improve student outcomes and increase administrative efficiency. She outlines how university leaders must increase investment in digital, make data a key part of all strategic planning, and build better digital infrastructure.

In her essay, Heidi says:

“We sit at a key moment in the digital transformation of HE – and the leaders in the sector can capitalise on it to improve student outcomes, increase efficiency, and respond to the challenges of climate change.

“To do this, they should elevate conversations around blended learning, digital infrastructure and data governance to the same level of importance as finance and cyber security – it is simply that important.

“HE leaders must prioritise strategic conversations around the demands of digital transformation and how it can help them scale provision and improve course curricula and delivery.”

To read Heidi’s full essay, visit the Journey to a Million website.