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Top Management Programme for Higher Education

A development opportunity specifically created for those in an executive role in a higher education institution. Over 60 current and former UK Vice-Chancellors and 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 challenges facing higher education both in the UK and internationally continue to grow in their scale and complexity; this emphasises the need for institutions to have confident, forward thinking and effective executive leadership with the agility and innovation to respond.

Executive leaders also need space and opportunity to think differently and build effective networks, skills and insights to sustain their roles and contribution for both their personal benefit and to be a fully contributing member of the Executive team.


Application closing date: Friday 14 April 2023

Programme start date: Friday 9 June 2023

Register your interest and download information pack

How is the programme delivered?

TMP HE is an open programme delivered in a cohort structure. There is a strong emphasis on ensuring that each cohort is a diverse peer group, enhancing the learning experience. The programme is split over the three residential weeks with an impact day between each.

TMP HE's truly agile delivery method means that the programme content and delivery is shaped by its participants whilst ensuring delivery of the defined curriculum. Providing timely value to the participants, this is achieved through continuous review and feedback.

The core content of the programme will include:

+ Orientation Day - Introduction to the Programme, Participants and the Process, Friday 9 June 2023 (please note this will be online)
+ Week One - Leadership, strategy and change (four days) Tuesday 4 – Friday 7 July 2023
+ Coaching (Online) - Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 September 2023
+ Impact group (Online) - Meeting One Friday 22 September 2023
+Week Two - International module, Monday 16 – Friday 20 October 2023, Europe
+ Impact group (Online) - Meeting Two Friday 24 November 2023
+ Week Three - Institutional influence, political leadership and governance, Tuesday 23 – Friday 26 January 2024, Location TBC
+ Coaching (Online) - Final Session March 2024

In conversation with...

Top Management Programme in HE Programme Directors, Louisa Hardman and Robin Ryde

We spoke to the programme directors to discuss the importance of high quality leadership in difficult times. 

Opening with what they describe as TMP’s defining characteristic “that [it] has always adapted to the changing context of higher education”, Louisa and Robin discuss the main challenges for executive leadership at present, how the programme is going to be delivered in these changing times and how the lessons from the programme stay with participants throughout their careers.

Leadership challenges

Louisa points to six key challenges as the backdrop for the programme: contextual, organisational, technical, relational, personal and political.


Online learning

Robin discusses the advantages of a blended learning approach and online delivery, bringing flexibility and responsive expertise to delegates wherever they are in the world. 

Resilience and courage

Louisa Hardman discusses the practice of reflection, resilience and courage, and the value of working with a peer group that offers genuine feedback. 

Looking ahead to TMP50

Ahead of the landmark 50th cohort of the Top Management Programme for Higher Education joint Programme Director Louisa Hardman describes what participants can look forward to and how the programme offers "something really quite unique", confirming the importance of leadership development for the world we are now in.   


Developing senior leaders in higher education

Top Management Programme for Higher Education is designed to equip senior leaders, with the necessary skills to extend your thinking and practice, and to face the challenges of HE leadership.

  • The core curriculum of the programme is based on what makes an effective executive leader in HE
  • A truly agile learning experience drawn from exposure to new ideas and new ways of delivering innovation and change
  • Programme participants are a 'true' peer group, currently working as part of, or about to become part of, an executive or in a role with significant cross-institution responsibility
  • The programme supports innovation skill development in HE
  • Learning and development is placed within a real-time context, is immersive and the participants inform the learning throughout in a responsive and co-created approach
  • The international visit takes participants “outside” their immediate perspective on the sector, an opportunity to reflect on approaches
  • As a cohort of influential figures, TMP HE alumni and guest contributors begin to collaborate within the “cohort community”, influencing and shaping debate in the sector.
Man studying alone

The value of TMP went well beyond the programme content. I found the positive and constructive atmosphere particularly beneficial as it encouraged open and honest discussions, where even a negative story can be positive because it’s used constructively as a learning opportunity. I thoroughly recommend TMP for future strategic leaders.”

Professor Rudolf Allemann
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Physical Sciences and Engineering
Cardiff University

What are the programme outcomes?

Successful completion of TMP HE benefits both the participant and their institution.

The institution benefits from the building of confident leaders who are nuanced and effective, to achieve improved performance, gain the tools to shape institutional strategy, position or culture and develop a reflective/strategic approach to supporting and challenging others to lead.

Participants develop the skills and experience to bring about change through engaging people, work through collaboration and diversity and gain experience by applying their learning through a personal leadership project which benefits the sponsoring institution as it develops the individual leader.

Participants will join the TMP HE alumni (currently over 900 members) and continue to benefit from a vibrant support network, informing and steering debate in the sector, developing collective leadership.

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