You are:


In Practice: Leaning In

Being an ambitious woman is not encouraged in our culture. Girls who try to lead are labelled bossy. It takes a brave girl to stay firm in her ambitions and aspirations.

Much has been written and spoken in recent weeks about the paucity of women in senior positions in higher education. Globally, while there are increasing numbers of women in higher education with female undergraduate enrolments now slightly outnumbering men, this is not translating into professorial posts, senior leadership or vice-chancellor positions.

In her stimulus paper, Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations (2013), Professor Louise Morley highlighted UK statistics from 2010/2011 that showed that while women made up 44% of academics, only 19% were professors and 28% were members of senior leadership teams. Anderson et al (2009) show that women make up approximately 30% of governors but only 17% were chairs of governing bodies. As Morley says, ‘lack of women in senior positions means that women are globally under-represented across all decision-making fora, including committees, boards, recruitment panels and the executive. This means that currently the expertise and skills of a significant part of the higher education workforce are being under-utilised’. My university has both a female chancellor and a female chair of council, both of whom are highly experienced and inspirational leaders. There are equal numbers of female and male faculty deans but, currently, I am the only woman on the senior executive team. I am one of six female Russell Group registrars (ie only 25% of the Russell Group’s 24 member institutions have female registrars). This article is a personal reflection on what it's like being a woman in a senior higher education leadership role and my journey to get there. 

Much of the dialogue concerning the reasons for women's lack of presence at senior level centres around structural and systemic issues. Morley highlights gendered division of labour, gender bias and the concept of ‘greedy organisations’ where leadership is ‘exhausting, with unrelenting bureaucratic demands and institutional pressures’. She discusses research into gender stereotyping and its impact on women such that ‘managing identity, discrimination and other people's negativity can be an additional affective workload which deters women from applying for highly visible senior positions.’ In her book, Lean In (2013), Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, explores women's internal barriers as a significant hindrance to women gaining power. Sandberg presents a compelling argument for paying more attention to these internal barriers purely because they are in our control.

By ‘leaning in’ Sandberg is referring to the choice we all have to not be afraid. She says, ‘fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. And the holy trinity of fear: the fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter’ (2013, p24). I challenge any woman who says she has not at some time in her life felt one or, in my case, all of these fears. They are real. Undoubtedly men feel these fears too but somehow seem to have developed mechanisms to hide them. That is the challenge of leaning in: asking yourself ‘what would you do if you weren't afraid?’ Since reading Sandberg's book I have found myself asking this question many times and, as a result, after two years in post I am starting to feel more liberated to ‘lean in’ to my leadership role.

Sandberg talks powerfully about her upbringing, about the data on the academic performance of girls and about the leadership ambition gap that develops as girls learn to adapt to accepted forms of gendered behaviour. Being an ambitious woman is not encouraged in our culture. Girls who try to lead are labelled bossy. It takes a brave girl to stay firm in her ambitions and aspirations. I worked with a female senior academic leader who, at our first meeting, told me that the only thing I needed to know was that everything she did was for herself - at the time I was shocked at the nakedness of her ambition. I remember an early appraisal in which I was asked the usual ‘where did I see myself in five years' time’ question. I replied that I wanted to be an academic registrar but the indignant response I received left me spending many years regretting answering the question. The fact that the person asking the question was another ambitious woman confused me and subsequently caused me, throughout my career, to reflect on how women support women. ‘Not a lot’ is the conclusion I am saddened to have reached although what I now realise, of course, is that the women leaders I have known will have been struggling with their own leaning in challenges. I am reassured by Madeleine Albright's assertion that ‘there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women’ but I feel strongly that women working together must to be able to share their challenges and support each other's aspirations. The language of leaning in could be invaluable to us as we smash through the real and perceived barriers to progression. Strong women often perceive competition where they ought to experience sisterhood but this shift requires us to break down personal barriers and that isn't always easy in our institutional environments. It takes exceptional self-awareness, humility and real integrity to have honest conversations.

I went to an all-girls school where it was instilled in us that all things were possible; gender was not an inhibiting factor and our female head exemplified this. I became the first women's officer at Liverpool Polytechnic in the mid-1980s and was unashamedly feminist in my politics. As a young woman growing up under Margaret Thatcher it was impossible not to be highly politicised by a woman who had made it to the top but who was doing so little to champion the feminist cause. Like Sandberg, my friends and I did not talk about having to make choices between careers and children; it was assumed we would have both. I began my career in higher education as a departmental officer at Anglia Higher Education College (now Anglia Ruskin University) and was there promoted to a faculty role before moving to Lancaster University in the early 1990s, taking on registry, academic governance and teaching quality roles. I became academic registrar at the University of the West of England in 2005 and took up my current role at the University of Southampton in 2011.

