Aurora is a response to our own research which shows that women are under-represented in senior leadership positions internationally 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 influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills and does not replace other LF programmes, where we expect to go on drawing equally from men and women as before.
Click here for dates, locations and booking for Aurora 2016-17.
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.
‘Onwards and Upwards’, the Aurora longitudinal study, provides an insight into the experiences of women who have participated in the initiative and contributed to the study. To date, 1270 women have taken part. Whilst experiences can’t be directly linked to the initiative, initial findings of the study show a snapshot of the success of women working in the sector.
Aurora consists of five interlinked days: four development days and one action learning set and participants will attend each of these.
Aurora runs in a number of locations across the UK and Ireland to help reduce travelling time and costs for participants. In 2016-17 Aurora will take place in Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds and London; visit the dates and venues page for more information and booking.
Aurora is run in partnership with institutions in higher education. Institutions are responsible for coordinating Aurora within their organisation, providing mentors for their participants and supporting participants to attend the development days and action learning set. In each institution, Aurora is led by an Aurora champion. To find out more visit the Guidance for Institutions webpage.
Who is Aurora for?
Aurora is for women up to senior lecturer level or the professional services equivalent working in a university, college or related organisation who would like to develop and explore issues relating to leadership roles and responsibilities. Participants should have the endorsement of their institution and be committed to developing and enhancing their career. Participants will be asked to:
Aurora development days
Led by a team of four leadership experts, participants will explore four key areas associated with leadership success. These Aurora development days explore: Identity, Impact and Voice; Power and Politics; Core Leadership Skills; Adaptive Leadership Skills. Participants are encouraged to attend these development days in this order.
Aurora action learning sets
The middle day of the programme is set aside for a full-day action learning set. The participants of each set will be seated at the same table during the second development day, Power and Politics. It will be the responsibility of the set to agree a venue and manage the action learning set process on the day as there is no external facilitation provided. Participants of each set will utilise the sessions to air their personal work-related challenges and seek support through the action learning process to identify solutions and next steps. Whilst only one action learning set is scheduled we encourage sets to stay in touch with each other and to schedule a second formal set. It is anticipated that institutions will support Aurora participants in maintaining these sets as a positive approach to problem solving and as a way of developing networks, sharing good practice and learning from experience.
Alongside and supporting the development days, participants are encouraged to undertake self-directed learning, provided via online resources and materials.
Contact the Aurora team
Contact the Aurora team
Find out more