A college’s hidden history can help shape its future

Your organisation’s rich local heritage is a source of untapped emotional resonance within the community that is more live than you might think, finds Ben Verinder

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In the maelstrom of merger and the churn of education policy, the focus of colleges is often on the new: new brands, teams, alliances, curricula, facilities, initiatives.

The past is a foreign country, wrote LP Hartley, and they do things differently there. Yet, in concentrating their vision on the future, colleges are underestimating the power of their pasts.

Trust, for instance, is retrospective rather than prospective. We invest our trust in institutions because of what they have done, not what they promise to do. A long track record of helping to educate the people of a particular place ...

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