On the face of it mine has been a fairly typical career path through the levels of higher education administration. My gender hasn't prevented me from seeking the next level and, to be honest, I haven't really given it much thought as I've moved from one role and institution to the next. I have been fortunate that my domestic arrangements have made it possible for me to balance motherhood and a career meaning I haven't had to face the difficult decisions so many of my female colleagues have had to make. More recently, reaching the senior level in my profession has forced me to question this apparent lack of consciousness. I recognise that there is no hiding place when you reach senior leadership. Everything you do and say is scrutinised for meaning; a careless throwaway line can come back at you in unimaginable ways (what my vice-chancellor calls ‘the echo chamber’); my gender does matter and I have a responsibility to do what I can to make it easier for the women coming behind me. Having the lead governance role in a university places additional expectations as staff look for consistency and adherence to rules you didn't make. I have a responsibility to ‘lean in’ and to be part of creating the conditions for other women to do the same.

I have recently completed a period of intensive executive coaching aimed at articulating and strengthening my leadership style and understanding how unconscious behaviours can undermine how one is perceived. The impetus for the coaching came from negative feedback from colleagues, some of which undoubtedly results from pre-conditioned views about how women should behave. The coaching began with an afternoon of storytelling; I was required to tell three success stories about myself. This was an excruciatingly difficult thing to do as the interviewer pressed me to articulate my successes, not those of my teams or others. This ‘showing off’ (as I saw it) is not something I'm comfortable with; I'm much more at ease when celebrating team success and the success of others. This led to an analysis that formed the basis of the coaching which took me on a journey back to my mid-teens as I understood how behaviours I learnt over 30 years ago have created the person and leader I am today. I have explored Sandberg's view that ‘... women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves ... we internalise the negative messages we get throughout our lives ... we lower our own expectations of what we can achieve ... getting rid of these internal barriers is critical to gaining power ... These internal obstacles deserve a lot more attention, in part because they are under our own control’. My coaching journey has reawakened my feminist consciousness and reminded me that, in fact, I have suffered from the system and social inequities facing women - I don't earn as much as my male counterparts, I have at times fallen into the typically male trap of presenteeism, I have beaten myself up about whether I'm a good enough parent, I have allowed my lack of self-confidence to let unacceptable behaviours in myself and others pass, my words and actions have at times been inconsistent as I have yearned to be liked by those I work with.

Southampton is currently engaged in a transformational senior leadership programme involving 150+ senior leaders. As part of the programme some of us are being developed as executive coaches to support our colleagues coming up through the system. As someone who has just undergone a period of coaching, learning how to be a coach is proving to be an extremely powerful leadership tool as it combines the need for deep self-awareness with an ability to support others to face and challenge their realities and pre-conceptions. As Sandberg says ‘sharing emotions builds deeper relationships. Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about. To really care about others, we have to understand them - what they like and dislike, what they feel as well as think. Emotion drives both men and women and influences every decision we make. Recognising the role emotions play and being willing to discuss them makes us better managers, partners and peers’.

Leadership is about quickening peoples' spirits around a vision for the future and organisational transformation. While charismatic leadership and passion are important for quickening people’s spirits, authentic leadership is what will bring about sustainable change in our institutions. Authentic leadership takes an incredible amount of self- awareness. It is this aspect of Sandberg's book that I am most interested in - being able to acknowledge and understand your own internal barriers is an important first step in becoming an authentic leader; being able to share that understanding with others (men and women) is fundamental to us changing the culture in our organisations and in society. Morley says ‘... leadership is the essential ingredient in successful organisational transformation ... values, behaviour, dispositions and characteristics can strategically overcome institutional inertia, outflank resistance and recalcitrance, transform and provide direction for new university futures'. What brings Morley and Sandberg together is Morley's articulation of fixing the women, fixing the organisation and fixing the knowledge; we have to address all three. This is not just about the diversity of our organisations; it is about equality and inclusivity. As Sandberg says ‘when the suffragettes marched in the streets, they envisioned a world where men and women would be truly equal. A century later, we are still squinting, trying to bring that vision into focus. The blunt truth is that men still run the world. This means that when it comes to making the decisions that most affect us all, women's voices are not heard equally ... It is time for us to face the fact that our revolution has stalled ... We can reignite the revolution by internalising the revolution’.

