Aurorans foundation to evaluation
In 2013 Professor Louise Morley produced the Stimulus Paper - Women in Higher Education Leadership: Absences and Aspirations. Morley's research on senior leadership roles in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) highlighted some stark findings: although 44% of academics were women only 19% were in professorial roles, and only 28% were in senior management roles (Morley 2013: 15).
Based on her recommendations a six-month development initiative to address the gender imbalance within senior leadership positions in higher education was proposed. Launched by Ginnie Willis, it became the Advance HE Aurora Leadership Development Programme for Women. The programme aims to support women and their institutions to fulfil their leadership potential through a 5-month development programme delivered in regional cohorts across the UK and Ireland. Since it began in 2013 over 7,000 women and nearly 200 institutions have participated in the programme.
Advance HE commissioned a five-year longitudinal study of Aurora, led by a team of experts from Loughborough University. The Aurora – the Longitudinal Study series of reports provides valuable insights for those involved in leadership development programmes and gender equality in the sector.
The annual evaluation of the university’s engagement in Aurora explores the impact of the programme through participants’ perceptions. The Aurora 2018/19 evaluation report was published in May 2019. A more formal research study of participation in Aurora 2019/20 is currently underway. Initial findings from the Aurora 2019/20 are explored in a forthcoming ebook to be published in May 2021.