We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Organisation Development

Academic Leaders Programme

A collaborative project between Durham University and Newcastle University

This programme, facilitated by the Leadership Foundation for H.E. aims to develop the strategic leadership skills of academic leaders, thus ensuring that they are supported to identify and maintain excellence and, where required, lead cultural change. Specifically, the objectives of the programme are to:

  • Develop and apply strategic thinking skills both within participant’s own area of influence and the university more widely;
  • Create opportunities for participants from the 2 universities to network and benchmark practice;
  • Develop and apply collaborative project management skills spanning the areas of teaching, research and third strand activity;
  • Develop personal leadership plans to assist both individual and group development over the course of this programme;
  • Develop and apply influencing and persuading skills, further to both workshop input and individual diagnostics identifying areas for development.

The programme consists of 4 components:

1 360 degree Feedback / Diagnostics

2 A one-day strategic Leadership in Context Module

which comprises:

  • One-to-one feedback
  • Introduction to Academic Leadership
  • Personal Leadership Planning

3 Five one-day core workshops

– content informed in part by the developmental needs audit. The four workshops are:

  • Organisational change and culture
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Negotiating and influencing
  • Building institutional resilience
  • Managing change and programme evaluation

4 Four half-day Leadership Development Groups

– small groups, which will provide an opportunity for participants to problem-solve local issues, applying their learning in a confidential and supportive environment. The Leadership Development Groups will focus on actual performance improvement by working on real-time leadership issues for each individual. The groups will work as a sub-set of the full group and will be professionally facilitated. The output from these groups will be action plans focussed on the resolution of the individuals’ challenges.

At the end of the programme there is also a programme review session where participants are asked to revisit their personal leadership plans, review the modules and plan their future development.

Coaching Opportunities

Coaching sessions will be offered to those who would like to benefit from further one-to-one support. The coaching sessions will support work against key developmental objectives outlined in the personal development plan constructed as part of the induction module.

At the end of the programme a review process will exploring a strategy for sustainability of further development and further coaching sessions may be arranged according to need.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The programme is monitored throughout, both formally and informally, by the Programme Steering Group (comprising of representatives from the participating Universities and the Leadership Foundation). The programme is refined as an iterative process, accordingly. The final evaluation – which incorporates feedback from all the sessions, informs subsequent developments on future programmes. Additionally, the final session allows participants to review their own personal leadership plans, and to consider “where to next?”

Programme schedule

Nominations for the programme, which runs from January to June each year, are via the relevant Faculty Executive Dean.

For further details regarding the Academic Leaders' Programme please contact Sophie Sowerby.