I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference; who created the conditions for others to exceed their potential.

I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference; who created the conditions for others to exceed their potential, whether staff or students. I am finding that's not as easy to do as the words are to say. Leadership in a university setting requires us to be really careful with the words we use, to present compelling cases for evolution in inherently conservative (with a small c) institutions and balancing the needs of a very wide range of internal and external stakeholders. Leadership in universities takes time; it cannot be rushed and it cannot be anything other than authentic. Leadership in universities takes incredible resilience. Reflecting on my successes since taking up my role at Southampton, they are all concerned with appointing outstanding people into the university and with creating cross-functional teams that feel empowered to move something forward around a well-articulated vision of what's possible. Confidence in yourself as a leader comes from being able to tell your own story in ways that others can connect with. My recent coaching experience and engagement with the literature referred to in this piece are enabling me to develop my story and to begin the process of fixing myself.

In the spirit of supporting others, I should note that the opportunity to write this piece came about when Beth Pearce (EA to the CEO and administrator to the board of the Leadership Foundation of which I am a member) asked if I wanted to review Lean In. Following her own work on Louise Morley's research into the frustratingly low numbers of women in senior HE leadership roles, Beth wanted Sandberg's book to have a higher profile in the sector. Diane Bebbington (diversity adviser to the Leadership Foundation) is currently working with the CEO and wider staff and board members on an exciting and proactive strategy on equality and diversity for change in higher education.


Albright, Madeleine. Keynote speech at Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA's All-Decade Team, 2006

Anderson, D., Rutherford, S., Sealy, R. and Vinnicombe, S. (2009) Governing bodies, equality and diversity. Research report 2009. Cranfield University School of Management.

Morley, L, 2013. Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations. London: The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. 

Sandberg, S, 2013. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. 1st ed. London: WH Allen

Tessa Harrison, registrar at the University of Southampton and LF board member, reflects upon life as a woman in a senior leadership role in higher education.

