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LFHE Aurora and FAQs

Leadership Foundation in Higher Education (LFHE) Aurora guidance

In November 2017 the University, with funding and support endorsed by the Principal, made a commitment within its Athena SWAN Institutional Action Plan, action 4.2(a) for: Annual participation in the LFHE programmes.

Aurora is an external women-only leadership development programme. It is a unique partnership initiative 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. 

Download: Aurora-booklet-2018 (PDF, 276 KB)

Latest Aurora venues: LFHE Aurora 2018/19 dates webpage

Expectations of participants:

  • Liaise with a Mentor within the University to communicate progress or issues during the programme.   
  • Committed to the full Aurora process, attending all four development days plus the action learning set day and be prepared to undertake some self-directed study.
  • Undertake all pre-work set for the course in advance of attending each development day.
  • Ready to embrace the mentoring relationship, and actively work with their mentors to address their personal development and build their self-reliance.
  • Committed to a career in HE and prepared to devote some time to thinking about and planning their career.
  • Willing to host an action learning set day at their institution, with the support of their institution.
  • Prepared to embrace the extensive networking opportunities and participate fully in Aurora.
  • Willing to undertake projects or assignments for their institution in order to build on their developing leadership skills.
  • Prepared to participate in a longitudinal study to gauge the effectiveness of Aurora.
  • Willing to act as mentors or role models to future participants.


How do I apply?

Who is the programme for? 

Aurora is for women up to senior lecturer level or the professional services equivalent, and must not be a professor or in a senior management/director role, therefore the programme would be better suited for women at grades 6 to 8.  

How will staff be selected?

Staff selection is conducted by the Director of HR. 

Who are the University of St Andrews Aurora Champions?

Professor Sally Mapstone (Principal and Vice-Chancellor), Mairi Stewart (Director of HR), Sukhi Bains (Head of E&D)

How much does it cost?

The costs are £1,250 per participant plus travel expenses, which are fully funded by the University's HR Diversity budget.

Can I attend other development days in other parts of the UK?

Yes participants are open to attend Aurora LFHE development days in other parts of the UK if not able to attend the first choice ones held in Scotland.

How does Aurora relate to University diversity awards, such as Athena SWAN?

Career development and mentoring for women is a major part of Athena SWAN.  An action to support staff advancement under the programme is one of the ways in which the University and/or schools can support the career development of women in the workplace to progress into senior roles. 

What are the Aurora learning sets and time commitment?

Aurora consists of five interlinked days.  Each participant is required to book to attend one of each of the 5 development days: Identity; Impact and Voice; Power and Politics; Core Leadership Skills; and Adaptive Leadership Skills. 

Is a women-only programme legal?

Under UK legislation and the Scottish Specific Duties (2012) resulting from the Equality Act (2010) it is lawful to take positive action to address under representation and minimise workplace disadvantage. 

Who can I contact from previous University cohorts?

2018/19 cohort (23 supported):

Name School/Unit Role
Tracey Gloster Biology Lecturer
Judith Sleeman Biology Senior Lecturer
Rosalind Campbell Office of the Principal - Proctor's Office Academic Policy Officer (Quality)
Jennifer Lambert Finance Senior Management Accounant
Gillian Sinclair Finance Senior Financial Accountant
Louise Reid Geography & Sustainable Development Lecturer
Gillian Mitchell History Lecturer
Pauline Brown IT Services Service Operations Manager
Veronica O'Carroll Medicine Lecturer
Emma Herdman Modern Languages Lecturer
Dora Osbourne Modern Languages Lecturer
Victoria Turner Modern Languages Lecturer
Margarita Vaysman Modern Languages Lecturer
Sarah Bennison Philosophical, Antropological and Film Studies Research Fellow
Claudia Cisneros-Foster Philosophical, Antropological and Film Studies School Manager
Alison Kerr Philosophical, Antropological and Film Studies Research Fellow
Stavroula Pipyrou Philosophical, Antropological and Film Studies Lecturer
Lucy Hadfield Physics and Astronomy Lecturer
Marianne MacKinnon RBS Deputy Director - Commercial
Sarah Pay RBS Operations Manager (Residential Services)
Angela Johnston Registry Registry Officer (Scholarships)
Liliana Martins e Caneco Registry Registry Officer
Lara Meischke Student Services Deputy Director

2017/18 cohort (24 supported):

Name School/Unit Role
Stephanie O'Rourke Art History Lecturer
Amanda Baizan Edge Biology BBSRC Research Fellow (Bioinformatics)
Emma Defew Biology Research Fellow
Ildiko Somorjai  Biology Lecturer
V Anne Smith (Victoria Smith or Stokes) Biology Senior Lecturer
Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis Classics Lecturer
Gosia Mitka  Economics and Finance Lecturer (Education Focused)
Sharon Leahy Geography and Sustainable Development Lecturer (Education Focused)
Katherine Roucoux Geography and Sustainable Development Lecturer
Sarah Easterby-Smith  History Lecturer
Kate Ferris History Reader
Fiona McCallum International Relations Lecturer
Anita Laidlaw  Medicine Senior Lecturer (Education Focused)
Gozde Ozakinci  Medicine Senior Lecturer
Ruth Cruickshank  Medicine Lecturer (Education Focused)
Katie Jones  Modern Languages Lecturer
Emma Bond Modern Languages Senior Lecturer
Victoria Donovan Modern Languages Lecturer in Russian
Katie Allan Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies Administrator
Maggie Ellis Psychology & Neuroscience Lecturer
Laurence Lasselle Management Senior Lecturer
Julie Brooks  Management Director of Postgraduate Studies
Shona Russell  Management Senior Lecturer
Claudia Cyganowski Physics and Astronomy Lecturer

2016/17 cohort (10 supported):

Name School/Unit Role
Bettina Bildhauer German Professor
Caron Gentry IR Lecturer
Claudia Rossignoli Italian  Lecturer
Emily Finer Russian HoD
Emily Michelson History Senior Lecturer
Erin Robbins Psychology & Neuroscience Lecturer
Ishbel Duncan Comp Science Lecturer
Karen Brown  Art History Lecturer
Leshu Torchin  Film Studies Senior Lecturer
Madhavi Nevader Divinity Lecturer

 2015/16 cohort (10 supported):




Anne-Marie Weijmans

Physics and Astronomy


Catherine O'Leary

Modern Languages (Spanish)


Clare Peddie


Principal Teaching Fellow

Donna Pierz-Fennell


School Manager

Eleanor Burt


Senior Lecturer

Juliana Bowles

Computer Science


Julie Struthers


Learning Technology Consultant (Deputy Head of School (Teaching))

Morven Shearer


Academic Fellow

Sibylle Scheipers

International Relations

Senior Lecturer

Nicola Milton

Office of the Principal

Executive Officer

2014/15 cohort (5 supported):




Aileen Fyfe



Claire Whitehead


Senior Lecturer

Lorna Stevenson


Reader/Co HoS

Jo Inchley


Research Fellow

Juan Ye

Comp Sci


Auroa Films

Aurora seeks to share experience and insight to support women considering, aspiring to, and in leadership roles. In 2017 we welcomed Harriet Minter, former Women in Leadership editor at the Guardian and founder of Proceed until Apprehended, and Steph McGovern, journalist and BBC presenter, to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women in leadership in higher education and beyond. Refer to Aurora Films webpage  


Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 463096