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Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme

Explore the contemporary contexts and challenges of being a female senior leader.

The shortage of senior women at the most senior levels in institutions is still a challenge, despite some improvements at executive and board levels in recent years.

Advance HE’s Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme is one of our women-only programmes designed specifically for women in senior positions in HE to help them take the next step up or extend their role, profile and impact. It aims at creating more gender parity in senior leadership within higher education.

Enquire about Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme

Key information

Introductory session: 7 May 2021 
End date: 7 July 2021 
Location: Online

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Developing female senior leaders

In the programme we create a safe space for senior women leaders to explore the complexity of navigating through conventional organisational structures and to build foundations for transformation and paradigm shift.

The programme strikes a balance between enhancing technical knowledge of key strategic areas of operation including institutional finance, structures and governance along with exploring individual leadership styles, leadership legacy, personal impact and developing political skills.

I found the programme invaluable, with space to explore the challenges of women’s leadership in HE as well as to examine critical issues such as university governance and finance. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to be amongst other senior female leaders in HE.”

Dr Emily McIntosh, Director of Student Life, Student Experience Team, University of Bolton

How is the programme delivered?

Taking place over the course of three months, the Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme consists of an introductory session, four online days and an additional action learning set. 

Day 1

7 May 2021
Introduction to Senior Women Leading

- Introducing the remits of the programme – key principles and frameworks
- Building a safe container for deep leadership explorations
- Setting the scene for Senior Women’s Leadership in the current HE context

Day 2

17 May 2021
Finance, Governance and Regulation frameworks in higher education

- Exploring the organisational and decision making frameworks of the UK’s HEIs
- Examining universities’ Annual Report and Accounts or equivalent publically available financial data
- Understanding funding and finance, governance, accountability and regulation contexts of the higher education sector

Day 3

18 May 2021
Finance and Governance: Decision making at the top table

- Developing practical strategies for navigating organisational frameworks in HE
- Using a real play methodology to explore decision making at the executive level
- Applying scenarios for planning financial sustainability in universities

Day 4

8-10 June 2021
Facilitated action learning sets (delegates will meet with their set on one of the three days)

Half way through the programme the participants meet in smaller groups for their action learning sets. They are encouraged to discuss practical issues pertinent to their leadership roles and work on solutions using the collective intelligence of the group through non-directive, coaching approaches

Day 5

6 July 2021
Navigating organisational politics and culture in higher education

- Understanding organisational culture and politics in higher education
- Developing practical skills to influence positive organisational changes
- Working with real life scenarios to impact the internal politics

Day 6

7 July 2021
Developing leadership narrative, purpose and presence

- Exploring leadership needed in the current HE context
- Developing unique leadership style and enhancing personal impact
- Reaffirming personal leadership purpose and legacy through compelling narrative and presence

The programme's outcomes

Through the programme participants:

  • enhance their sense of presence to be able to engage in an organisational dialogue in a more impactful way
  • develop skills and confidence related to finance, governance, culture, politics and influence 
  • understand the organisational and decision making frameworks of the UK’s HEIs and their links to institutional purpose
  • build understanding of their unique leadership style, personal impact and legacy 
  • start exploring the leadership needed in the post-pandemic HE
  • create a momentum in their career progression through renewed commitment and a supportive network of senior women  


Register your interest in the Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme

Register your interest in Senior Women's Leadership Development Programme.

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