Participating members of the program, including Professor Graham Webb, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Associate Professors Josie Fisher, Nicola Schutte and Lorraine Graham and program coordinators from Human Resource Services, gathered at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse Armidale Restaurant to celebrate the successful pilot program and discuss the participants experiences throughout the 2010 program.
The UNE Academic Women’s Leadership Shadowing program commenced in March 2010, with the aims of enhancing leadership capabilities of academic female staff members of UNE, and assisting the progression of women into leadership positions within UNE. Six Academic female employees were successful in their application for the program, and went on to shadow key members of the University including the SDVC-DVCA, CDO, PVC, PVC-Dean Arts & Sciences, and HOS of Business, Economics and Public Policy over the course of six months.
After opening the evening and welcoming all attending members, Program Coordinator Bronwyn Kirk invited the “shadows” to share some of their experiences and the value they received from the program.
Associate Professor Lorraine Graham said: “I benefitted from the program through developing a deeper understanding of how UNE operates at the senior executive level within the broader higher education context. For me, it was an opportunity to shift perspective from my work to the issues that concern UNE’s leaders, to understand more about the factors that affect their decision-making and to observe different leadership styles in interaction.”
Professor Graham Webb, a key initiator and champion of the program, added: “Programs like this are invaluable in allowing insight into leadership roles. While leadership theory is interesting and necessary, participants in shadowing programmes are able to see the day-to-day reality of leadership in their own organisation. They also get to see the stress, interpersonal relationships, personal struggles, and wider life choices of leaders. The program provides a great opportunity to build relationships with fellow UNE colleagues that we do not interact with through our typical work activities.”
Ms Kirk said: “This program provides real benefit to participants in a variety of ways, including raising the profile of the participants amongst the UNE middle and senior leadership teams. One of the most important learning opportunities within the program are the regular meeting between the ‘shadows’. This allows the participants to get together to discuss their experiences and learn from each other, as well as building important networks with fellow senior female colleagues.”
The UNE Women’s Leadership Shadowing Program will be offered again in 2011, and senior female general staff will be invited to apply from December 2010. Interested employees can contact the Organisational Development Unit for more information.