Aurora is our women-only leadership development programme. Over the past three years more than 2500 women from over 130 institutions across the UK and Ireland have participated. For details of the current Aurora cohorts click here: Aurora Dates, Venues and Booking.
Aurora is a response to our own research which shows that women are under-represented in senior leadership positions and identifies actions that could be taken to change this. Many influential stakeholders including vice-chancellors, Hefce and the Equality Challenge Unit agree the situation needs to be addressed. The feedback from the sector tells us that HEIs would like to encourage more women to plan and prepare better for leadership roles at an early point in their careers.
Aurora provides an opportunity for women to develop leadership skills and build influence within their institutions. It does not replace other LF programmes, where we expect to go on drawing equally from men and women as before.
Women's leadership development is being supported strategically throughout universities in the UK and Ireland - see the Aurora institutional case studies to find out how. We highly recommend that you take a look at a selection of participant and role model case studies which prove how a positive impact of early leadership development intervention, through Aurora, can be achieved.
Aurora uses a combination of development days and self-directed learning using on-line resources that enable participants to follow areas of interest or development needs at a time and place to suit them. Cross-institutional action learning sets are established and held at venues to suit the participants, and in-house mentoring is developed to support participants within their own institutions.
Benefits of Aurora
For the individual, Aurora provides:
For the institution, Aurora provides:
Institutional case studies
In partnership with the universities of Brunel, Edinburgh and University College Dublin, we have created three institutional case studies to share learning and insight from participating in Aurora; visit the Aurora institutional case study page to find out more.
Participant and role model case studies
Find out more about the experiences of Aurora participants and role models here: Aurora case studies
Tracking outcomes of Aurora and women’s experiences of leadership
‘Onwards and Upwards’, is a longitudinal study that not only tracks the experiences of both Aurorans and women working in the sector, but also provides an insight into the opportunities and potential barriers to leadership that women face. 1270 women from the first three years of Aurora have taken part, with a growing number of participants from this year’s Aurora contributing. By tracking perceptions and experiences of leadership, the sector will be empowered to create positive, sustainable, change. Take a look at the year-one report which outlines the initial impact of Aurora - Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women’s work experiences in higher education.
Led by Vijaya Nath, director of leadership development, Aurora is our leadership development initiative that combines education, mentoring and self-directed learning. Four, face-to-face, development days will explore key areas associated with leadership success: Identity, Impact and Voice; Power and Politics; Core Leadership Skills; Adaptive Leadership Skills.
The development days are supplemented with action learning and access to online resources.
Identity Impact and Voice, led by Phyllida Hancock
By investigating the nature of leadership and what it means to them, participants will learn about the importance of visibility and ‘voice’, & how this can positively impact their working lives. Issues around values, authenticity & style will be addressed. Participants will begin to practice leadership and how they can exert leadership, true to their own style & identity.
Phyllida Hancock is a workshop designer and facilitator. A former actress in theatre and on television, Phyllida transferred her skills to training and development, specialising in leadership, team building and creativity.
Participants will explore the cultures and politics of organisations, individual responses & ways of working, as well as being encouraged to think about building coalitions, developing networks & making lasting mutually supportive connections. Action learning sets will be formed as a prelude to day three - a full day hosted by a participant's institution.
An experienced leadership facilitator, co-director of the Top Management Programme, coach and mentor, Rosemary Stamp publishes, lectures and advises on effective leadership & strategic planning.
Core Leadership Skills, led by Rebecca Nestor
Core Leadership Skills will introduce the key skills needed by women leaders and managers in higher education. Participants will explore understanding motivation, clarifying purpose and vision, working with values, influence and persuasion and the role of storytelling for leaders.
Rebecca Nestor is a key associate of the Leadership Foundation and co-director of Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership. Rebecca also specialises in unconscious bias and leadership in gender and equality.
Participants will be introduced to the main principles of adaptive leadership & the relevance to women as well as being encouraged to adopt an experimental mind-set & how to identify leadership archetypes. By courageous conversations, regulating distress & identifying the barriers to leadership, this day explores adaptive leadership to enhance performance & success.
Jenny Garrett is a coach, author, blogger and a key Leadership Foundation associate. Jenny is passionate about helping trailblazing women navigate work and life.
Contact the Aurora team