Aurora Leadership Development Programme

Aurora is a leadership development programme for women, designed to help address the issue of the under-representation of women in senior posts in the higher education sector. A highly-innovative programme, it was developed by Advance HE.

The objective of the programme is to embed a leadership mindset whereby women identify as leaders and seek appropriate opportunities to develop capabilities, skills and networks to support them in their developing careers. 

"I would like to say how grateful I am for being sponsored to attend this programme. I appreciate it enormously on so many levels and have every intention of using every word I heard to pursue my career objectives." is how a recent participant described the programme. 

DCU's Aurora Champion is Prof Anne Sinnott, Deputy President and the DCU Aurora Co-ordinator is Fiona Carvill, HR Learning & Development.


Target Audience: Women up to Associate Professor level and equivalent administrative staff.  Applicants must be endorsed by their Head of School/Unit

Aurora consists of four development days and two action learning sets.  Learning sets allow smaller groups of participants from across the sector to discuss their personal work-related challenges and seek support through the action learning process, to identify solutions and next steps. 

Participants are matched with a mentor for the duration of the programme through the DCU Staff Mentoring Scheme.


Aurora Programme 2020/2021

Given government guidance, personal safety, ability and/or willingness to travel, Advance HE have decided that all elements of the 2020/2021 Aurora Programme will be delivered on-line.

The following are the dates for each session.  Applicants must be available to attend ALL sessions. 

Intro Webinar  24th November 2020 (10:00 - 12:00)
Identity, Impact and Voice - Development Day 1 1st December 2020 (10:00 - 15:00)
Politics and Influence - Development Day 2 19th January 2021 (10:00 - 15:00)
Action Learning Set 1  9th February 2021
Core Leadership Skills - Development Day 3 9th March 2021 (10:00 - 15:00)
Adaptive Leadership Skills - Development Day 4 20th April 2021 (10:00 - 15:00)
Action Learning Set 2 11th May 2021




Application Process

If you would like to apply for Aurora 2020/2021 you should:

1. Discuss your interest in Aurora with your Head of School/Unit who will be required to endorse your application and fund the €800 participation fee

2. Complete an Aurora Application Form and, once it has been (digitally) signed by your Head of School/Unit, return it by email to by Friday 9th October 2020

3. A decision in relation to the outcome of your application will be communicated to you by Friday 6th November 2020.

Please note that places on the programme are limited.

For more information please contact: Fiona Carvill, Learning and Development, HR: or