Participants on the 2022-23 cohort of Aurora, Advance HE’s leadership development initiative for women in higher education, have the opportunity to spend a day networking in real life at events held across the UK and Ireland.
Delivery of the Aurora programme remains online in 2022-23 but participants are invited to attend Your Future in HE, a face-to-face event which includes a panel of experts discussing ‘The Future of HE’ followed by a Q&A and plenty of time for networking.
Aurora and its participants had to adapt very quickly by reverting to an online learning environment when Covid hit in 2020. Advance HE responded with extra virtual events to support the 2020-22 cohorts, designed to add value during the pandemic. Networking sessions such as TED Talks helped to create connections with other participants which would have happened in person as part of the programme. These virtual events will continue in 2022-23 but each regional cohort will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face for one day.
Suzanne O’Brien, who delivers Core Leadership Skills on Aurora and is facilitator of Your Future in HE, said,
“There’s a distinctive energy in the room when Aurorans get together which can be really empowering. Your Future in HE gives delegates the opportunity to explore the key leadership themes from the online development days but in person, sharing experiences and aspirations, examining the challenges women face as leaders and identifying the practical steps that can be taken to achieve your goals.
“I hope our delegates leave the day feeling inspired and equipped to progress their future and their leadership in HE.”
First time together in over two years
More than 450 Aurorans descended on Birmingham, London, Edinburgh and Dublin in 2022 for the first in-person events, bringing participants together for the first time in over two years.
A mix of Aurora cohorts from 2020-22 - those who missed out on live sessions due to the pivot to online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic - were joined on Your Future in HE by a variety of speakers in each location to discuss the future of higher education, including former director of access and participation at the Office for Students, Chris Millward and chair of Colleges Scotland, Dr Waiyin Hatton.
Participants were also treated to sessions in the style of Aurora’s virtual interactive elements but in real life, discussing in groups how to proactively manage their career and build supportive relationships.
Karen Humes, Department Manager in the Department of Music, Durham University said,
“Attending Aurora this year has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own leadership experiences and to develop my confidence in being a leader.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet other Aurorans at the face-to-face event in Edinburgh; the day brought together elements of various parts of the programme delivered online with the opportunity to discuss these further in small groups.”