University staff

University staff

Lifting change agents in higher education

Our take

Universities play an essential role in shaping the futures of individuals, industries, and societies. Yet they are facing new challenges and shifts in priorities like never before: accelerating digital transformation, changes in their modalities of delivery, an increased focus on applied learning and graduate employability, sustainability, and many more.

This pace of change and demand on higher education is likely to continue at a swift pace so those institutions must be able to adapt quickly and astutely to keep up with this ever-changing landscape of modern education delivery. All so that they can continue to disrupt the education sector in ways that will help define its future. 

Who we work with

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Rakesh Khurana
Dean, Harvard College
"In our ever more complex and interconnected world without obvious historical parallels, Common Purpose developed a breakthrough idea about the importance of Cultural Intelligence to navigate this new world and its contradictions. It has important implications and raises questions about our current systems for those involved in educating and developing future global citizens."
Daniel Robson
Associate Director (NSS and PTES Strategy), King’s Business School
"King’s Business School has worked in partnership with Common Purpose for four years and counting. In that time, hundreds of our students have engaged with their programmes, enabling them to understand what it means to be a leader with a global mindset, how to lead across boundaries, and how to challenge their preconceptions of socio-cultural and socioeconomic issues."
Mervin Pobre
Chief Strategy Officer, FWD Philippines
"It’s been great to support Common Purpose and its primary objective of developing leaders who can cross boundaries. We have been continually impressed with the quality of students that we’ve met. Through programmes like these, we will be able to equip the next generation with the skills they need to lead."

The challenge

University staff are under immense pressure to future-proof students, their institutions and the sector at large.

To thrive in this new future, higher education teams need to develop the skills and mindset that equips them with a leading edge, a global outlook and the ability to have a real social impact.

We don’t just develop skills, we create life-changing learning experiences for diverse populations, giving staff the breadth of exposure to new ideas, new people, new thinking and new opportunities.

These experiences inspire and empower University communities to transform themselves, their careers and the world. Becoming the change agents higher education is crying out for. 

Our solutions

Let's work together to transform your university community 

We understand universities are diverse and complex. So we offer a variety of solutions for higher education staff that can be taken in isolation or as part of a wider strategic programme.

The Tailored Solutions

Bespoke programmes

Designing and delivering transformational learning experiences that speak to your strategic agendas and priorities is what we do. Experiences that combine our unique thought leadership, robust methodologies, a deep understanding of the higher education sector and our ability to connect higher education to industry. Themes include developing a global mindset, pushing disciplinary boundaries, embracing digital transformation, supporting a culture of experimentation, becoming future ready, influencing outside your remit, and building a collaborative approach.  

The Scalable Solution

Online learning

Delivered both in real time, and/ or flexibly via a learning platform 

The Real World Solution

Our signature programmes

Open to all with diverse cross-sector participant groups 

International Education Professional Certificate (IEPC)

Created in partnership with, Times Higher Education, and NAFSA, The IEPC is a professional development programme tailored specifically for international education (IE) professionals worldwide. Designed to empower international educators at different stages in their career – from recent graduates entering the field to senior professionals.

Next steps

Let's talk

Get in touch with our learning experts to support your organizational goals.


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How we can work with you


Our philosophy

University environments can be complex and under resourced. That’s why we have created our COMPASS framework for staff across higher education – not only to help them thrive now, but to support them to become high impact, future-ready change agents.


Confidence in your own abilities is crucial in good leadership. So we work with you to develop your self belief in your own leadership and professional abilities, form a network of peers who support and advise, and learn about authentic leadership, and how to bring your whole self to work.


Developing the right mindset – inclusive, courageous and intentional – will give you a better understanding of how your way of viewing the world determines your behaviour and outlook; how you interpret, and respond to situations; and ultimately, how you effectively and efficiently make change happen.


All leadership happens in context – in a particular place and at a particular time. The Common Purpose Good Leadership Model will help you to be effective in different contexts and situations. Adapting better to different contexts, drawing on deep insights and diverse networks to make better decisions or by broadening your horizons to better understand how people and places interconnect.


Attributes are the qualities, behaviours and characteristics we see as being crucial, must haves, to leading change. You must demonstrate these key attributes in your approach:

  • Resilience
  • Agility
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation

And finally you need to develop some key skills to deliver change and cross boundaries, effectively and efficiently. These must be learned, practiced, and refined to enable you to accelerate the pace of change. Across our programmes, to different degrees, you will be given the knowledge, understanding, tools and techniques to develop the following key people skills:

  • Active listening
  • Building trust
  • Decision making
  • Effective questioning
  • Giving and receiving of feedback
  • Influencing
  • Problem solving
  • Reflective practice
  • Storytelling / communication

Our expert learning designers will work with you to co-create and craft an unrivalled experience. One with unmatched potential. One with real impact. All in the context of what it takes to successfully become future ready. Start by choosing from one of our leadership development practices crucial to the changing higher education landscape.

  • Developing a global mindset
  • Pushing disciplinary boundaries
  • Embracing digital transformation
  • Supporting a culture of experimentation
  • Becoming future ready
  • Influencing outside your remit
  • Leading change and transformation
  • Building a collaborative approach
  • The innovator’s mindset
  • Intercultural competency
  • Leadership in transition
  • Being an agenda setter


are more confident to have an impact in the world as a result of their Common Purpose programme experience


of students would recommend their programme to another person


say that the learning and development from the programmes has helped them progress in their careers

Why Common Purpose?

Our pedigree

For over 30 years we have been on a mission to develop people who can cross cultural, institutional, and social boundaries. Working passionately with people to help push the boundaries of what is possible. All so that they can become those who can help us to work better together, be the connectors of our unique lived experiences and lead, with a difference.   

In that time we have played a role in shaping the minds and futures of over 40,000 students and 75,000 professional and academic staff across the globe. 

Working with over 100 universities each year we have developed award-winning, high touch, experiential programmes for students – exposing them to different perspectives, places, organizations and challenges – often at a global scale.

Shaping the minds and futures of students is one important part of our work. At its core, Common Purpose is committed to collaborating with professional and academic staff in their pursuit to both deliver both high quality education, and disrupt the sector in ways that will help define its future.

Partnering with universities and education institutions globally, we have nurtured connecting professional and academic staff through learning experiences that equip them with the mindset, behaviours and skills needed to be the change agents higher education is crying out for.


We can equip your people to shape and lead the university of the future because:

We understand the challenges and pressures in higher education today. Bringing out the most pressing themes that connect to your audience. Our network of leadership experts also know your context and the culture you work in.  

We believe transformative learning experiences aren't about simply developing new skills. We know that impact comes from shifting mindsets and outlook also.

We are local and global. We understand your world and the world. We bring the outside world in, crossing inter-disciplinary boundaries, ensuring each of our experiences gives you real insights and perspectives from industry leaders and changemakers, in your sector and beyond.   

We put our partners at the centre of everything that we do. We are co-creators with you. We are experts at developing innovative partnerships and building eco-systems around your needs.

We take a stand where it matters but also celebrate the power our independence brings. We convene multiple voices and perspectives, empowering you to find your own voice in the mix. 

We have played a role in over 115,000 leadership journeys from across the globe. We have worked with over 20,000 organizations to ensure impact is at the forefront of everything that we do.