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Embedding Mental Wellbeing in the Curriculum – International

Diversifying Leadership FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Diversifying Leadership Programme

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1. How many cohorts do you run a year?  

We typically deliver three regional cohorts per academic year. We release dates for the next portfolio year in Spring (May-June) each year where booking will open on our webpage. 

The programme is delivered over the period of four months comprising of an orientation webinar, three online modules and two face-to-face modules, with related asynchronous work. 

Face to face modules are held in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

You can find Diversifying Leadership cohort dates & timings, locations, price, and onboarding deadlines summarised in the Diversifying Leadership (23-25) Cohort Dates. 

2. What are the timings of the modules? 

Orientation Webinar (Online): 10:00-11:30  
Module 1 (Face to face): 09:45-16:00 
Module 2 (Online): 09:15-15:00 
Module 3 (Online):  09:15-15:00 
Module 4(Face to face): 09:45-16:00 
Module 5 (Online): 09:15-15:00 

Sponsor Webinar 1 & 2 (Online): 12:30-14:00 

3. How much time will need to be dedicated to the programme?  

Participants should expect to commit to a 90-minute Orientation webinar and five one day modules, alongside some pre-reading and post-session (asynchronous) reflective activities and sponsor meetings which will take around two hours per session

4. What if I can’t attend a module, can I attend that module with another cohort? 

Unfortunately, swapping to another cohort's session, whether online or face-to-face, is not possible due to the content and design of the programme, action learning set groups and venue logistics. In applying for Diversifying Leadership, our participants are making a commitment to themselves, their peers and their sponsors to attend all sessions.   

We acknowledge that unforeseen circumstances may arise, so if there is no way for you make alternative arrangements in order to attend all modules, please be assured that in such cases we will support where we can through our VLE Connect platform, sharing resources, or facilitating discussions with the programme directors. 

5. Who is the programme for? Is there an eligibility criterion for the programme?

The programme is aimed at early-career academics and professional services staff from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds who are embarking on their leadership journey. It specifically targets individuals who are either new to leadership roles in higher education or have faced structural barriers to leadership within the sector.  

As a guideline, participants will be working in roles at grade 6-8 and seeking progression opportunities through promotion, stretch projects or increased visibility. This will include but is not limited to lecturers, senior lecturers, co-ordinators and heads of service.  

Please note that staff in roles either above or below these grades who are committed and able to meet the demands of the course are also encouraged to attend.

6. What is the selection process for Diversifying Leadership?

HEIs may use any process they favour to attract participants for the programme. Many Institutional champions employ an internal application process, allowing them to set their own criteria.  

Once your champion has booked your place on the programme, AHE has a review process in place via an ‘Onboarding Form’ to ensure we create a safe and inclusive environment for all participants, and to assess the suitability of participants for the programme. 

If you are booking onto the programme yourself (not via a champion), we will monitor the number of bookings per institution to ensure that no more than 5 colleagues from the same institution are enrolled. This allows us to separate participants into diverse groups for group work and action learning sets, creating a safe and inclusive environment. 

7. What does the onboarding process involve? 

We ask for an online onboarding entry survey to be completed by those booked on, to help us understand more about the participants' journey and ambitions. Our programme facilitators will review this to uphold the programme objectives. 

For participants, the form will ask for some personal details, including name, institution, role, contact details and ethnic background. We will also ask for some accessibility details to ensure necessary adjustments are made. Participants will then be asked to complete a ’personal statement’ (300 – 500 words) which outlines their personal aims and objectives for applying to the programme, what they hope to gain and how you intend on applying your learning.    

Sponsors must use the same link to provide some personal details and upload a short statement of support, outlining their commitment to supporting their protégées journey. Additional information for sponsors is available in our Sponsor Toolkit

Participants and Sponsors can complete the form separately however it must be completed in one sitting as there is no save and return function. Please ensure you have enough time to complete it before beginning the onboarding form. You may want to write your answers in advance, and then copy and paste them into the form. Please double check the onboarding form deadline date and ensure it is completed by then. 

  • Participants estimated completion time: 30-50 minutes  
  • Sponsors estimated completion time: 25-35 minutes 

The onboarding form will be shared with institutional champions to distribute to the colleagues they have booked onto the programme or via the AHE Programmes Team if you have booked on yourself. 

8..How can I apply or book a place? What is an institutional champion? 

If you have an Institutional Champion, they are responsible for booking you onto the programme. They are a significant point of contact throughout the programme, who will support with the booking and onboarding process. Additionally, they may support with finding a sponsor from within your institution. Please see the Institutional Champion Directory to check if you have an Institutional Champion.

If your institution does not have an Institutional Champion assigned yet, please use the booking link and the Programmes Team will be in touch to provide support and guidance on how to proceed ensuring a smooth onboarding process. 

Please note we cannot accept more than five bookings from the same institution per cohort. 

Programmes and event bookings are made through our customer portal My Advance HE. On your first visit to My Advance HE you will need to go through the sign up process to activate your account using an email address of your choice.

