There are a number of ways in which competency models can be used in higher education institutions.
The first is by creating and using them to increase the skill proficiency for those who work in higher education: development roles, purchasing, operations, and for professors.
The second is for students participating in the education. In this area, there is a tremendous opportunity to help better prepare students for post-education job roles. One of the biggest criticisms of higher education is the perceived gap in readiness between graduates and the needs of business. Imagine how that could change if students could assess their skills against the business role(s) they seek post-graduation. They could then identify any skill gaps, and take steps to take classes or engage in activities to close those gaps while they are in school. At the same time, the institution could view aggregated skill gaps and use them to (1) offer non-traditional activities designed to close gaps, (2) add activities to existing courses that close gaps, (3) identify demand for new classes (then develop and deliver them).
The measure of success for an institution of higher education is the number of people they can put into jobs post-graduation. Using competency models tied to post-graduation roles to drive a successful person-job match can significantly improve success and close the gap in preparedness.