The higher education sector is changing rapidly and this brings opportunities and challenges. As individuals, we need to ask ourselves what skills do we need to support the teams we lead, and what opportunities are available to us to develop those skills?
The Introduction to Head of Department programme was my first experience of Leadership Foundation professional development. It provided an overview of the skills needed to fulfil my role in the current context of UK HE and allowed me time to explore the HE landscape and assess my place within it.
I subsequently participated in the Leading Departments programme. This focussed on meeting the operational challenges of leading and managing teams by working through a range of scenarios and practising skills in a supportive environment. The insights gained were invaluable, empowering, gave me more confidence and have enabled me to become more innovative. A key benefit of the Leading Departments programme is the opportunity to network informally with participants across disciplines and to use action learning to explore challenges on an ongoing basis. Complementing this, the LF Fellowship programme provides a more formal framework for developing effectiveness and applying skills developed through the programme to the benefit of my department and institution.
Through working with the LF, I have become increasingly interested in communication, leadership, coaching and mentoring skills. I have been a mentor for a number of individuals across my institution and gain tremendous satisfaction from coaching and supporting colleagues to achieve their potential. My most recent experience of LF professional development was as a role model on the Aurora Programme. The focus was on exploring different approaches to leadership from a gender perspective. Individual experiences, opinions and expectations varied greatly, but for me, one of the most positive aspects of my current leadership role is that I am in a position to support others to achieve their aspirations. The knowledge and skills gained through the LF have proved invaluable in this respect.
Two Inspiring Leaders that I have encountered recently are Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor of the University of Kent and Professor Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. They are exemplary role models and their leadership styles empower others.
Dr Liz Price, head of Division of Geography and Environmental Management, School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University
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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.
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