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Leadership styles – the impact of Advance HE’s Top Management Programme for Higher Education

18 Apr 2019 | Advance HE Advance HE has published the Leadership Insights (Year Two) report, which forms part of its longitudinal study ‘Leadership Journeys: Tracking the challenge and impact of the Top Management Programme', exploring the impact and outcomes of TMP. The study is being conducted by Ulster University Business School.

The Top Management Programme for Higher Education is Advance HE's flagship programme and has an established track record of developing strategic leaders in higher education. Over 60 of the current UK Vice-Chancellors/Principals are TMP HE alumni, with many of the other past participants of TMP HE holding some of the most senior posts throughout higher education.

The new report focuses on leadership styles using ‘Story Based Evaluation’ (SBE), a qualitative approach incorporating ‘360’ feedback, through three phases:

  • TMP HE alumni selected colleagues who were invited to describe at least three “live” leadership stories or interactions. 
  • These stories were analysed to identify the application of TMP HE learning and influence on the alumni and their individual groups. 
  • The TMP HE alumni were then asked to reflect on the group feedback, determining how TMP HE had influenced their practice.

The report authors found clear evidence that much of the practice highlighted in the SBEs related directly back to the TMP HE.

I’m delighted to share this report which highlights important qualitative insights into the impact of TMP, uncovering some of the more intangible and emerging benefits of the programme. It shows that practice from TMP HE is making a positive contribution where it matters most – improving institutional performance, shaping strategy and bringing about change effectively and collaboratively.

Good leadership at every level is a critical factor in institutional success and I’m very proud of the impact TMP HE is having at senior levels. Our study and its component reports, will inform and shape the future of TMP HE so that it remains the exemplar for best practice for senior leadership in the sector.

Alison Johns, Advance HE Chief Executive

The longitudinal study, commissioned by Advance HE (formerly the Leadership Foundation) in 2016 runs until 2020.

The Top Management Programme for Higher Education is Advance HE's flagship programme is designed to equip you, as a senior leader, with the necessary skills to extend your thinking and practice, and to face the challenges of HE leadership using experiential learning, impact groups, coaching and new models of leadership. Over 60 of the current UK vice-chancellors/principals are TMP alumni, with many of the other past participants of TMP holding some of the most senior posts throughout higher education.


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