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Women's Development


Aurora Women's Leadership Development Programme

Aurora is the Leadership Foundation's women only leadership development initiative. It aims to encourage women in higher education to think of themselves as leaders and to develop leadership skills. It is available for those in roles up to and including Associate Professor or Professional and Managerial Grade 8. More details of the programme can be found at

Aurora is an ideal leadership development programme for those who are starting to think about moving into leadership roles in the future, but who have some managerial experience. It combines education in a conference setting, networking, mentoring and on-line resources and involves attendance at four conference days, a self-facilitated action learning set, mentoring by a senior member of University staff, and regular meetings with other University of Reading participants and the Vice-Chancellor to discuss emerging themes. Aurora addresses core areas associated with future leadership success including:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector;
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge;
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles;
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity; and
  • Building networks, coalitions, and support processes.

The dates of the sessions are shown below. It is possible to attend different venues for the different sessions provided that Power and Politics and Action Learning are undertaken in the same location.


Identity, Impact and Voice

Power and Politics

Action Learning Sets*

Core Leadership Skills

Adaptive Leadership Skills

London 1

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Tuesday 14 February 2017


Tuesday 1 November 2016

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Thursday 12 January 2017

Thursday 9 February 2017

Thursday 16 March 2017


Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Wednesday 3 May 2017


Friday 13 January 2017

Friday 17 February 2017

Friday 17 March 2017

Friday 7 April 2017

Friday 19 May 2017


Thursday 2 February 2017

Thursday 2 March 2017

Thursday 30 March 2017

Thursday 11 May 2017

Thursday 8 June 2017

London 2

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Thursday 24 May 2017

Wednesday 28 June 2017


The University will centrally fund 10 women to attend Aurora in 2016/17, with the request that the School or Service covers the cost of travel to the events for the participants.

Individuals who are interested are encouraged to make an expression of interest, with a supporting statement from their line manager, and Head of School/ Function agreement. This should be sent to Susan Thornton in People Development ( and include the following:

  • A short statement (up to 1 page maximum) explaining: what skills and knowledge you would hope to gain by attending the programme; your leadership aspirations for the future and why you believe this programme will help you to achieve them; and how you anticipate you will apply your learning from the programme;
  • Confirmation that you will be able to commit to attending the five sessions, identifying which location and dates you would like to attend.
  • The supporting statement from your line manager should include a commentary on your commitment to development and the support that you will be provided by your School, Function, or Service.

The deadline for applications is midday on Friday 29 July 2016. Applicants will be informed by Friday 2 September if they have been successful.

A panel is convened to consider which applicants will be given a sponsored place, and the decision of its members is final. As the programme is usually very popular, this does mean that unfortunately some applicants will be disappointed. Please note, it is not open to individuals to apply direct to the Leadership Foundation for a place, delegates must be sponsored by the University centrally.

Springboard Women's Development Programme

The Springboard Women's Development Programme enables women to take more control over their own lives and careers by identifying clear, practical and realistic steps that they want to take and developing the skills and confidence to take them. Springboard has been used successfully by over 230,000 women in over 40 countries.

Springboard is for women of all backgrounds, ages and stages of their life and combines the attendance of four full day workshops, completion of a workbook, networking and co-coaching. Each participant will set their objectives on the first workshop, which can be to do with work or their personal life.

Many women use the programme to get better results at work, such as new qualifications, aiming for a promotion, developing new skills or creating a new attitude to change. According to the Springboard Consultancy, 80% of participants report increased confidence/self-esteem as a result of undertaking this programme.

If  you'd like to apply please email Steph Hayward in People Development ( and include the following:

  • A short statement (up to 1 page maximum) explaining why you want to join the programme and what you hope to get out of it.
  • A short statement from your line manager supporting your application and agreeing to your attendance on all four days and the follow-up day.
  • Confirmation that you will be able to commit to attending the four workshops that will run on the following dates:

Cohort 10 (all 09:30-16:00):

  • 18 January 2018
  • 19 February 2018
  • 19 March 2018
  • 25 April 2018

The deadline for applications is midday on Friday 8 December 2017 for all hoping to take part in the programme.  

Places are limited to 32 per cohort. We will be looking for a wide variety of participants at different stages of their careers from all areas of the University. If we are oversubscribed we will create a waiting list pending future programme dates being set. 


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