Loughborough to track and evaluate the careers of female academics and professionals

A team of Loughborough University researchers have been chosen to track and evaluate the careers of academics and professionals taking part in Aurora – the Leadership Foundation’s women only development programme.

Aurora was launched by the Leadership Foundation to tackle the under-representation of women in senior higher education positions.  It is a leadership development initiative aimed at early and mid-career academics and professionals, which combines education, mentoring and on-line resources to provide women with the confidence and skills to influence their institutions.

The longitudinal study will be carried out by Dr Fehmidah Munir from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Dr Sarah Barnard from the School of Civil and Building Engineering and Professor John Arnold and Dr Sara Bosley from the School of Business and Economics.  It will contribute to the sector’s knowledge and understanding of how women’s leadership roles and careers unfold, and the part that Aurora plays in shaping this.

The five-year study is called ‘Onwards and upwards? A longitudinal study of the career trajectories, aspirations and work experiences of Aurora programme participants’.  It is envisaged the findings will inform workforce planning and institutional equality and diversity strategies that aim to better develop the pipeline to successful leadership roles for women.

Fiona Ross, Director of Research at the Leadership Foundation said: “This is a flagship study for the Leadership Foundation and significant for higher education.  It will enable us to build evidence of women’s careers over time and contribute to our understanding of the facilitators and constraints to successful progression to leadership roles.” 

Dr Fehmidah Munir added: “The team at Loughborough is delighted and honoured to have been awarded this important study by the Leadership Foundation. In a context of continuing under-representation of women at senior levels in UK higher education, it is vital to understand better how this happens, how to overcome it and how women can influence both the organisations they work in and their own career trajectories.”

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