Main Menu

  1. Home
  2. Consultancy
    1. Sector Wide Change
      1. Sector Wide Change Case Studies
        1. Evidence gathering
        2. Shared Services Review
    2. Institutional Transformation
      1. Governor Development and Governance Reviews
      2. Collaborations, Alliances and Mergers
      3. Working with Top Management Teams
      4. Evaluation and Impact
      5. In-house Change Academies
        1. Change Academy Case Studies
        2. Change Academy FAQs
      6. Institutional Transformation Case Studies
        1. New Model for Student Administration Services Review
        2. Supporting a student systems options review
        3. Strategic planning support
        4. Strategy Stocktake
    3. Teams and Individuals
      1. Teams and Individuals Case Studies
        1. Senior Leaders Succession Programme
        2. Academic Leaders Programme
        3. Leadership Development for Research Team Leaders
        4. Leading From the Front
      2. Coaching
        1. Executive Coaching
        2. Team Coaching
        3. Career Coaching Options
        4. Coaching Programmes
        5. Coaching Case Studies
      3. Unconscious Bias Workshops
    4. International Consultancy
      1. Bespoke (In-Country) Programmes
      2. International Partnership and Network Programmes
    5. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Research
    1. Research Hub
      1. Current Tenders
        1. SDP Call for Proposals 2019
        2. SDP Call for Proposals Development and Support for Women 2018
      2. Research in Progress
      3. 2018 Research
        1. Exploring the Impact of Coaching in Higher Education
        2. Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education Year 3 report
        3. Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education Year 3 summary
      4. 2017 Research
        1. The impact of mergers, acquisitions and collaborations in Higher Education and other knowledge based sectors
        2. Talent Management: Learning Across Sectors
        3. Big data – disruptive, distracting or adding value?
        4. Encouraging disabled leaders in higher education: recognising hidden talents
        5. Increasing the Diversity of Senior Leaders in Higher Education: The Role of Executive Search Firms
      5. 2016 Research
        1. Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education summary
        2. Onwards and Upwards? Tracking women's work experiences in higher education report
        3. The purpose of professors: professionalism, pressures and performance
        4. Leading Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: Summary
        5. Leading Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: Full Report
        6. Making the road while walking: Co-creation, teaching excellence and university leadership
        7. The Role of Prestige in UK Universities: Vice-Chancellors' Perspectives
        8. The Impact of Leadership and Leadership Development in Higher Education: A Review of the Literature and Evidence
        9. The Impact of Higher Education Leadership, Governance and Management Research - Full Report
        10. The Impact of Higher Education Leadership, Governance and Management Research - Summary
        11. Exploring the Impact of Coaching in Higher Education: a Provocation
      6. 2015 Research
        1. In the wings and backstage: exploring the micropolitics of leadership in higher education
        2. Developing and Sustaining Shared Leadership in Higher Education
        3. How can we make not break black and minority ethnic leaders in higher education?
        4. Religion in Britain: Challenges to Higher Education
        5. The Case for Growing STEMM Research Capacity in Wales
      7. 2014 Research
        1. Leading interdisciplinary Research transforming the academic landscape
        2. Exploring Student Leadership
        3. Gender and Higher Education Leadership
        4. Towards the family friendly university?
        5. The experience of BME academics in higher education: aspirations in the face of inequality
        6. Challenges for the leadership of transnational education in higher education: balancing risk and innovation
        7. The employability agenda and beyond: what are universities for?
        8. Governance in a changing environment: literature review
        9. Governance in a changing environment: thought piece
        10. The governance of private higher education providers in the UK
        11. Leading academic talent to a successful future: an international perspective
        12. Leading academic talent to a successful future: interviews with leaders, managers and academics
        13. Out in Orbit: strategies and trajectories for higher education satellite campuses
        14. Neo-collegiality: restoring academic engagement in the managerial university
        15. Trends in Governance: Universities in the Southern, African Development, Community
        16. Action Learning as a Tool for Change and Development: The Experience of Registrars and Senior Administrative Officers in Southern Africa
        17. Registrars and Senior Administrative Officers as Change Leaders in Southern African Universities
        18. The Changing Role of the University Registrar: Challenges and Prospects in Southern African Higher Education Institutions
        19. Report from the: Programme for University Leaders in the Southern African Region (PULSAR)
        20. Leading the Student Experience: Academic and Professional Services in Partnership
        21. A Complexity Approach to Leadership Development: Developing Practical Judgement
        22. Performance Management in UK Higher Education Institutions: The need for a hybrid approach
      8. 2013 Research
        1. Humanities Research Leadership in Europe
        2. Credit Risk? Reviving credit accumulation and transfer in UK higher education
        3. What do we know about: Collaborations and Partnerships in Higher Education
        4. Leadership of Practice Disciplines in Universities: The case of nurses and teachers
        5. Devolution and Higher Education: What next?
        6. Leadership for a better student experience: What do senior executives need to know?
        7. Horizon Scanning: what will higher education look like in 2020
        8. Leading interdisciplinarity: creating environments for success
        9. Using International Recruitment Agents: Risks and Regulation?
        10. Staffing Models and Institutional Flexibility
        11. Leading change in assessment and feedback
        12. Women and Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations
        13. Internationalising the curriculum: Design, delivery and depth
        14. Losing our Chains?
      9. 2012 Research
        1. What do we know about leadership in higher education?
        2. Leadership development within the UK higher education: its impact on organisational performance, and the role of evaluation
        3. The Future of English Higher Education: two scenarios on the changing landscape
        4. Disruptive Innovation and the higher education ecosystem post-2012
        5. Academic Leadership: Changing Conceptions, Identities and Experiences in UK Higher Education
        6. Leading the Student Experience: Super-Convergence of Organisation, Structure and Business Processes
        7. Leadership for Improved Academic Enterprise
        8. Leadership and Innovation Lessons from Professional Services Firms
        9. Leading Culturally Diverse Communities in Higher Education: A Self Assessment and Improvement Tool to Support Equality and Diversity Strategies Toolkit and Toolkit as Form
        10. Inequality and higher education: marketplace or social justice?
        11. Collaborations and Mergers in HE: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
      10. 2011 Research
        1. Developing the whole student: leading higher education initiatives that integrate mind and heart
        2. A Review of Higher Education Collaborations Across Wales
        3. Higher Education Collaborations: Implications for Leadership, Management and Governance
        4. Enabling equality: furthering disability equality for staff in higher education
        5. A guide to offshore staffing strategies for UK universities
        6. Leadership and Management of International Partnerships
