Risk is the potential of gaining or losing something of value. Values can be gained or lost when taking risk resulting from a given action or inaction, foreseen or unforeseen. Risk combines both the uncertainty of outcomes and the utility or benefit of outcomes. So it is very essential to have a risk management department in every institution to ensure the sustainability of the work and to develop a strategic plans to deal with the crisis and take advantage of opportunities, and at the same time maintain the human and financial resources and the rest of its assets.


Risk Management Definition

Risk management is the art of using past experience in order to reduce misfortune and avail future opportunities — in other words, a combination of techniques to obviate unintended mistakes made in the past. Along with management of people, processes, and institutions, Risk management also is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks.


The department of risk management at universities

The major aim of this department is to promote a culture of risk awareness by involving all universities stakeholders in the day-to-day management of risks and encourage universities staff and students to adopt  a risk management philosophy and enhancing the reputation and assets of the universities.

Classification of risks at universities

The table below demonstrates a number of risk categories with some examples on each.

Category Examples include risks relating to
Estates, Infrastructure & IT • Investments in estates, infrastructure and IT

• Quality and availability of estates and infrastructure and the impact on students/staff.

External Relations & Partnerships • Collaborative teaching and research with other institutions

• Knowledge exchange and partnerships with industry

• Other relationships with external bodies

Financial • Sustainability of income streams

• Budget management

• Financial processes

Learning, Teaching & the Student Experience • Student recruitment

• New courses and programs

• The student experience of the University

• Learning resources and delivery

Organizational Development & Strategy • The impact of internal developments and structural changes

• New strategy implementation

Research & Innovation • REF planning

• Ethical research issues

• Research funding

• PGR student recruitment and support

Service Quality • The quality and efficiency of administrative processes

• Student and customer satisfaction


Staffing & Human Resources

• Staff recruitment and retention

• Succession planning

• Staff Management


Risk Measurement in Universities

Measurement refers to the two processes of quantifying and communicating risks. This tool is vital for risk management since it provides a kind of prediction of what might happen in future regarding the gains and losses of the firm.


Three main goals for risk measurement

Revealing the already clear risks that universities might face.

  1. Highlighting the risks and make them more understandable and more transparent to the people in charge.
  2. Anticipating the upcoming and the unpredictable risks that universities might face.


For handling risk measurement, a team of experts is needed to work within a unit different and apart from the risk-taking units within the same firm.



The Universities approach to risk management

  • Continually classify the risks of the different operation in terms of their significance.
  • Classify the risks based of the priority that is seen through their occurrences.
  • Implement strategies to mitigate risks.
  • Monitor effectiveness of risk management efforts.


Four important strategies for risk management

  1. Avoidance: this means to identify the generator of these risk and stop these activities in order to lessen these risks.
  2. Acceptance: this simply means to retain these risks (self-insurance).
  3. Mitigation: this mean reducing the influence of these risks (loss control programs).
  4. Transfer: this means having a third party to take the responsibility of these risks (insurance).


Risk Management Protecting Universities human, physical and financial assets

These assets can be protected by risk management through:

  • Education, training and inspection provide a real chance to prevent bad incidents.
  • Having products of insurance.
  • Having an administration that is responsible for claims.
  • Advising of senior management on how to best provide future protection against key risks on the light of the university strategic plan.

Samples of Organizational Structure (hierarchy) for Risk Management Departments in Universities

 Alberta University

Risk Management Alberta University

Georgetown University

Georgetown University

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield

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