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Advance HE hosts special event for women completing Ireland’s latest Aurora leadership development programme

17 May 2023 | Advance HE Delegates discuss their Future in HE, share best practice and network with colleagues from across Ireland’s higher education sector.

More than 190 higher education professionals were meeting in Dublin today to celebrate completing Advance HE’s leadership development programme for women, Aurora

The women have all been participants on the latest Aurora programme in Ireland and were meeting in person for the first time at the major networking and development event which marks the completion of their course.

Expert panel

Your Future in HE includes a panel of experts discussing the challenges and opportunities ahead for the sector. The panel were:

  • Professor Aoife Ahern, Dean of Engineering at University College Dublin
  • Dr Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University
  • Professor Malachy Ó Néill, Director of Regional Engagement, Ulster University.

Impact of Aurora

"Women who have taken part in Aurora are more than twice as likely to be promoted after the programme than those who haven’t,” said Steve Lloyd, Advance HE’s Assistant Director for Delivery Services.

“Recent research shows that 66 per cent of Aurora participants had applied for a promotion after the programme "with 83 per cent being successful and 68 per cent of those successful applicants agreeing that Aurora had impacted the success of their application.

Since its launch in 2013, more than 9,500 women from 200 higher education institutions have taken part in the Aurora. The programme launched in Ireland in 2014 and attracts participants from across the island of Ireland.

'It's an opportunity to reflect on where I'm going and what I need to do to progress'

Three Aurora participants agreed that forging connections was key element of the programme.
Pictured left to right are Maeve Kerr, lecturer in food regulatory affairs at Ulster University, Silvia Arroya, lecturer of Spanish literature at the University of Cork and Immaculada Gomez Soler, assistant professor of Spanish and applied linguistics at Dublin City University.
Maeve said: "It's been an opportunity to reflect on where I'm going and what I need to progress. It's good to listen to other participants and learn that we all feel the same underneath and face similar challenges."
Silvia said: "Most important thing has been to seen we all have same concerns and to find ways of adjusting to deal with that."
Immaculada said she had benefitted from the mentorship side of the programme."It's given me the chance to develop a strong one-to-one connection in which I've been able to explore the issues that concern me such as work/life balance, the boundaries between my profession and my home life."
A large group of women smiling at camera

More than 190 women from across the island of Ireland attended the special networking event in Dublin.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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