        7. A Framework for Identifying Governing Body Effectiveness in Higher Education
      11. 2010 Research
        1. Higher Education Futures: Key Themes and Implications for Leadership and Management
        2. Understanding Career Motivation in Higher Education, Analysis of Agregated Results from 2009 Benchmarking Study
        3. Conversations and Collaborations: The Leadership of Collaborative Projects between Higher Education and the Arts and Cultural Sector
        4. A Guide to Scenario Planning in Higher Education
      12. 2009 Research
        1. Baseline Study of Leadership Development in Higher Education 2009
        2. Diversity In Higher Education: Leadership Responsibilities and Challenges
        3. Mapping Leadership Development in Higher Education: A Global Study
        4. Departmental Leadership of Teaching in Research-Intensive Environments
        5. The Management of Academic Workloads: Improving Practice in the Sector
        6. The Role and Influence of the Secretary in UK Higher Education Governing Bodies
        7. Effective Leadership in Higher Education
        8. Governing bodies, equality and diversity A handbook for governors of higher education institutions
        9. What is an Effective and High Performing Governing Body in UK Higher Education?
      13. 2008 Research
        1. Professional Managers in UK Higher Education: Preparing for Complex Futures
        2. The Composition, Challenges and Changes in the Top Team Structures of UK Higher Education Institutions
        3. The Characteristics, Roles and Selection of Vice-Chancellors
        4. Developing Collective Leadership in Higher Education
      14. 2007 Research
        1. Human Resource Management and University Performance
        2. UK Universities and Executive Officers: The Changing Role of Pro-Vice-Chancellors
        3. Effective Leadership in Higher Education
        4. The Management of Academic Workloads
        5. Higher Education Leadership of Regional and Local Regeneration Partnerships: Learning from good practice
      15. Research Order Form
      16. Small Development Projects
        1. Small Development Projects 2019
        2. Small Development Projects 2018
        3. Small Development Projects 2017
        4. Small Development Projects 2016
        5. Small Development Projects 2015
        6. Small Development Projects 2014
        7. Small Development Projects 2013
        8. Small Development Projects 2012
        9. Small Development Projects 2011
        10. Small Development Projects 2010
        11. Small Development Projects 2008-09
        12. Advice from Previous SDP Leaders
      17. ITF Projects
        1. ITF-2016 Phase 3
        2. ITF 2014 Phase 2
        3. ITF 2012 Phase 1
        4. Case Studies
        5. What they say about the Innovation and Transformation Fund
    2. Publications Hub
      1. Research Leader's Impact Toolkit Publications
      2. Getting to Grips
      3. Let's Talk Value
      4. HELMs
        1. Leading higher education
        2. Motivating and developing leaders
        3. Leadership and work-life balance
        4. Governors' views of their institutions, leadership and governance
      5. Leadership Insights
      6. Management Development Resources
      7. Reports and Reviews
        1. Researching and Scoping a Higher Education and Civic Leadership Development Programme
      8. ENGAGE Past Editions
        1. ENGAGE 38 - summer 2015
        2. ENGAGE 37 - spring 2015
        3. ENGAGE 36 - autumn 2014
        4. ENGAGE 35 - summer 2014
        5. ENGAGE 34 - spring 2014
        6. ENGAGE 33 - autumn 2013
        7. ENGAGE 32 - summer 2013
        8. Engage Unlimited
        9. Engage 2 Book Review
    3. Resource Hub
      1. Integrated Thinking & Reporting
        1. Information and resources
        2. Relevant Factors and Characteristics
        3. Let's talk value
      2. Diversity
        1. Strategy
        2. Key Leadership and Diversity Projects
        3. Equality Legislation
        4. Diversity Advisory Group
        5. Diversity talks
      3. Research Outcomes
        1. Research Leader's Impact Toolkit
        2. The Self Assessment Toolkit
      4. Changing the Learning Landscape
        1. Impact
        2. Partners
        3. Interactive Toolkit
      5. Organisational Development
        1. OD Mapping Project
      6. Case Studies
      7. LGM Fund Outcomes
      8. Succession Management
        1. What is it?
        2. Why do it?
        3. How it's done
        4. Tools
  4. Governance
    1. Resource bank
      1. Features
      2. Governance News
      3. Previous news alerts
        1. Alternative providers and student debt in the US: could it happen in the UK?
        2. Is institutional autonomy under threat?
        3. Managing the board
        4. OECD Report suggests some higher education students lack basic skills
        5. Five issues for HEI governing bodies
        6. Whistleblowing and gagging clauses
        7. The failure of HBOS
        8. Financial forecasts for English HEIs
        9. Governance changes proposed in the HE Green paper
        10. FEHE SORP 2015 Donations & Endowments
        11. Board diversity - the Davis Review
        12. Information systems and cyber security
        13. Does a change in leadership lead to a change in strategy?
        14. FIFA and corporate governance
        15. Volkswagen
        16. Sustainability
        17. Review of governance at Plymouth University
        18. Equality and diversity and governing bodies
        19. A Changing Agenda
        20. Role and effectiveness of audit committees
        21. Governance of Scottish Higher Education Institutions: Consulative Paper on HE Bill
        22. Governance issues at Tesco
        23. Student visas
        24. Governance at the Co-op
        25. HE funding - IFS report
        26. Removal of student number control
        27. Governance issues in the private sector
        28. Governance at the BBC
        29. Reforms to how higher education in England is regulated
        30. HBOS & London Met: case studies in governance
        31. New IPPR report on HE
        32. Moocs are coming
        33. Increasing diversity
        34. Kids Company
      4. Getting to grips
      5. Governance publications
      6. Useful websites
      7. Research on governance in higher education
      8. Book reviews
      9. HE facts
      10. Illustrative Practice Notes
      11. Roundtable notes
        1. Governance events notes
    2. Governance Briefing Notes
      1. 27. Governing bodies and culture
      2. 26. The new regulatory approach to HE in England
      3. 25. The factors that influence whether governance is effective?
      4. 24. Benefits and impact
      5. 23. Competitive pressures
      6. 22. Corporate ethics and values
      7. 21. Personal ethics and values
      8. 20. Legal requirements and regulation
      9. 19. Estates
      10. 18. Finance
      11. 17. Employment
      12. 16. Remuneration
      13. 15. Nominations committee
      14. 14. Audit committee
      15. 13. The governance system and assessing effectiveness
      16. 12. Size, composition and skills available to the governing body
      17. 11. Monitoring performance
      18. 10. Strategic plan
      19. 09. Students
      20. 08. Risk management
      21. 07. International students and collaborations
      22. 06. Commercial operations
      23. 05. Regulations and compliance
      24. 04. Academic governance and quality
      25. 03. The workings of a governing body
      26. 02. Governance and management
      27. 01. Becoming a governor
    3. Self-Assessment Tool
    4. Governor Dialogues
  5. International
    1. International Engagement
    2. International Reference Group
    3. International Case Studies
  6. The Prevent Agenda
    1. Prevent training materials e-learning module
  7. Bespoke Programmes
    1. Programmes for Head of Department
      1. Leading Departments
      2. Head of Department
      3. Introduction to Head of Department
    2. Leading Teaching Teams
    3. Essentials of Leading Change
    4. Building Strategic Capability
    5. Unlocking Potential Through Performance Management
    6. Cultural Intelligence
    7. Working with Others
      1. Case Study: University College Cork

