Forging Strong Partnerships is Key to a Successful Transformation


It’s true when they say clients are the heartbeat of any industry, and it feels extremely rewarding when we can show our appreciation of those clients.  Recently, Blackboard had the pleasure of acknowledging its long-term partnership with a group of Australian universities and celebrating as they signed for a further five years. Representatives from Griffith University, Southern Cross University, James Cook University and Charles Darwin University joined Blackboard CEO Bill Ballhaus to reflect on their journey towards innovation and transformation within the higher education sector.

Higher education institutions today are facing both internal and external pressures to reinvent and modernise their curriculum design and delivery.  In part, change is being driven by government legislation, societal expectations and heightened competition, with innovation increasingly becoming a prerequisite for survival.

University executives are now focussed on business issues, including student retention through an improved experience, reduced costs and higher operational efficiency, and increased classroom innovation. Before embarking on a transformation agenda to address these issues though, it’s critical to engage with the right education technology partner who can act as a trusted advisor.

Blackboard has taken a different approach to partnering with universities and is now viewed as not just a software vendor but a strategic partner that works collaboratively to help them achieve their educational and enterprise goals.  This trust has not been built overnight, but through a long-standing working partnership, with some universities lasting over many decades.

In his presentation to the Australian university leaders, Bill emphasised that being recognised as a partner doesn’t happen at the time of the contract being signed; it’s something that needs to be earned every day by making sure institutions are successful in their journey.

As many universities have started making plans to adopt a SaaS deployment and leverage the Ultra experience of Blackboard Learn, we are not only committed to supporting them through a successful transition, but we are also excited to provide them with the opportunity to rethink and reform their curriculum delivery.  With Blackboard Learn Ultra as their learning management platform, they will be able to leverage the latest digital tools to empower academics with efficiencies in time and new pedagogical affordances.

Allan Morris, Vice President Operations at Southern Cross University expressed it well.  When speaking on behalf of those attending the event, he praised Blackboard, commenting that it’s not about the technology, the key is in the relationships and Blackboard can be proud of its people.

Attendees at this event included:

Griffith University
Professor Debra Henly, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic
Kathy Grgic, Academic Registrar

Southern Cross University
Allan Morris, Vice President Operations

James Cook University
Danny Munnerley, Head, Learning Environments and Innovation
Associate Professor Maree Dinan-Thompson, Dean, Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement

Charles Darwin University
Professor Sue Carthew, Provost

Bill Ballhaus, CEO
Allan Christie, Regional Vice President, Australia & New Zealand
Chris Eske, Executive Director, Australia & New Zealand
Chris Ross, Director, International Solutions, APAC
Nicole Wall, APAC Consulting Director
Rochelle Vincent, Marketing Director