University invests in future of its female leaders

23 January 2014

Professor Kate Bullen
Professor Kate Bullen

Aberystwyth University is supporting five female staff members to attend the Aurora Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE), a new women-only leadership development initiative that was launched last year. 

This initiative is a response to the LFHE’s own research which shows there are fewer women in the most senior positions in higher education than ten years ago. 

While most leadership programmes are aimed at leaders and managers already in role, Aurora is designed to enable a wide range of women in academic and professional roles in higher education to engage with leadership development at an earlier stage in their careers. 

One of the Aurora attendees, Dr Ifat Parveen Shah a research scientist from IBERS, explains, “I am looking forward to building on my basic leadership skills and gaining a greater understanding of leadership styles, as well as developing my empathetic and motivational skills so that I can achieve my full potential in my career.” 

Jean Jones from the Department of Information Studies will also be attending the course and adds, “Participating in this new leadership programme will give me the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills.  It will also be a great opportunity to network with colleagues in the higher education sector in the UK, sharing best practice and bringing these experiences back to Aberystwyth University for wider benefit.” 

Aberystwyth is deeply committed to supporting equality of opportunity for all and women in leadership are an aspect of equal opportunity development that the University is determined to enhance. 

In April 2014, the University will be applying for an Institutional Athena SWAN Bronze award with the University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS). These awards recognise and celebrate good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education. 

Aurora aims to enable a wider range of women in academic and professional roles to think of themselves as future leaders, to develop the skills they will need, and to help their institutions to maximise the use of the skills they acquire. More information can be found here: 

The five women attending from Aberystwyth include Dr Sarah Riley, from the Department of Psychology, Dr Anoush Simon from the Department of Information Studies, Dr Sarah Davies from the Geography and Earth Sciences Department, Dr Ifat Parveen Shah and Ms Jean Jones.  

Each of them will be supported by a mentor from the University over the coming year who will provide support and guidance on their development. 

Professor Kate Bullen, Director of Institute of Human Sciences and Athena SWAN lead, commented, “There has been a high level of support from institute directors who have provided funding for fees, accommodation and travelling expenses.  It has been very encouraging to see the level of engagement and enthusiasm from colleagues across the University in support of women’s leadership training.  

“Aurora will make a substantial contribution to the evidence base demonstrating Aberystwyth’s commitment to women’s development in academic and service departments.  Aurora will feature as a key indicator of positive action in both the Athena SWAN and Gender Equality Chartermark submissions in April 2014.” 

Alongside the Athena Swan application, Aberystwyth University is also applying for the Equality Challenge Unit Gender Equality Chartermark (GEM) which is for academic staff, professional and support staff, human resources departments, equality and diversity practitioners.


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Professor Kate Bullen
Institute of Human Sciences
01970 622688 /