Aurora - Developing women leaders in HE

Aurora is women-only leadership development initiative launched in November 2013 by the Leadership Foundation.

Aurora aims to encourage a wide range of women in academic and professional roles to think of themselves as leaders, to develop leadership skills, and to help institutions maximise the potential of these women. This innovative development process will focus is for women up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent.  

This initiative is in response to research by the Leadership Foundation which shows there are fewer women in the most senior positions in higher education than ten years ago and identifies features that could be addressed to change this.  Many influential stakeholders including vice-chancellors, HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council) and the ECU (Equality Challenge Unit) agree the situation calls for action and the feedback from the sector tells us they would like to encourage more women to plan and prepare better for leadership roles at an early point in their careers.

Aurora addresses core areas associated with leadership success:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes

Aurora addresses these areas by using a combination of development days; self-directed learning that follows the interests, needs and time constraints of participants; action learning sets organised and delivered locally and in-house mentoring. Participants are expected to attend all workshops, and undertake a small amount of work between meetings.

Within the University, Petra Dodd, Head of Learning and Organisational Development is the administrator and main contact point for further information. Maureen Boylan, University Secretary is the University “Champion” and is responsible for helping to select and then support participants and mentors. 

If you would like more information about the initiative, please see the Leadership Foundation website .

It is important to first look at the web-site which gives a good insight into what’s likely to be involved.  



Calendar of Events 

Online Appraisal 


Contact Details

Organisational & Staff Development
1st Floor, Stewart House
32 Russell Square

Tel. (020) 7862 8101/8098/8082

Fax. (020) 7862 8080