Programme Leader Development Programme

Programme leaders are responsible for the overall coherence, delivery, evaluation and enhancement of academic programmes. Their role is key in that they can make a significant and positive contribution to the performance of a programme and the student experience. Effective, dynamic and forward-thinking leadership at a programme level is recognised as being essential to the delivery of an excellent, personalised student experience and is a key feature of the provision of high-quality learning opportunities.

Given the operational significance and strategic value of the programme leader, the University of Hertfordshire has committed to providing new programme leaders with a portfolio of development that will enable them to carry-out their roles effectively. The programme will enable new programme leaders to learn about the multi-faceted role requirements and to develop the crucial knowledge and skills that characterise effective programme leadership.   It is hoped that it will also help newly appointed programme leaders to adjust or acclimatize to their new leadership role and working environment and make the transition as smooth as possible.

This blended learning programme of development will comprise a range of interactive workshops to be attended normally within the first year of appointment. There are also opportunities to request bespoke workshops. It is anticipated, given the current context, that most will be run online. There may be opportunity for face-to-face workshops to take place later in the academic year. Workshops are supplemented by access to the Programme Leaders Toolkit on Canvas. This Toolkit will allow for flexible access and self-paced learning and serve as a useful reference point for the new and experienced programme leader.

A period of mentorship as part of the programme will normally be offered for a minimum of one academic year to support academic leadership development and promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise. The mentorship programme is optional but highly recommended. If accessed it would comprise a maximum of three one-hour mentorship sessions ideally at the end of Semester A, B and C, the first of which we recommend should be a face to face meeting but current circumstances may not allow this. These sessions can be offered on an individual or group basis.

The plan is to develop a community of mentors specifically for programme leaders to access.  Programme Leaders will on completion of this development programme be encouraged to consider being a mentor for a newly appointed programme leader in the future.

Optional, but highly recommended, observation opportunities are available and need to be arranged by programme leaders themselves. The Directory lists a range of University and School level Committees, Working Groups or Activities that programme leaders might consider observing, and/or engaging with, during the Development Programme over the next academic year and beyond. The recommended learning opportunities will enable you to gain insight into the University and School business that impacts on the role of the programme leader. Exposure to the opportunities will allow programme leaders to develop an overarching perspective and clearer vision of the factors that affect programme leadership.

Completion of this development programme will enable and encourage programme leaders to recognise and value their expertise. It is anticipated that through support during the programme, and critical reflection within their role, programme leaders will be able to make an application via our CPD Framework for Senior Fellowship of the HEA (SFHEA). We also encourage programme leaders to consider longer term promotional plans such as Associate Professorship as three of the eleven criteria align very well with the roles and responsibilities of programme leaders including; leadership in relation to learning and teaching; curriculum development; and academic leadership.

During the programme and beyond there will also be access to the annual Programme Leader Symposium. The Symposium is an annual event that gathers approximately 140 programme leaders from across the University and Collaborative Partners. The Symposium provides a valuable opportunity for roundtable discussions and enables programme leaders to learn from challenges and successes across the breadth of the University and beyond. Emphasis is  placed on exploring, promoting and discussing issues that emanate from the day to day practices of programme leaders. The Symposium offers the opportunity to network, interact and connect with peers and personnel from across the University and our Partners.

A further means of support is available by way of the established online Programme Leader Forum. This is an open supportive forum for all programme leaders which runs every semester. The aim of the Forum is to enable programme leaders to exchange ideas, raise and discuss issues and ask questions associated with their role and responsibilities and/or the student experience. The intent is to provide a safe space for programme leaders to support and share experiences with each other and receive current information/resources to enable effective practice. We anticipate this Forum will also help to build a community and cohesive culture amongst programme leaders within the University of Hertfordshire and Collaborative Partners.