Risk Management in Higher Education - Do We Need it?

The concept of risk management is attracting a lot of attention in both academic literature and in the business and management worlds in the last few years. The idea, basically, is to address potential hazards in an orderly, systematic fashion, and to devise mitigation strategies – blueprints for dealing with these unfortunate events – well before they actually occur. Risk management is conducted in order to reduce the impact of potential hazards on the organization to an acceptable level. We now see applications of risk management to many aspects of modern life, from insurance, banking, health issues, business ventures, to project management and more. It is also being linked with other concepts such as business continuity and disaster recovery planning. It is, however, conspicuously missing from most aspects of the management of institutions of higher education. This paper first introduces the concepts of risk management and then presents some of the more obvious risks faced by the management of any institution of higher education. It then addresses the question of whether institutions of higher education need to incorporate risk management into their thinking and into their routine operations.

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