Heads of University Management & Administration Network in Europe

Professional Pathways Programme Details

Programme Shape

The Key features of the programme are:

  • It is explicitly aimed at participants on the cusp of being future senior leaders
  • As a hybrid programme, it comprises
    • an initial 90-minute webinar to introduce the programme to participants,
    • a first two-and-a-half-day residential event,
    • followed by online work in teams between the first and second residential, and
    • a concluding one and a half-day plenary event when presentations of teamwork take place.
  • The programme focusses on professional management development in higher education settings
  • Speakers are a mixture of content experts and serving senior leaders in universities
  • Teamwork is action learning focussed, with participants working on real-world challenges
  • We focus on your personal development as well as professional development
  • The balance of the programme’s content emphasises big picture themes impacting higher education now and in the future; the critical importance of managerial inter-disciplinarity and teamwork; multi-disciplinary planning and delivery; global and local forces acting as drivers of change and as disrupters of accepted business models
  • All participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Programme content

Four core themes will inform the programme:

  • Demographic trends and shifts – the impact of Europe’s ageing population on new populations of learners and lifelong education models of educational delivery,
  • The digital, fourth industrial revolution – anticipating advances in the science of learning and teaching and the impact of these on the future shape of institutions and the education they deliver,
  • Future financial sustainability – the profound effects of demographic ageing and lifelong education on future higher education financing, and
  • Future learner needs – anticipating the impact that the digital revolution will have on future skills needs and how this will influence institutions’ nature and organisation.

Teamwork will be based on a combination of:

  • Real world case material, and
  • challenges identified by participants from their institutions exhibiting elements of one or more of the programme themes. This information will be gathered as part of the application process.

The challenges of working with, but at the same time enabling academic culture and management to adapt to shifts in the operating environment, will be a cross-cutting theme of both the teamwork challenges as well as the exploration of responses to the big picture core themes outlined above.

Who will benefit?

The programme is aimed at HUMANE member institutions’ staff who have a realistic prospect of becoming a head of administration within a brief period and who will benefit from a senior leadership professional development experience.

Individual participants will be highly regarded, senior mid-career professional staff working in the major management areas of HUMANE’s members institutions.

These management areas will include but will not necessarily be limited to finance, HR, research management, strategic planning, estates & facilities, student services, marcoms, IT, digital services & data management, legal & compliance management, education/academic support services, and senior generalist faculty management.

HUMANE residential school alumni who are on track to become heads of administration will definitely benefit from participation in this programme.

The intake the programme will be capped at 15-20 participants. The application process is selective to ensure that those who participate in the programme are equipped to benefit from it.

Selection will be based on applicants’ CVs, a personal statement and supporting evidence from their institutions.

As part of the application and selection process, applicants will be asked to articulate their personal motivations for participating in the programme, including a summary of the three key management challenges they see the programme helping them to resolve.

Programme competencies

The programme is designed around a set of core competencies, which will be developed in the sessions led by the speakers. Similarly, the action learning teamwork elements of the programme will be structured in such a way as to reinforce these competencies. The core competencies embedded in the programme are those set out in the table below.

Knowledge and understanding Personal competencies
Global awareness of key future focussed trends and themes impacting contemporary HE Building strong, supportive, positive & sustainable relationships to achieve desired outcomes
How to translate awareness into action concerning the design and implementation of staff, student, & stakeholder-centric services and a service culture Developing social astuteness – understanding & interpreting others’ behaviour
Collaboration skills – competent at working effectively in and with multi-disciplinary teams Initiating and maintaining effective professional networks
How to set and solve challenges to drive desired outcomes Self-awareness of strengths; evaluate future learning and development needs
Change management processes and techniques in academic settings Development of a personal change leadership persona


Content experts in relation to the programme themes will be drawn from a combination of relevant academic departments in universities, and other relevant industry sectors. Their role will be to apprise participants on the nature, importance, and impact of these core themes on universities. They will constitute approximately 40% of the sessions.

The senior practitioner speakers will be drawn from universities and other organisations that specialise in helping universities to adapt to changes in their environment. Their role will be to inform participants of their experiences of achieving or attempting to achieve high impact change and innovation in their institutions. They will constitute c. 60% of the plenary sessions.