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New team to lead Top Management Programme

14 June 2013

The Leadership Foundation is delighted to announce that Dr Paul Gentle, director of programmes, will lead the Top Management Programme from its next run, TMP 32, which will begin in autumn 2013. Dr Gentle’s leadership of the TMP will also see the launch of an updated programme that will meet the changing needs of current and future senior leaders of higher education operating in a highly complex and challenging higher education sector. The revitalised programme focuses more on the institution and will support sustainable leadership strategies and strengths to ensure participants return to their institutions equipped to deal effectively with the issues of the roles that they are currently undertaking.

Dr Gentle has been the director of programmes at the Leadership Foundation since early 2012. In his previous role at the Leadership Foundation he led the facilitation and development of all the core leadership development programmes for the mid-to-senior levels of academics and professional service managers working in universities. He is an experienced leadership development specialist, and over 500 managers have been through programmes that he has led. With his further work on in-house consultancy projects, conferences and networking events, he is at the centre of a network of higher education contacts that numbers several thousand.

Dr Gentle’s new book 'Engaging Leaders: The challenge of inspiring collective commitment in universities' has been
commissioned by Routledge and will be published in 2014.

Dr Gentle explains "I am honoured to be leading TMP. I know that many current senior leaders regard their experience of the programme as key to getting them to where they are now. TMP has, over the years, continuously evolved to meet the critical needs of the top echelons of higher education. I think that our new concept of ‘Building and leading an effective organisation’ will ensure that TMP remains at the pinnacle of senior leadership development in UK higher education."

Dr Mark Pegg, chief executive of the Leadership Foundation, said: "We live in challenging times. Vice-chancellors and principals who sponsor TMP participants demand more confident leaders who can demonstrate improved performance for their organisations. The programme will therefore enhance participants’ ability to bring about change through engaging people. In Paul we have a confident, experienced guide and advisor for our future TMPers."

New TMP Team

Joining Dr Gentle as part of the new TMP delivery team will be Louisa Hardman and Jenny Harwood. Louisa and Jenny are both associates of the Leadership Foundation. Louisa is a psychologist and her commissions have included working with a range of universities across the UK, including Queen’s University Belfast. Jenny is an experienced tutor and executive coach whose knowledge of change management and development coaching has seen her work in higher education and the public sector including the NHS and for the health think-tank the King’s Fund. Mark Pegg will also be closely involved in the delivery of TMP. The delivery team will continue to be supported by Kyra Ingrao, marketing manager at the Leadership Foundation.

With over 600 alumni the Top Management Programme is very much part of the lives of many senior leaders in higher education, who remain committed to it long after their programme ends. While TMP is viewed in some quarters as a ‘rite of passage’ to the top posts, in this updated model TMP will also focus on ensuring that TMPers return to their institution more effective in their current roles.

The revamped TMP has been designed to meet the challenges and complexities of life as a senior leader in higher education. The three week modular programme remains, and within this each week will be much more focused on the realities of life within an institution. TMP has undergone periodic change over the years as part of the Leadership Foundation’s continuous improvement, however times of rapid and constant change require leadership development that appropriately supports this era.

The new TMP will provide:

  • Challenge and support for participants
  • Opportunity to develop a strengthened leadership identity
  • Collaborative working processes
  • Ability to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Provocative stimuli from guest contributors and thought leaders, within and beyond higher education

Professor Robin Middlehurst and Dr Tom Kennie who have worked on TMP since its inception will continue on existing and new projects for the Leadership Foundation. We appreciate and thank them for all their hard work and commitment in making TMP what it is; we would not be here without them.

TMP Reference Group

The Leadership Foundation has consulted with many interested parties on the development of TMP. A reference group, drawn from LF board members, now advises on and acts as a sounding board for the development of the programme. Their advice has been at the forefront of the new developments, as with Dr Pegg’s arrival as chief executive the Leadership Foundation has sought to listen and respond more deeply to the needs of the sector. These changes herald what will be an important step change for our flagship leadership development programme.

The recruiting period for TMP32 is now open. Visit to see the application process.

Notes for Editors

  1. About the Leadership Foundation
    Founded in 2004 the Leadership Foundation delivers leadership development and consultancy advice to
    higher education institutions in the UK and around the world.
  2. About TMP
    The first TMP took place in September 2001. Today it has an alumni of 609 of whom 55 are vice-chancellors.
  3. How it works
  • Acceptance to the TMP is via an application process that must include a supporting statement from the vice-chancellor.
  • TMP is a three week programme that takes place over 6 months.
  • The programme runs twice a year.
  • There are 21 places on each run and applications regularly out number places by 2:1.
  • Orientation day, in London, brings together the cohort for their initial briefing on their run of the TMP.
  • Week One, which takes place in the south of England, is themed Leading for organisation impact.
  • Week Two, is the international assignment week, and each TMP will alternate between Europe and USA.
  • Week Three, the final week, takes place in Scotland and is themed Effectiveness across and beyond the institution.
    In addition to the three residential weeks of the programme there are another 3 days of non-residential contact time which includes group working and coaching.
  • The TMP reference group [drawn from the LF board] includes Professor Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor, Cardiff University; Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor, University of Gloucestershire; Tessa Harrison, registrar, University of Southampton; Professor Steve West, vice-chancellor, University of West of England, Bristol and Dr David Llewellyn, principal, Harper Adams University.
  • Dr Gentle’s management of TMP will also include creating activities for the network of past participants of TMP.
  1. TMP 32: Dates
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 19 July 2013
  • Orientation Day: Friday 1 November 2013
  • Week One: Tuesday 12 – Friday 15 November 2013
  • Week Two: Monday* 17 – Friday 21 February 2014 (international week)
  • Week Three: Tuesday 1 – Friday 4 April 2014

*For international weeks this will be a travel day and the programme will formally start on the Tuesday.

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