Times Higher Education occupies a uniquely privileged position, trusted by the world’s leading universities, as well as by millions who work, study or aspire to study in them.
It is also fortunate to be at the heart of a rapidly growing and evolving sector, in which dynamics that were once domestic are now truly international.
Whether it is the almost five million students who travel to study abroad, the constant flow of academic talent around the world, or the political trends that shape universities’ pathways and plans, higher education is indisputably global.
For THE, it has been imperative that we evolve with the sector that we serve and have been a trusted part of for five decades, so when I joined as chief executive in 2014 I sat down with the team to develop our own strategy for the years ahead.
My first priority was that we showed ourselves to be worthy of the trust invested in us, and so the guiding principle in everything we do (and the scope of our work has grown dramatically in recent years) is that it must help universities excel at what they do.
This holds true for our work as a data provider, supplying tools and benchmarking services that give institutions unique insights into their own performance and that of their peers, whatever their mission and strategy.
It holds true for our award-winning editorial coverage, which has expanded in scope and scale – with news bureaus now located in Sydney, Washington DC and Berlin alongside our London newsroom – but which retains the ethos and standards that have been at THE’s heart for 50 years.
It holds true for our World Summit Series, an extraordinary network of events that this year alone will bring together thousands of university leaders, industry partners, policymakers and others at summits in 10 countries.
And it holds true for our client-focused work as a provider of consultancy to some of the world’s leading universities; hiring solutions that help institutions recruit the talent they need to succeed; and our branding services that enable universities to tell their stories as institutions.
As for the World University Rankings, you do not need me to tell you how vital they have become for anyone with an interest in higher education, whether governments and university leadership teams or students making the momentous decision about where to pursue their dreams.
So THE is in a position of privilege and trust, and it is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.
Our values mirror the values of our partners in higher education, and it is only by helping you succeed that we will flourish.
This ethos will remain central to our continued growth and development as a business over the coming years, something that as CEO I can say with absolute confidence today following the announcement that THE has been sold to Inflexion, a leading private equity firm.
The new owners, who have acquired THE from TPG Capital, understand the strength of THE’s brand and its foundations, and are hugely supportive of our future plans. It is also a major step that THE is now a standalone business, having split away from our former parent company.
All of us at THE look forward to doing even more to support you and your university as you navigate the road ahead.
There is no doubt that, around the world, higher education faces stresses and strains, but raise your gaze from any immediate pressures and it is plain to see that universities are themselves in a uniquely advantaged position: as the foundation of prosperous, healthy societies and economies.
The world needs you more than ever. It needs your research, your innovation and the life-changing education that you deliver to your students. THE is here to support you in every way it can.
Trevor Barratt is the chief executive officer at Times Higher Education.
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