What is Aurora?
Aurora is a leadership development programme for women (including non-binary and transgender colleagues) in grade 6-8 roles.
Designed and facilitated by Advance HE, Aurora was created to help address the under-representation of women in senior roles in higher education. The University of Leeds has been an active member from the beginning, supporting over 200 participants in their leadership career trajectory.
Participating in Aurora provides delegates with the opportunity to explore the nature of leadership and what it means to them, learn about the importance of visibility and ‘voice’, and consider the leadership skill set they already have. It introduces organisational culture and politics, ways of working within them and the importance of developing networks and establishing lasting mutually supportive connections. It looks at whether there are ‘gendered’ ways of leading, identifies personal underlying values and principles, and explores adaptive leadership skills.
The programme is delivered through day events, guest speakers, knowledge sharing, mentoring, action learning, and self-directed study – to ensure your learning has a more enduring impact. The core elements of the programme require you to commit to 7.5 days and 5-6 mentoring hours.
Applying for our next programme: January – July 2024
Applications are open from Monday 19 June until Friday 14 July 2023.
To apply, colleagues nominate themselves for a place via our application form which will be made available on this page. Aurora is always a very popular programme with limited places available so applications may close early if places are filled - we will let colleagues know via this webpage if this happens.
Before applying, you can read our Aurora guidance document to find out more about the programme and completing your application. Important Note: The MS Teams form does not allow you to save progress. The guidance document outlines all the information you will need to complete your application so that you can draft your answers in advance.
When applying you will need to provide a valid account code. The programme fees for 2023-24 have yet to be announced. In 2022-23 the costs were £925 plus travel expenses and there may be a small increase. A limited number of places are part-funded by OD&PL. More details about the funding of the programme are available in our Aurora guidance document.
After applications are reviewed by a University-wide panel, confirmation of places will be communicated by the end of September 2023.
We welcome applications from all areas of the university, including academic, professional services and technicians. We particularly welcome applications from groups that are under-represented in leadership positions at the University including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community; people who identify as LGBT+; and disabled people.
Briefing sessions for line managers
For line managers, we hosted a virtual information session on Thursday 4 May 2023 to find out how Aurora could benefit their team members. You can now watch the recording of the line manager information session (Opens in Stream on Sharepoint).
Briefing sessions for applicants
For applicants, we hosted a virtual information session on Wednesday 24 May 2023 to find out how Aurora can benefit them. You can now watch the recording of the applicant information session (Opens in Stream on Sharepoint).
Changes to the programme for 2023/24
For our 2023/24 programme, we’ve made some changes to the recruitment and selection process as we continue to evolve the programme.
The programme is now open to colleagues working in grade 6-8 roles, previously it was aimed at grade 7-9 roles. This change aligns with the purpose of Aurora to be a “leadership ignition journey, inspiring women to aspire and achieve leadership positions within higher education.” It also aligns with the University’s Enabling Strategy to “build leadership and management capability” and “provide learning opportunities which support individuals to fulfil their role, realise future potential and support career progression”.
As part of this change, we will be introducing alternative leadership development for colleagues working in grade 9 roles which is more targeted to their needs. If you would be interested to hear more about this programme please email email@example.com.
To help simplify the process, this year colleagues will self-nominate and complete the application form themselves, whereas in previous years senior leaders have also been offered the opportunity to nominate colleagues.
If you are interested in Aurora and would like to find out who our Aurora Alumni are, you can find many of them on our Aurora Alumni webpage.