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Policy and strategy development


The future is uncertain. More than ever we need to develop the right types of institutional policies and strategies for a constantly changing world. When done well policy can be an important enabler that helps us to envisage different future scenarios and make explicit the choices we face in shaping a better future. It can also constrain those choices unless we develop the right architecture for our respective institutional cultures. Therefore it needs to live within the institution and should be seen as both an iterative process and outcome.

Meet our experts on policy and strategy development
Fred de Vries, Open University of the Netherlands (Former OUNL)

Fred de Vries is a Digital Higher Education Expert

Fred has a long track-record in innovating Higher Education in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

He carved out his professional path at the Open University of the Netherlands, designing, researching and shaping innovations in Higher Education, with focus on adult learners, Technology Enhanced Learning, open and online education. He moved there from building the curriculum to R&D in European networks (EC) and policy and strategy for the institute and its network of distance learning universities in Europe (EADTU). 

Initially out of curiosity, he worked besides the academic projects as a change agent on designing and implementing innovative education systems in different countries for international NGO’s like the UNHCR and UNESCO. Recently Fred helped a corporate philanthropy spreading online higher education in the Arab world and internationally oriented universities in a network to reach out to marginalized youth and refugees in Africa and the Middle East with specially designed learning solutions including workplace learning, peer-support and mobile technology. 

Since the 4th quarter of 2020 Fred is leading the development of the new international strategy at the University of Twente (NL) with an outlook towards 2030.

Considering the scope of EMPOWER Fred can contribute in the following domains: International Education, Open & Flexible Education, OERs & MOOCs, Policy and Strategy development, Quality assurance, Blended Learning.

Together with Mark Brown Fred initiated the EOLLA 


Raimo Vuorinen, Jyväskylän yliopisto (JYU)

Dr. Raimo Vuorinen works as Project manager at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research (FIER) at the University of Jyväskylä. His research interest is on evidence based lifelong guidance policy development and the use of ICT in guidance. In 2007-15 he was the Co-ordinator of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network, ELGPN. He is the Chair of Board of the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policies, ICCDPP and a member of the ETF Editorial Board. Dr. Vuorinen is also an Affiliate Professor with the Faculty of Education and the Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Malta.

Raimo has contributed to the EMPOWER Envisioning report (2nd Edition)

Milly Perry, Open University of Israel (OUI)
Nurhan Sakar, Anadolu University
Damien Carron, Distance University (UniDistance)

EMPOWER offers

Policy and strategy development also needs to engage a range of stakeholders and requires leadership at all levels – top down, middle out and bottom up. The people with specific expertise in this area are able to assist other institutions to build a framework for policy and strategy development, which identifies the key drivers, most appropriate consultation processes, timeframe, structures, business models, implementation plan, and so on. They have considerable experience in policy and strategy develop and welcome opportunities to assist other educational providers in harnessing the affordances of new open and online learning pedagogies and digital technologies in supporting 21st Century learners. 

We are frequently organising workshops linked to policy and strategy development. Check out the events page for past and future events.



Leading in Changing Times: Case Studies in Strategy and Policy Development

This webinar invites participants to discuss and reflect on contemporary models and approaches to institutional leadership and strategy development in today’s rapidly changing digital era. It argues that leadership remains one of the major challenges facing higher education institutions seeking to harness the transformative potential of new technology-enhanced models of teaching and learning. A strong case is made for a more distributed understanding of leadership in fostering transformative change in complex organisational ecologies. After outlining and inviting feedback on a number of guiding principles emerging from contemporary literature on effective leadership in higher education, the webinar briefly describes three interesting case studies. Firstly, it illustrates based on the experience at Dublin City University (DCU) the importance of aligning the language we adopt with the outcomes we seek in attempting to foster new digitally enhanced models of teaching and learning. Secondly, building on this example, the crucial role of vision, stakeholder engagement and strategic alignment are discussed in the context of envisioning and shaping our own institutional futures. Lastly, the webinar describes the experience of the Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA) and some of the lessons learnt about developing strategic leadership for such uncertain times. Overall the objective of webinar is to share and critically reflect on different experiences of institutional leadership, as we grapple with the challenge of the modernisation of higher education in the European context. By Mark Brown (DCU)

31 August 2017