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Durham University

Organisation Development



Aurora is Advance HE`s leadership development initiative for those who identify as women. It runs as a unique partnership bringing together leadership experts and higher education institutions to take positive action to address the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the sector. Aurora is an initiative to support change, not simply a programme.Over the past six years 7,204 women from over 175 institutions across the UK and Ireland have participated in Aurora.


Aurora seeks to support women and their institutions to fulfil their leadership potential through thought provoking activities, collaborative problem solving activities 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.

The Programme

Aurora runs in a number of locations across the UK and Ireland and consists of six interlinked days. Details of the programme content can be found here:

The Experience

  • Learn - Tools, techniques and strategies from a team of leadership experts​, guest speakers & online resources
  • Develop - Leadership skills through experiential processes, reflection and conversations
  • Network - Meet delegates through five live online development days with interactive breakout sessions and two action learning set meetings
  • Connect - With a UK wide network & niche groups through a members only group
  • Grow - Supported by a mentor who is provided by their institution​.

Who is the course suitable for?

Aurora is for those who identify as women, up to Associate Professor level or the professional services equivalent who would like to develop and explore issues relating to leadership roles and responsibilities. Participants should be committed to developing and enhancing their career and will be asked to:

  • attend each of the four development days, and the two action learning set days organised by participants in their assigned groups;
  • undertake self-directed learning throughout Aurora, aligned with developing interests;

  • commit to working with a mentor who is provided by their institution;

  • be prepared to access leadership opportunities and champion for change.

Application Process

Speak to your Head of Department/ College/Service. Nominations from Faculty PVC, Heads of Colleges and Heads of Professional Services will be sought in September 2020. Please contact Michelle Taylor with any questions.


£725 per delegate (for Advance HE members) this cost reflects online delivery for 2020/21 programmes. All costs (including delegate fee plus any subsequent travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses) are to be paid by Faculty/Department/ College/ Service therefore in order to secure a place you will need to ensure that there are sufficient funds available.