Aurora Leadership Development Programme
Attendees & Mentors
The Aurora leadership development programme is an exciting initiative aimed at encouraging women from lecturer, associate professor, research, technical and professional services equivalent roles across all academic disciplines and throughout HE administration to engage in leadership training. Originally developed by the UK’s Advance HE, the training programme consists of workshops, mentoring and post-programme ongoing support and actively contributes to the development of leadership skills and UCD’s strategic objective of gender equality. Eligible staff in the College of Engineering and Architecture are actively encouraged to apply and more on the programme can be found here.
A listing of attendees and mentors from across the University can be found on UCD’s Leadership and People Development site under “AURORA Leadership Development Programme”.
Find out what participants from our College found most beneficial about involvement in the Aurora Leadership Development Programme.
Dr Fionnuala Murphy - Assistant Lecturer, School of Biosystems and Food Engineering
Aurora Leadership Development Programme Participant - 2018.2019
“The best part of the programme was… … where we were formed into groups and applied the learning from the workshops by discussing a challenge that we were each facing and coming up with a solution.”
I completed the Aurora Leadership Programme in 2018-2019. At the time I was expanding my research team and I applied for Aurora as I wanted to enhance my capacity to grow and develop as an effective leader within the University and to express my leadership identity. I enjoyed the programme and learned a lot from the workshops on topics like core and adaptive leadership skills. The best part of the programme was the action set where we were formed into groups and applied the learning from the workshops by discussing a challenge that we were each facing and coming up with a solution. This was a practical approach to developing leadership skills and I benefited from meeting colleagues in different departments and Universities. Another great part of the Programme is the Mentorship element. It was a fantastic opportunity to get guidance and mentorship from a senior academic. Overall, I would recommend the Aurora Programme.
Sue Philpott - Director of the College of Engineering and Architecture College Office
Aurora Leadership Development Programme Participant 2019.2020
“Aurora gave me the opportunity to reflect on my role, and how I could develop, lead and influence, and equipped me with insights and practical tools that I continue to reflect upon.”
I was delighted to be nominated by the College of Engineering to take part in the Aurora Leadership Development programme in 2020. Both personally and in my recently appointed role of Director of the College of Engineering and Architecture Programme Office, I found participating on this programme a rewarding learning experience, and a wonderful opportunity to meet female leaders in higher education from across Ireland and Northern Ireland. I was apprehensive about the programme starting out, and anxious about taking time out of my busy job to participate. However, Aurora gave me the opportunity to reflect on my role, and how I could develop, lead and influence, and equipped me with insights and practical tools that I continue to reflect upon. The development days were interesting and inspiring. Each day covered different topics and we heard from other Aurora Champions, invited speakers, and collaborated with fellow participants on exercises which were relevant, insightful and fun! The programme required participating in an Action Learning Set, a small group of participants tasked to meet and discuss our individual challenges in a respectful, open manner. This was a wonderful experience, and I can certainly say for my part, the support of my fellow Action Learning Set members was truly beneficial. Having the benefit of a UCD Mentor during my time on the Aurora Programme was immensely helpful too. All in all, I feel my Aurora experience was most rewarding, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
Erin O’Malley - Senior Programme Manager, UCD Engineering & Architecture College Office
Aurora Leadership Development Programme Participant 2016.2017
“ I found the process to be energizing and it has allowed me to become more strategic in my own use of time and resources”
I took part in the Aurora Leadership Development Programme during the 2016/2017 academic year and was pleased to be selected as one of two participants from the College of Engineering & Architecture. I applied for the programme after a colleague, who had previously participated, shared their experience with me and encouraged me to consider applying. UCD HR provided excellent training throughout the programme, we were facilitated in engaging with other UCD participants and given practical advice on what to expect from the Programme and how we could make the most of the resources available to us. The training we received in relation to the formal mentoring element of the programme was particularly helpful as it offered a clear structure for one of the most beneficial aspects for participants – for me, the relationship with my mentor offered an invaluable opportunity to focus on my own professional development separate from my UCD role. Each of the Development Days included impressive guest speakers who shared their experience and wisdom as women in senior leadership roles. These days followed topical themes and we had the opportunity to meet and discuss experiences in a structured way with participants from 3rd Level institutions across Ireland. We also participated in an Action Learning Day with an allocated group of participants where we worked through a series of professional challenges that individuals within the group were facing. I would encourage eligible staff in the College of Engineering and Architecture to consider applying if they feel they may benefit from the programme. It’s often easy to convince ourselves that we don’t have time to commit to a professional development programme such as Aurora but I found the process to be energizing and it has allowed me to become more strategic in my own use of time and resources.
Professor Aoife Gowen - College Vice Principal for Research, Innovation and Impact, UCD College of Engineering and Architecture
Aurora Leadership Development Programme Participant 2017.2018
“It provides dedicated time to focus on your development as a leader and valuable networking opportunities.”
Participating in the AURORA leadership programme allowed me to develop skills that helped me to grow in confidence, develop leadership identity and progress my career. I enjoyed listening to the stories of inspirational leaders, learning about different styles of and paths to leadership and sharing challenges with peers during the action learning set. I would recommend others to participate in this type of programme as it provides dedicated time to focus on your development as a leader and valuable networking opportunities.
Katie O’ Neill - Senior Marketing Manager, UCD College of Engineering and Architecture
Aurora Leadership Development Programme Participant 2020.21
“Participating on the Aurora Leadership Development Programme ….gave me the space I needed to reflect, analyse and understand the different forms that good leadership can take, how I could show this in my role and support my team and colleagues around me”
Participating on the Aurora Leadership Development Programme fundamentally changed my view on leadership. It gave me the space I needed to reflect, analyse and understand the different forms that good leadership can take, how I could show this in my role and support my team and colleagues around me. The time spent on Aurora helped me develop professionally and importantly gave my confidence in my role as a leader within the organisation. I found the Aurora structure which includes engaging with a mentor, being part of an action learning set and the formal learning days kept the momentum and energy going throughout its entirety.