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Aurora info and FAQs


The University supported 5 female staff on the 'Aurora 2014/15 Leadership Programme'.

Aurora 2014/15 Leadership Programme: 

Starting on 3 Dec 2014, staff will be required to attend the following 5 full day workshops in Edinburgh (alternative workshops are available in other parts of the UK): 

  1. Identity, Impact and Voice - Wed 3 December 2014, The Hub, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Lothian EH1 2NE.
  2. Power and Politics - Wed 21 January 2015, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR.
  3. Action Learning Set - Wed 18 February 2015, Delegates to agree a host institution.
  4. Core Leadership Skills - Wed 18 March 2015, Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LR.
  5. Adaptive Leadership Skills -Wed 22 April 2015, Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LR.

Expectations of participants:

  • Attend the workshops scheduled.
  • 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.

Aurora Leadership Foundation in Higher Education online guidance: 


Background to Aurora:

Aurora is an external programme facilitated by the Leadership Foundation in HE.  It is a response to the LF Stimulus Paper ‘Women and Higher Education: Absences and Aspiration’ by Prof. Louise Morley (Jan 2013), which identified that there are fewer women in the most senior positions in HE than 10 years ago.  

Aim of the programme:

To encourage a wide range of women in academic and professional roles to think of themselves as leaders, to develop leadership skills, and to help institutions maximise the potential of these women.  This innovative development process is for women up to Reader level or professional services equivalent up to Grade 8.

Aurora is a leadership development initiative that combines education, mentoring and on-line resources to provide learning with a more enduring impact. Aurora provides an additional opportunity for women to influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills and does not replace other LF programmes, where we expect to go on drawing equally from men and women as before.


Who is the programme for? 

Each annual programme is open to academic and professional/support female staff Grade 6 to 8 - must not be a professor or in a senior management/director role. 

How will staff be selected?

Staff selection is conducted by the Director of HR. 

Who is the University of St Andrews Aurora Champion?

Mairi Stewart, Director of HR

Where can I find external information?


How much does it cost?

Costs are £1,250 per participant with full costs being funded by the University.

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?

Female career development and mentoring 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 can support the career development for its female staff to progress into senior roles. 

What are the Aurora learning sets and time commitment?

Aurora consists of five interlinked days running from 10am to 4:30pm.  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. 




Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096