Aurora 2019/2020

Aurora is a leadership programme developed to address the under-representation of women in senior leadership posts in Irish and UK Higher Education Institutions and to date, has seen 5,895 women complete the programme.
Aurora is targeted at women in lecturer, senior lecturer and professional services roles across all academic disciplines and throughout central university services.
The programme is designed to introduce key leadership topics and skills across four (4) workshops, complemented by networking, role models and guest speakers at each event. Further, on-going support is ensured through action learning, online resources and institutional level support including mentoring.
In 2019-2020, Maynooth University is committed to making available up to 6 places on the programme commencing December 2019.
Who can apply?

  • Female Academic staff currently graded as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer
  • Female Professional staff currently graded as AOI, SAOIII or SAOIV

Applicants need to have at least 12 months service with the University and have the support of their Head of Department.
Maynooth University will sponsor the participation fee of £1,400.
Application Process
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 or Dean).
To apply for the 2019/2020 Aurora Leadership Development Programme, eligible employees must submit:

  • A professional CV (maximum of 3 pages)
  • A covering letter (maximum of 2 pages) outlining the following:
    • 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.
  • A statement of support (maximum of 250 words) from their Head of Department. 

Applications should be sent to
Applications will close Sunday 29th October 2019

Workshop dates and locations
Identity, Impact and Voice: 10 December 2019
Participants will investigate the nature of leadership and leaders and what it means to them, learn about the importance of visibility and ‘voice’ and start to consider the leadership skill set they already have.
Powers and Politics: 21 January 2020
Under this heading the cultures and politics of organisations will be investigated along with individual responses to them and ways of working within them. Participants will be encouraged to think about building coalitions, develop networks and make lasting mutually supportive connections.
*Action Learning Set 1: 11 February 2020
The middle day and the final day of the programme is set aside for full-day action learning sets. Participants of each set will utilise the sessions to discuss their personal work-related challenges and seek support through the action learning process, to identify solutions and next steps.
Core Leadership Skills: 3 March 2020
This day will introduce the key skills needed by all leaders and managers and consider whether there are any ‘gendered’ ways of leading.
Adaptive Leadership Skills: 31 March 2020
Leadership is really tested when the environment is challenging or when there are no easy solutions. A leader’s attitude to risk and challenge, and their ability to take the long-term view, are essential in this context.
*Action Learning Set 2: 28 April 2020

* Participants from different institutions are allocated to an 'action learning set'. The group participants decide collectively which host institution shall host that particular day. 
How will applications be assessed?
Applications will be assessed by a sub-group of the Equality, Diversity and Inter-Culturalism Committee consisting of the VP for Equality and Diversity, Manager of Learning and Development and two members of the Equality, Diversity and Inter-culturalism Committee.
Applications will be assessed on their covering note addressing the two statements above.
Future participation in the Aurora Programme
Maynooth University is committed to supporting staff members who would like to participate in future programmes and will issue a call-out for applications for the 2019-2020 programme in August 2020.