SOAS University of London

Staff Development

Aurora Women's Leadership Development Programme


The Aurora Programme has been designed to encourage women in academic and professional roles to think about themselves as leaders, to develop leadership skills and to help institutions maximise the potential of these women. The programme is run by the Leadership Foundation and aimed at women in academic and professional roles up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent (up to Grade 9, but without substantial leadership experience) who would like to develop and explore issues relating to leadership roles and responsibilities.

Participants need to have the endorsement of their institution and be committed to developing and enhancing their career. They should be ambitious for a career in the sector and interested in exploring leadership and management as one option for progression. Further information is available in the Aurora Programme Brochure and from the AdvanceHE website.

Paula Sanderson, Registrar, is the SOAS Aurora Champion. Paula is involved in selecting and supporting the participants and in championing women's leadership in the School.

What Aurora Covers

The Aurora programme addresses core areas associated with leadership success:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector;
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge;
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles;
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity;
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes.

Aurora Programme 2019-20 dates

The Aurora Programme consists of six interlinked days – four workshops and two Action Learning Set days.  Participants are required to attend each of the four development days below plus the Action Learning Set days and meet regularly with a mentor.

Cohort 1 - London Autumn
  1. Identity, Impact and Voice - Wednesday, 23 October 2019
  2. Power and Politics - Wednesday, 20 November 2019
  3. Action Learning Set 1 - Wednesday, 11 December 2019
  4. Core Leadership Skills - Wednesday, 15 January 2020
  5. Adaptive Leadership Skills - Wednesday, 19 February 2020
  6. Action Learning Set 2 - Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Cohort 2 - London Spring
  1. Identity, Impact and Voice - Tuesday, 25 February 2020
  2. Power and Politics - Tuesday, 24 March 2020
  3. Action Learning Set 1 - Tuesday, 21 April 2020
  4. Core Leadership Skills - Tuesday, 12 May 2020
  5. Adaptive Leadership Skills - Tuesday, 23 June 2020
  6. Action Learning Set 2 - Tuesday, 14 July 2020


Applications for 2020-21 will open in June 2020.

To help you write your application you may wish to refer to the following documents relating to SOAS initiatives for supporting female staff:

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report - June 2018 (pdf; 563kb)  

Gender Pay Gap Report 2018 (pdf; 215kb)