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LFHE Aurora and FAQs

Leadership Foundation in Higher Education (LFHE) Aurora guidance: 

Aurora is an external programme facilitated by the Leadership Foundation in HE:

"Aurora is a response to our own research which shows that women are under-represented in senior leadership positions and identifies actions that could be taken to change this. Many influential stakeholders including vice-chancellors, Hefce and the Equality Challenge Unit agree the situation needs to be addressed.

The feedback from the sector tells us that HEIs would like to encourage more women to plan and prepare better for leadership roles at an early point in their careers. Aurora provides an opportunity for women to develop leadership skills and build influence within their institutions. It does not replace other LF programmes, where we expect to go on drawing equally from men and women as before.

Women's leadership development is being supported strategically throughout universities in the UK and Ireland - see the Aurora institutional case studies to find out how. We highly recommend that you take a look at a selection of participant and role model case studies which prove how a positive impact of early leadership development intervention, through Aurora, can be achieved."

Download: LFHE-Aurora-Brochure (PDF, 629 KB)

Aurora 2017/18 Programme: 

Registration for the development days opens at 10am, with the event starting promptly at 10.30am. The event will close at 4.30pm.

  1. Identity, Impact and Voice
  2. Tuesday 7 November 2017
    Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
  3. Power and Politics
    Friday 8 December 2017 
    Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
  4. Action Learning Set
    Tuesday 16 January 2017: Delegates agree a host institution
  5. Core Leadership Skills
    Tuesday 6 February 2018
    Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR
  6. Adaptive Leadership Skills
    Tuesday 13 March 2018
    Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2LR

If unable to attend the Edinburgh venues, alternative venues may be attended: LFHE Aurora 2017/18 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?

2017/18 cohort:


2016/17 cohort:

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:




Anne-Marie Weijmans

School of Physics and Astronomy


Catherine O'Leary

School of Modern Languages (Spanish)


Clare Peddie

School of Biology

Principal Teaching Fellow

Donna Pierz-Fennell

School of Biology

School Manager

Eleanor Burt

School of Management

Senior Lecturer

Juliana Bowles

School of Computer Science


Julie Struthers

School of Medicine

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

Morven Shearer

School of Medicine

Academic Fellow

Sibylle Scheipers

School of International Relations

Senior Lecturer

Nicola Milton

Office of the Principal

Executive Officer

2014/15 cohort:




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
Fax:+44 (0)1334 462570