Aurora Programme - Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should Apply?
Female Academic Staff (Lecturer/Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor), Administrative, Technical and Professional Staff (AO1, SAO4, SAO3 or equivalent) and Female Research staff (Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow).
Aurora is a leadership development programme specifically for women in the Higher Education sector. Since 2013, more than 8,300 women from over 200 institutions across the UK and Ireland have participated in the programme.
The programme seeks to support women and their institutions to fulfil their leadership potential through thought provoking activities, collaborative problem-solving and motivating stories supported by inspirational women role models. Participation embeds strong networks of early career women across the sector to share best practice, insights, and experiences. Further, on-going support is ensured through action learning, online resources and institutional level support including mentoring.
The 2022/23 programme will be a primarily virtual experience. Most Aurora activity will now be delivered online. There is one in-person session in May 2023.
Participants will be asked to:
- attend the introduction webinar, four development days, the face-to-face Your Future in HE day, the two action learning set days organised by participants in their assigned groups;
- undertake self-directed learning throughout Aurora, aligned with developing interests and where time allows;
- commit to working with a mentor who is provided by their institution (mentee training (half-day) will be held in advance);
- be prepared to access leadership opportunities and champion for change.
Course Content & Dates
Mentee Training for Aurora participants – (26th September 2022 10:00 -11:30)
Intro Webinar (22nd November 2022)
The introduction session is an integral part of the programme. It will give participants an opportunity to meet their fellow Aurorans and start forming crucial relationships for their development. We will invite you to share your individual objectives for taking part in Aurora and will discuss how the Aurora journey will be unfolding throughout the year. We will be joined by an inspirational speaker to open the programme and share their experience of being a woman leader. The introduction session will also equip delegates with some practical information about the online delivery platforms used during Aurora. The session will be led by Barbara Bassa.
Identity, Impact and Voice (29th November 2022)
Identity, Impact and Voice will launch you into your leadership journey by focusing on what ‘makes you, you’ and the people who have inspired you. We will also discuss how your identity impacts your leadership in positive ways. Lastly, we will be thinking about what it means to be on the receiving end of you, how you show up and how you might flex your communication style to have a greater impact on all those around you. This day will be led by Amanda Wilsher.
Core Leadership Skills (17th January 2023)
Core Leadership is all about you – who you are, what matters to you, and how to mobilise the tools in your REAL leadership toolbox. Working together, supporting each other, we explore purpose and values and what these mean for leaders. Articulating the what and the why of your leadership brings clarity about you and what you represent. Sharing our stories and experiences, we explore leadership in HE, further developing your network. This day will be led by Suzanne O'Brien.
Action Learning Set 1 (28 February 2023)
Hosted by Advance HE, delegates will be introduced to the peer-to-peer support process of Action Learning Sets (ALS). This is a widely used and reliable model for helping people form supportive groups, develop their listening and communication skills and solve their own issues within their career. Following an introduction to the process of ALS, delegates will be allocated to groups of 4-5 delegates from a mixture of institutions and areas of higher education, where they will spend the duration of the session developing those skills through an experiential learning process. This session will be led by Barbara Bassa.
Politics and Influence (21st March 2023)
This development day invites participants to look at their individual leadership against the backdrop of their institutions’ cultures and politics. Individuals are invited to examine their levels of emotional intelligence and personal influence, emerging with an enhanced ability to amplify the profile they want to nurture. Participants will be encouraged to think about building coalitions, developing networks and making lasting, mutually supportive connections. This day will be led by Vijaya Nath.
Adaptive Leadership Skills (18th April 2023)
Leadership is really tested when the environment is challenging or when there are no easy solutions. A leader’s ability to be heard and their courage to speak up are essential in this context. This day will look at how the tools of adaptive leadership could enhance your performance and success, as well as enable you to reflect on the leader that you want to be in the future. This day will be led by Jenny Garrett OBE.
Action Learning Set 2 (9th May 2023)
For this final session delegates reconvene and host their own Action Learning Set group and continue to support each other using the ALS process, further developing their communication, and listening skills.
Your Future in HE (face-to-face) (17th May 2023)
This face-to-face session provides participants with an opportunity to reflect on their learning from the programme, think about their next steps and personal leadership journey in the wider HE landscape, and provides them with an opportunity to network with peers.
Office of the Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, Maynooth University
This programme takes place in 2022/2023.
The following eligibility criteria apply, applicants must:
- be a current female employee of Maynooth University;
- be on a contract duration of three years or Permanent (two years for Research Staff);
- have held their post with the University for at least one year;
- be at the grade of Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, SAO3, SAO4, AO1, Senior Research Fellow or Research Fellow or equivalent;
- be willing to undertake the time commitment for the full programme and mentoring.
The Aurora programme is specifically designed for staff who are ambitious to further their career and who are considering their own career pathway towards senior leadership opportunities within the University (Vice President, Director, Head of Department in Academic or Support Role, or Dean).
Applicants should submit:
- a professional updated CV (outlining professional achievements to date, including evidence of leadership) [40/100];
- a cover letter (indicating how participation in the Aurora programme will address current leadership challenges that the applicant is facing and how participation in the Aurora programme will provide the skills necessary to step into a future senior leadership position within the University) [50/100];
- and a Letter of Support from Head of Department (This should emphasise the applicant’s availability to attend all parts of the programme, their suitability for the programme and how they might transfer the learning from the programme.) [10/100].
to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline for applications, 5pm, Friday 9th September 2022.
In 2022/23, Maynooth University is committed to making available 7 places on the programme.
Points for the HoD to include in the support letter: (no longer than 500 words)
- Endorsement of application and of candidates leadership experience;
- Endorsement of candidate to attend on the dates outlined;
- Endorsement for the candidate to go on the programme and for the learnings to be brought back to the department
Aurora Programme - Frequently Asked Questions