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Member Project 23-24: Growing the HE workforce of the future

This project explores how we grow the HE workforce of the future and considers the needs of the higher education system: what institutions, leadership, teams, and individuals need to thrive in the face of the constantly fluctuating landscape that the sector currently finds itself in.

The Advance HE 2023 leadership survey report highlighted some clear synergies and some startling divergences between the perspectives of ‘me as a leader’ and ‘my experience of being led’. This theme seeks to understand the systemic issues exposed by the survey and explores the resources, extent and scope for our institutional leadership and systems to develop the staff, well-being, and cultures required to address the challenges and withstand the pressures of 21st-century higher education.

These 'wicked’ problems can only be addressed through collaboration and an openness to explore. The three outputs for this theme seek to offer some new perspectives and evidence-based approaches that will enable novel thinking to support our institutions, leaders and communities to address these issues.

This project is relevant to: All members

Job functions: Academics, Lecturers, Tutors, Coaches, Programme Leaders, Learning Designers and Technologists, Middle Management and Senior Leaders.

Explore the individual projects

Projects:

Decoding Pastoral Support

This work package delves into the systemic considerations of 'support' within HE environments. It considers how ‘support’ is accounted for, what it looks like and the impacts and value that it brings.

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Leadership careers in HE Professional Services

This member benefit seeks to to prompt active thinking about this important part of the HE sector and explore what (if anything) is needed by institutions and individuals to enable progression and accelerate leadership careers. The output and that of the Academic Leadership project in 2022-23 will inform future work about what the sector wants and needs in this area.

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Doing Leadership Differently in HE

How are we doing leadership in our institutes? Specifically, how is our leadership reinforcing or reshaping the ‘Western managerial models’ that dominate higher education, given their decreasing relevance to the complex systems and environments in which we operate? 

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Thought Leadership Piece

Explore the current data on support and supporting. How do we quantify, value and measure this quality and it's impact on our institutions?
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Focus Groups

A series of focus groups were organised to gain an understanding of lived experiences of support and support in the sector.

Report

This report outlines the current situation, focused on the lived experience of providing support. In this context, we identify 3 recommendations (emphasising the value of care) to invite progress in accounting for the impact of providing support and care in HE organisations.
Read the report

Lead

Sarah Hubbard

Senior Consultant in Leadership, Organisational Development and Research
,
Advance HE
Sarah Hubbard
Sarah Hubbard is a Senior Consultant in the Leadership, Organisational Development and Research team. In collaboration, Sarah’s work is focused on designing for and enabling participation and alignment, well-being and inclusion, leading to improved colleague engagement and performance, enhanced decision making and transformation.
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Blog and Provocation

This conversation starter seeks to evidence the need for further development of career pathways in professional services.
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Focus Groups

A series of focus groups to explore the provocation and provide feedback and insights.

Focus Group 1: The evolving size and shape of professional services in HE

This focus group took place on 17 May 2024.

To discuss and consider this issue in relation to the provocation. We will challenge the focus group to consider the question ‘Is the current shape and size delivering optimal results for staff and students?’ 

Focus Group 2: What makes Professional Services Leadership distinctive?

This focus group took place on 20 May 2024

Time: 13:00-14:30 BST

To discuss and consider this issue in relation to the provocation.  We will challenge the focus group to consider the question ‘Do we need to change our mindset about the boundaries of these roles in order to better support institutional sustainability?  

Focus Group 3: How can we enhance leadership careers beyond boundaries?

This focus group took place on 21 May 2024

Time: 13:30-15:00 BST

To discuss and consider this issue in relation to the provocation.  We will challenge the focus group to consider, ‘What are the most important questions that the sector/institutions should ask themselves about next steps for professional services leadership across the institution?’

Response from the Sector

Showcasing the response from the sector and from sector professional bodies and outlining further questions will be produced in June.

Lead

Fiona Lennoxsmith

Lead Consultant, Leadership, Organisational Development and Research
,
Advance HE
Fiona Lennoxsmith
Fiona Lennoxsmith is Lead Consultant, Leadership, Organisational Development and Research at Advance HE, where she leads a team of senior consultants to design and facilitate innovative leadership interventions, programmes and thought leadership for the Higher Education sector.

Kim Ansell

Senior Consultant Governance and Leadership
,
Advance HE
Kim Ansell
Kim has worked across higher and professional education providing support to groups at all levels including senior leadership teams and Boards, to facilitate change, strategic thinking, planning and performance improvement.

Dr Geraldine Harrison

Consultant
Dr Geraldine Harrison
 A longstanding Associate of Advance HE. She holds a PhD from Edinburgh University and an MBA from the Open University.  Geraldine is also an OD professional with experience in the higher education sector and the private sector.
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A Series of ‘In-Conversation’ dialogues

This series of dialogues with individuals inside and external to the HE sector aims to explore and unpack what it might mean to do leadership differently through different knowledge lenses and lived experiences.

Doing Leadership Differently series of short reflective thought-pieces

Supporting and drawing on the literature and dialogues, we will be writing a series of short reflections about some of the main provocations and ideas to emerge about how we might do leadership differently within HE, why this is necessary in the current context and what this might mean for changing the approach to leadership development.

Collaborative Conversations

A collaborative conversation at the Sustainability in Higher Education conference in June 2024 to present some of the ideas emerging and as a way provoking further dialogue in UK HE institutions and growing the conversation about doing leadership differently.

Lead

Joanne Coysh

Senior Consultant in the Leadership, Organisational Development and Research
,
Advance HE
Joanne Coysh
Joanne Coysh is a Senior Consultant in the Leadership, Organisational Development and Research team. She has spent the last 25 years working as a consultant, designing and researching collaborative spaces for problem-solving, learning and change with global charities and international organisations working with human rights, international development and humanitarian emergencies. Joanne works globally and with international groups having lived and worked overseas throughout her career.

Jo Chaffer

Key Global Associate
,
Advance HE
Jo Chaffer
With in-depth Higher Education expertise, Jo works with HEIs, HE agencies and Ministries internationally supporting and enabling leadership development, strategic approaches to leadership and governance with a particular interest in feminized leadership.
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Knowledge Hub

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An Advance HE member benefit

Member Projects are part of Advance HE's member benefits for the 2023-24 membership year. Click below to see the full range of benefits available.

See this year's projects