The Future of Universities

Perspectives of leaders and forefront champions on
how universities can shape the world during times of crisis

Call for Stories on Change-Making Initiatives

NEW | The Future of Universities Thoughtbook | Universities During Times of Crisis Edition

Drawing on universities’ potential to influence economic and societal impact, this is a critical opportunity to rethink and reimagine the future role of universities during times of crisis.

We want to hear your stories on change-making initiatives throughout times of crisis, whether this is the current COVID-19 pandemic or any previous crises (e.g. Global Financial Crisis). To contribute submit your 140 word story through the form below by June 19th, 2020.

The editors will review all submissions and select the contributions that will be featured in the upcoming The Future of Universities Thoughtbook | Universities During Times of Crisis Edition. The selection results will be shared before July 15th.

Submit your change-making initiative

Please enter your email, so we can follow up with you.
Please don't exceed the maximum of 140 words when submitting the form.

Please focus on

University perspective

How have you or your university addressed pressing challenges through a change-making initiative in times of crisis? What can others learn from this?

Non-university perspective

How have you or your organisation collaborated with a university to address pressing challenges in times of crisis? What can others learn from this?

Tips for writing

Seek to:

  • use an engaging opening sentence that invites the reader into the article;
  • give the background to your story: write when and where it took place;
  • use sequencing words (first of all, then, after that, later on, finally, in the end) and mention the main steps or actions;
  • finish your story by saying why it is important to you and other people;
  • use narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous and past perfect;
  • be concrete and concise in your language,
  • use adjectives and adverbs to make the story interesting;
  • bring in your own professional perspective e.g. a business, academic or policy, perspective;
  • avoid acronyms or highly specialized language by considering that you are writing for an informed but not highly specialized audience.

Why now?

The world is in the middle of one of the most serious global crises in living history, which is presenting extraordinarily complex problems and demanding unprecedented responses. Beyond the health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing unique economic and social challenges.

As a result, the crisis has spurred universities, industry and societal stakeholders across the globe into closer working relationships at unprecedented levels. More than any time in recent history, universities are offering solutions, guidance, stability and reassurance to society.

Some of these actions include conducting research across multiple domains to better understand the pandemic and its effects, collaborating with the private sector to rapidly translate research into value, offering practical advice to policy makers and society, offering free online education modules to the recently unemployed, etc.

Whilst this crisis is providing countless new challenges, it is also a unique opportunity to observe, learn and get inspiration from the actions taken by universities. Considering its often-untapped potential to impact the economy and society, this is a critical opportunity to rethink and reimagine the future role of the university during times of crisis.


The Future of Universities Thoughtbook | Universities during Times of Crisis Edition will complement the inaugural international The Future of Universities Thoughtbook as well as the Australian and North American Editions. Building on the visions of international thought and practice leaders, and stories of the forefront champions, this edition will create a vision for the future of higher education institutions and how they will impact their communities during times of crisis. It will furthermore showcase stories of universities and their external stakeholders that have made a difference in how universities react and proactively shape solutions in times of crises.

The 3 editions of

The Future of Universities Thoughtbook

Global Edition

Australian Edition

North American Edition


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