We are a membership organisation of and for a sector that has some of the brightest minds in the UK.


Our members are key to our strategy and form a community of higher education institutions with a clear commitment to and experience of developing leadership, governance and management capabilities at all levels. Academic and professional services staff from member institutions contribute to our programmes, projects and research and advise on benefits and services.


Find out more about Membership


  • Membership benefits

    • 25% discount on our open and in-house programmes and consultancy
    • a free consultancy day
    • exclusive access to research publications, development resources and funding opportunities
    • free regional events
    • funding for Staff Development Forum and MASHEIN activity
    • members’ mailing lists, newsletters and magazine
    • participation in our development networks


  • How to join

    • Membership is open to all higher education providers and related sector organisations on an annual or three-yearly subscription basis.
    • We have 154 members with around a third taking advantage of the 10% discount offered by three-year subscriptions.


  • Membership benefits

    • Research and innovation: Access to our latest, highly-valued research, Leadership Insights, Getting to Grips series and practical development project resources.
    • More…

    • Management Development Resources: Flexible workshop materials on key leadership and management development topics, for you to deliver in-house to suit your own contexts NEW: ‘Caught in the Middle’. 
    • More…

    • The Knowledge Bank: Save time with these extensive multi-media training resources for HR, staff development and OD professionals, covering key leadership and management theory and practice.
    • More…

  • Get in touch

    Meet the membership team, your national and regional contacts in the UK and Ireland, and LF networks.

You are:

Text size: A A A Print page:

Advance HE
Leadership, Governance and Management

Peer House, 8-14 Verulam Street
London WC1X 8LZ

T: 020 3468 4810     F: 020 3468 4811

Text size: A A A
Use of Cookies

This website uses cookies. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.  Find out more here.