Jacqui Marshall, Deputy Registrar & Director of People Services and Global Partnerships

I am really committed to supporting the development of women to have great and meaningful careers and I have been very impressed with the content of Aurora both in terms of the hands on practical hints and tools and also fantastic networking opportunities. In the past, I have lent my support by attending the programme days as a mentor and I get a real buzz when meeting the breadth of academic and professional service attendees.

Aurora, Leadership Foundation women-only leadership development

Anyone interested in taking part in 2017/2018 should contact their Athena Swan Representative (in STEM Colleges) or the HRBP in non-STEM and Professional Services. Information and the nomination process is usually communicated from early June. See Process below.

Launched in November 2013, Aurora is the Leadership Foundation’s (LFHE) women-only leadership development that combines workshops including cross-institutional action learning sets, in-house mentoring and on-line resources. It was created in response to research which shows that women are under-represented in senior leadership positions in HE internationally.

It aims to enable women in academic and professional staff roles to think of themselves as future leaders; to influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills. Aurora provides a positive experience of leadership and encourages participants to recognise their talent and capabilities and ‘step-up’ to promoted posts.

Who is this for? Aurora is for women up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent (up to Grade G) who wish to develop their leadership skills and who are interested in exploring leadership and management as an element of career progression. While most leadership programmes are aimed at leaders and managers already in role, Aurora is designed to engage with women at an earlier stage in their careers. It is not suitable for women already in a leadership role.

Location: The course takes place over five learning days at a number of locations in the UK, to save on travel expenses, we encourage participants to choose the nearest venue, Cardiff, London or Birmingham.

Dates for the Cardiff London and Birmingham sessions 2017-2018 are between Oct 2017 and July 2018 and participants need to attend all sessions.  

Cost: The costs (course fees, travel and expenses) are funded entirely by College/Service. 

Process:  The programme runs annually and is coordinated by your College/Service, as they fund places. This means that your form will be countersigned with a supporting statement from your manager/supervisor and then will be prioritised within the College/Service.  If you are in a STEM College, you can gain more information from your Athena SWAN representative.

For more detail on the application process, please see:

  1. Aurora application process for STEM Colleges
  2. Aurora application process for Professional Services and non-STEM Colleges
  3. Aurora Nomination Form

Supporting the programme: The programme is supported by an Aurora Champion and provides guidance and is the main point of contact between the LFHE and Exeter.

Once delegates have had their place confirmed by the LFHE, they will need to find a Mentor.

Role Models from Exeter attend the workshops so that participants have contact with successful women in higher education displaying the values and characteristics suitable for a positive role model.

Visit the Aurora website

Feedback from past participants:

  • Think critically about what you’re looking to get out of the Aurora programme; there may be other routes to developing your leadership skills, particularly if you have specific ideas and ways you’d like to develop, and the Aurora programme is relatively generic in its’ approach. However, if it is a broad introduction to many of the issues and opportunities around women in leadership and leading women that you’re after, this fits the bill.
  • Do the reading and reflective exercises; give yourself the time to attend and actively participate; make full use of your mentor.
  • The opportunity to network and speak to so many women was great and I did learn a lot about leadership skills. The talks from inspirational women who've gone far up the career ladder were heartening.
  • It is definitely a worthwhile experience that has given me a lot of confidence.