The means for delivering excellent education are people. It is important to realize time and time again that universities are a people business. It is the university staff members who make, or unfortunately possibly break, the quality of the university. Human resource policy is an important element that involves having the right people in the right places, investing in motivation and continued learning, and investing in facilities which make it possible for staff to achieve the proper life-work balance, such as by the provision of adequate child care facilities. A number of other strategic issues must also be considered here, such as tenure track careers for scientific staff, promotion possibilities, the ratio of junior to senior staff and of scientific staff to “support staff”, developmental opportunities available for staff, and financial remuneration (increases) and promotion policies among other things. In many OECD universities, gender policy is an important topic: while the majority of the students are female, the majority of the senior professors are male, with insufficient attention having been paid to status quo change in this regard in recent decades. The supply pipeline of senior female professors is problematic: with every step taken in scientific staff seniority, the percentage of female staff falls significantly (often above 50 % among post docs, decreasing to often around 20 % among senior professors).
Means are also pedagogical. It is remarkable how readily the well-established learning pyramid is ignored.
How can it be that most universities still rely mainly on large lecture hall teaching, if the efficiency in terms of retention rates is so low? Is it because universities were physically constructed with this educational method in mind? If that is so, then there is a clear case for renovation in tandem with learning process innovation through small group teaching and learning. Increasingly, universities are moving in the direction of problemor research-based learning where small groups, practice, teaching others, and learning problem solving are blended .