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Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership Contributors Announced

16 Apr 2019 | Advance HE Advance HE is pleased to announce the topic for its challenge workshop during Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership (PSSL) 31 in June 2019.

Advance HE is pleased to announce the topic for its challenge workshop during Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership (PSSL) 31 in June 2019. The programme always includes a panel of experts addressing a strategic issue, and this year the topic is 'the climate emergency’. Contributors to the panel on this important topic will be Ian Williams, Professor of Applied Environmental Science and Associate Dean (Enterprise), Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton; Rebecca Willis, Researcher, Lancaster University; and Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University. 

Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership (PSSL) is a four-day programme run by Doug Parkin and Rebecca Nestor which provides a unique opportunity for new and aspiring senior university leaders to explore and develop their leadership identity. Participants on PSSL are university managers and leaders who are considering moving from departmental leadership roles to a more strategic role such as Dean.  The group includes both academic and professional service colleagues.

The PSSL programme is shaped around a model we have developed called Connected Leadership.  This charts four key leadership connections: the ability to connect with yourself, to connect with other people, to connect with the organisation and to connect with the wider world.  The challenge workshop or provocation triggers particularly the fourth of these connections, the wider world, and for leaders this draws upon what we have termed inclusive intelligence.

The topic in this upcoming programme will aim to answer questions such as: how do individual citizens and society as a whole prepare for the major social, economic and political disruptions likely to be caused by climate change? What is the role of universities in enabling society to prepare? What part does student learning, academic research and community engagement play in this? And how do university leaders ‘keep the show on the road’ while still facing up to potential big changes ahead?

It is part of our job at Advance HE to prepare leaders for turbulence. Climate change and related ecological damage will be likely to bring unprecedented turbulence to our society, and I’m proud that we are offering this opportunity for leaders to explore the role of higher education in minimising the risk while preparing for what we cannot now prevent.

Rebecca Nestor, associate of Advance HE and co-director of PSSL

The panel session is referred to as a ‘challenge workshop’ or ‘provocation', and involves three speakers who each make a very short, provocative presentation, showcasing their differing perspectives on a key strategic issue.  There is then an unfolding inquiry process in which participants interview the speakers, make sense of the issue and present back to the speakers on the implications of the strategic issue as they see them for leadership and leaders.  It explores a key issue at the same time as using 'inquiry' as a leadership process.

Given the prominence of climate change in the news recently, it will be interesting to contribute as an environmental scientist along with the other panellists on the challenges ahead. I’m pleased to be involved.

Ian Williams

It’s good news that the PSSL programme will be focusing on the climate emergency and I look forward to speaking on the challenges to decision-makers in responding to climate change.

Rebecca Willis

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Julie Sanders has a responsibility for environmental sustainability and social justice as well as academic strategy, and will discuss her experience of leading in complex situations. 

Find out more about the Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership programme.

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