Professional Service Directors’ Programme: leading with impact

The Professional Service Directors' Programme (formerly 'Impact and Influence') is aimed at Directors and Heads of Professional Services in HE, for example, Directors of Finance, Estates, HR, Student Services, IT, Research etc who have between 1 and 3 years' experience in the role.

The next iteration will take place in 2021 and information and an application form will be issued in Autumn 2020.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Catherine Webb.

The programme is supported by AUA, AUDE, BUFDG, SCONUL, UCISA and UHR who have collaborated with the AHUA on devising the programme's content and structure.

Who Should Attend

The Professional Service Directors’ Programme (PSDP) is aimed at Directors and Heads of Professional Services in HE, for example Directors of Finance, Estates, HR, Student Services, IT, Research etc who have between 1 and 3 years’ experience in the role.

The challenge for those working at Director level is to demonstrate high levels of subject expertise as well as to be able to contribute to the strategic corporate agenda. This demands the ability to demonstrate strategic intelligence, effective and confident interpersonal skills and considerable self-awareness.

PSDP offers the opportunity to develop enhanced leadership skills, explore creative solutions to organisational challenges and establish a network of peers from a variety of functions.

The result is more effective leaders within organisations who have a broader and more nuanced view of how leadership within the HE sector can effectively support organisational strategy.

Programme Focus

Achieving greater personal impact and influence through:

  • Better appreciation of the operating environment (cultural, political, tribal);
  • Understanding what makes a high performing team;
  • Harnessing diversity to deliver results;
  • Increased self awareness and confidence: identifying strengths, weaknesses and blind spots and managing these effectively;
  • Leading and supporting cross-organisational change.

Programme Includes

  • One-to-one feedback on preferences and motivation at work from a professional coach;
  • Residential development programme with input from a variety of speakers plus the opportunity to practise a number of new team working, influencing and decision-making skills;
  • A participant co-created mid-programme workshop to focus on an issue highlighted by participants;
  • Four full day facilitated Action Learning sessions;
  • An end of programme one-to-one coaching session to review progress and plan next steps.

Programme Structure

  • The programme consists of 9.5 days spread over 11 months. It opens with a one-to-one meeting with a Programme Director who is also a qualified coach, providing the opportunity for you to reflect on the Programme and your specific needs. This is followed by a residential programme, a mid-programme, co-created workshop and four Action Learning Set sessions. A final one-to-one session allows you to reflect on progress made during the programme.
  • Pre-programme work will require you to complete individual and 360 feedback profiles, to identify your preferred approach to work and team management skills.
  • The residential programme is a 2.5 day event focusing on organisational culture, team working and influencing skills, with particular reference to the sometimes challenging relationship between professionals and academics.
  • The four Action Learning Set sessions will provide the opportunity to develop your network of colleagues and to explore professional and business challenges in a safe and supportive environment.

Time Commitment:

  • Initial one-to-one: a two hour session in London.
  • 2.5 day residential programme at Crewe Hall, Cheshire.
  • Four Action Learning Sets hosted by participants on the programme.  They run quarterly and include a dinner and an overnight stay the evening before each meeting (this cost is not included in the programme fee).
  • Mid-programme workshop at Crewe Hall, Cheshire with dinner and overnight stay the night before.
  • Concluding one-to-one: a two hour session in London.

Programme Dates

The next iteration of the programme will start in Spring 2021 and applications will open in Autumn 2020.

Programme Fee

To be confirmed

How To Apply

Applications open in Autumn 2020.  In order to help you prepare in advance, you will need to complete an application form and provide:

  • a one page personal statement outlining your experience and motivation for seeking to join the programme;
  • a copy of your CV;
  • a letter of commitment from a member of the University Executive confirming that the time and funding needed are available.

For further information, please contact Catherine Webb , AHUA Executive Secretary.

For terms and conditions relating to all AHUA’s programmes, please see here.

What previous participants have said...

“The action learning was so valuable that since the programme finished we have maintained our set through continued sessions in person and we have also established a Whatsapp group to share experiences and keep in touch. The one-to-one coaching sessions during the programme were also extremely valuable in building confidence and recognising the positive contributions I make through the role”. Richard Stock, Academic Registrar, University of Essex

“The programme has allowed me to return to my place of work with higher levels of energy and just as importantly, fresh strategies to tackle complicated issues.  Through many years of courses and training, this programme has been the most transformational, both personally and professionally”. Liam Spillane, Director of Commercial Services, University of Stirling

“The programme provided an excellent opportunity to explore my own skills and experience, how I might use these to better effect and to reflect on next steps.  It was a really open and supportive environment, a joy to be part of, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience”. Clare Curran, Director of HR and Organisation Development, University of Durham


Related Resources

Resource Name
Added On
AHUA Development Programmes Brochure
Programme Terms & Conditions