ACU Strategic Management Programme

Benchmarking good practice in university leadership

The ACU Strategic Management Programme offers a unique and cost-effective opportunity for participating universities to compare their key management processes with a range of universities. This evaluative process helps identify areas for change, assists in setting targets for improvement, and identifies a range of actions to help achieve new goals.

While most executive analysis focuses on narrow departmental functions, our approach focuses on the bigger picture – incremental institutional change. The emphasis is not on league tables but rather on the strategic exchange of good practice to encourage effective institutional policymaking. The benchmarks of good practice emerge from the process and show how to achieve improvements, in contrast to other benchmarking approaches which often simply inform ranking tables. Through undertaking a series of activities, the programme enables participants to learn from each other’s successes and difficulties. It has been designed by university practitioners solely for use in universities and is refined to reflect the changing nature of the sector.

Every year, three themes are evaluated. Participants can choose to evaluate all the topics or just the ones they feel are most relevant to them.

To conclude the process, participants meet in a three-day intensive workshop where they interact, discuss, and evaluate themes in international higher education.

The Strategic Management Programme (formerly known as the University Management Benchmarking Programme) was launched in 1996. Since then, more than 50 universities have participated, from countries including Australia, Botswana, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. We welcome applications from all universities in all countries, not just exclusively ACU member or Commonwealth country universities.

Read more: What is evaluative benchmarking? | What is the methodology? | How is the process assessed? | What does the programme entail? | How many participants? | Fees, course materials, and outputs | Confidentiality of data collected.

2017 Programme

The next workshop will be hosted by North-West University, South Africa, from 28-30 August 2017. The themes covered will be:

  • F249 Research management
  • F250 Financial management
  • F251 Managing human resources (within a cultural change agenda)

Read more

ACU Strategic Management Programme 2015 participants - group photo

Participants in the Strategic Management Programme 2015, at the University of Alberta, Canada


Contact us

Cliff Wragg
Programme Consultant
ACU Strategic Management Programme