How does a leading university ensure what they teach is up-to-date and relevant for today’s digitally eager students?
Founded in 1838, the University of Westminster currently teaches 22,000 students across its four London-based campuses. As one of the ‘top 100 most international universities in the world’, the renowned educational institution boasts a cutting-edge teaching and research environment with a long tradition of global relationships.
As one of the top 100 international universities, the University of Westminster prides itself on its partnerships with industry, business and educational institutions across the world. But with digital technologies transforming the marketing and selling landscape, how does a leading university ensure what they teach is up-to-date and relevant for today’s digitally eager students?
“We could see a decade ago that digital delivery was going to be extremely important. I don't think any of us could honestly say that we could see the hold that it was going to take and the transformation it was going to wreak, but we could see it as a very important step. We had long discussions in the university about how to deliver digital education.” - Jon Pike, Postgraduate Director (International)
As a business school in the heart of London with a 177-year-old legacy, the University of Westminster has witnessed the dramatic rise in businesses across industries and sectors seeking employees with digital knowledge and skills. As this demand grows, so has the appetite for digital education amongst students – recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike– to learn and upskill in an arena that continuously changes.
With need fuelling the demand for digital professionals, the university realized they needed a partner that could help them provide up-to-date and industry validated curriculum that combined academic knowledge with professional experience. This combination is crucial for the institution in qualifying their students to enhance their employability in a competitive marketplace.
“There is a tension in academic institutions because there is the belief that we're not just giving people an academic set of knowledge, we're also giving (students) a softer skillset in terms of being able to work in groups, sift data, analyze, which we know employers want. It's not just about academic content, it's also the preparation of people for the world of work.”
As a digital marketing and selling expert, the Digital Marketing Institute offers globally recognized qualifications that are validated by the world’s most influential brands. For the University of Westminster’s Business School, these unique credentials mean they stand out from the crowd when it comes to offering the skills students need and employers want.
"Digital marketing is very important and we felt we haven't offered enough in that area. We wanted to create a digital arena within the business school, so who best to team up with if not the professional experts in the area of digital marketing who are specifically concentrated on this area and would provide us with much better knowledge and access to experts?” - Agata Mazurkiewicz, Marketing Manager
With this in mind, the University of Westminster took a two-pronged approach to delivering the digital syllabus. The first involved integrating elements of the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing into their Masters in Communications. The second offers the certification as a short professional course that will improve online engagement and help participants gain a competitive edge.
Supported by the Digital Marketing Institute, the partnership enables the University of Westminster to upscale their lectures and provide a relevant and in demand course for students. From the start, the digital courses have proven very popular attracting not only UK-based students but also many from across Europe who travel to study the curriculum.
For Meral Crifasi, Social Media & Digital Content Manager who teaches the diploma, the feedback from students has been exceptional. “The Digital Marketing Institute's syllabus integrates all aspects of digital in the best way possible. Students always come back to me saying it's been a great experience and they could implement what they have learned into their business or ended up getting a job straight away in digital.”
Future plans for the partnership involve the University of Westminster introducing more of the Digital Marketing Institute’s specialized learning programs. With a global outlook to their student base, they also intend to extend the reach of their digital marketing learning programs to Asia and beyond.