9. I don’t have a Champion, can I still book? 

Yes, you can still book onto the programme without a champion. 

Having an Institutional Champion is beneficial as they can support you throughout the programme, advocate for systemic change within your organisation, assist with the onboarding process (including payment) and identifying a sponsor. 

If you don’t have an official champion, we recommend informing your management, HR, or Learning and Development Team as they may be able to assist you with this. 

Please don’t let the absence of a champion deter you from booking.  Please contact and we can guide you through the onboarding process or any other queries you may have. 

10. Are there any support networks set up for between sessions? 

Yes, participants gain access to an exclusive network and community through our VLE Connect. Connect serves as a virtual hub where participants can connect, collaborate, and engage with fellow learners and facilitators. Participants will be able revisit course materials, reference additional resources, and continue their learning journey at their own pace within an extended access period. Your sponsor will also support you throughout the programme.

We are also currently working some exciting events to reconnect our Diversifying Alumni.

11. Is there any formal assessment? 

The programme does not have any formal assessment and is not accredited but is digitally recognised and we will provide attendees will a certificate of learning. For further information on how to share and celebrate your achievements with digitally recognised learning please visit: Advance HE digital awards and certificates | Advance HE   

12. What is the role of the sponsor? 

Sponsorship is a special kind of relationship in which a more senior colleague provides structured support which may include: Creating research productivity; Career advice & guidance; Navigate internal politics & structures; and Provides access to projects. The Sponsor also uses his or her influence with senior members of staff to advocate for the participant. 

Ideally, the protegee should meet with their sponsor after each module if not at least three times over the duration of the programme.   

Sponsors are required to attend two webinars with the programme facilitators and negotiate the time commitment between themselves and the participant. 

After successfully completing the programme, Diversifying Leadership alumna Lydiah Igweh, alongside her sponsor Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, shares her thoughts on 'Making sponsorship a two-way street'. 

13. What level of seniority should my sponsor be?   

Your sponsor should be 2 or 3 levels above your current level within your institution, work in the same/similar field & have the social and political capital to advance the career of their protégés and are willing to use it.  

Sponsors undertake a commitment to advocate for their participant by providing opportunities for leadership, for example, access to strategic networks, more visibility through stretch projects and modelling how to navigate organisational politics successfully.  

14. Can I apply if I cannot guarantee a sponsor? Guidance on finding a sponsor 

Participants are required to confirm a sponsor to attend the programme. 

Your institutional champion, management or HR/Learning Development Team may be able to support you in finding a suitable sponsor, please find our guidance below:  

  • The sponsor should be an experienced person who can support the participants' development throughout the programme.  
  • Sponsors should be well-established and knowledgeable members of the institution and will usually be more senior than the participant.  
  • Ideally, the sponsor will have knowledge of and experience in governance either in higher education or a sector of interest to the participant.  
  • Depending on the participants personal and professional goals they can be from within or outside their own institution. See further guidance below.  
  • The Sponsor will be required to meet with Advance HE at least twice via a sponsor webinar to set intentions and discuss progress.  
  • The time commitment will be negotiated between the sponsor and the participant.  

Further guidance on the role of the sponsor can be found within the Sponsor Toolkit or contacting the team via  

15. What is the difference between a sponsor and a mentor? 

The different between a mentor and sponsor is defined in the Sponsor Toolkit. During the orientation webinar and throughout the programme there is space to ask for further guidance on the sponsorship relationship. The sponsor webinars will also cover this and provides as a safe space for further discussion. 

16. How many places are available on the programme? 

There are 30 place available for each cohort. Institutions can book up to five places per cohort to allow for participants to be separated within group work and action learning sets, to create a safe and inclusive environment. 

17. Does the programme price include travel and accommodation to the venue for Module One & Four? 

No, the total programme cost does not cover travel and accommodation arrangements, these need to be arranged independently or through your institution.  

18. Who can I talk about for the specific needs of my institution or how to become an Institutional Champion? 

If you are thinking about enrolling participants on Diversifying Leadership and would like any advice, please contact us at  

19. What is the difference between Diversifying Leadership, Aurora and other leadership programmes? 

Diversifying Leadership is aimed at aspiring academic and professional services staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, who are either new to leadership in higher education and/or have experienced structural barriers to leadership while working in the sector. 

Whereas, Aurora is aimed at 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. It is designed to be a positive action measure under the Equality Act 2010, on the basis of the protected characteristic of sex.  

Whilst both are a leadership initiative, within Diversifying Leadership, leadership is explored primarily through the lens of ethnicity, affording participants a rare opportunity to share experiences with colleagues from across the UK. A range of leadership approaches are considered and ideas which are often taken for granted are critiqued, allowing alternatives to be explored.  

Our new digital Development Planner will help guide you to a range of development opportunities that meet your requirements by answering a few short questions.

20. I have more questions about the programme, who should I contact? 

For more information about the programme, please contact