From Academics

to Leaders

Academic leadership masterclasses designed to shape the future of academic management and leadership in your institution.

Enquire today

Headshots of Tessa Harrison, Hilda Gjika and Jenny Tester



From Academics to Leaders is a suite of one-day leadership development masterclasses that gives academic managers the tools and expertise to embrace and thrive in this pivotal senior role.

Designed for new or established Heads of Department, School or Institute, we equip them to tackle the most common challenges of transitioning into a senior leadership role:

  • developing their leadership identity
  • building high performing, inclusive, teams
  • driving strategic outcomes
  • leading change and transformation

Delivered as individual masterclasses or a programme – in person or online – by our leadership development experts who bring deep sector knowledge and know how to elevate leadership development from theory to applied, contextual, world-class learning.



Develops common skills gaps*

Designed with cross-sector insights & data

Applied and practical learning

Tailored to your institution

Our Academic Leadership


Our research suggests many academic managers have not had the opportunity to take part in formal leadership development. While exceptional academics, they may need to build confidence and skills in four critical areas. It is time to help them bridge the gap between demonstrating expertise in their field and leading high functioning teams effectively, with confidence and empathy.

From Academics to Leaders comprises of four masterclasses that develop the most important skills for academic leaders. You can choose to book one, a combination or all four masterclasses for your institution. The masterclasses can be run throughout the year, delivered on campus at your convenience or online via Microsoft Teams, or a mix if you choose the full series.

Developing your leadership identity

Identifying your personal leadership style

Developing your emotional regulation and agility

Improving self-awareness of your leadership strengths and development areas

In practice session
Developing and receiving feedback on your leadership purpose

Building high performing teams

Examining the components of high performing teams in universities

Enabling you to create trust and psychological safety with your team

Building a culture of inclusivity and belonging

In practice session
Managing challenging conversations with compassion

Driving strategic outcomes

Understanding effective strategic thinking that drives outcomes

Analysing and interpreting institutional metrics

Taking a systems leadership approach

Building collaborative partnerships with professional services

In practice session
Putting strategy into practice in your department

Leading change & transformation

Understanding why change succeeds or fails

Developing change readiness in your team

Managing resistance to change

Leading strategic change with confidence

In practice session
Navigating the change readiness roadmap

Plus, the option to add:

  • 360 assessment and feedback for all delegates
  • Psychometric insights for all delegates
  • Aggregate reporting to the university


Who are they for?

Our masterclasses are designed for academics who hold or have recently rotated into a Head of Academic Department of Head of School role within the university. With our leadership development they will elevate their skills and confidence to lead well, empower their teams and contribute to institutional success.

Transitioning Academic Leaders

Broaden your leadership skills so you’re ready to rotate into a senior leadership role

New Heads of Department/School

Understand the strategies and skills to confidently lead your department without losing your academic edge

Seasoned Senior Academics

Get world class insight of how your leadership compares with other university and public sector leaders


Give your senior team the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver at their best through train-the-trainer options

“The facilitators have been amazing throughout. I liked how they took the time to explore individual contributions and make very helpful consideration and analysis that others could also relate to and learn from.”

Participant, Change and Transformation workshop, Russell Group University

“Leadership programmes need to feel relevant to the audience and not an off the shelf prescriptive environment. The facilitators achieved that and allowed the learning to feel relevant to each of the participants.”

Participant, University Leadership workshop



Our in house team of leadership and talent consultants are occupational psychologists and leadership and organisational development specialists with a combined 135+ years’ experience in leadership development within the higher education, public and not for profit sectors.

They have developed leaders in UK universities across a range of mission groups, sizes and regions.

World class NPS score

Years’ combined experience

Senior education roles placed every year

Our team bring insights developed through identifying, selecting and developing leaders across higher education. We have first-hand live knowledge and expertise of the pressures and priorities for leaders. We understand the challenges academic leaders face in balancing internal and external stakeholders, fostering an inclusive culture and driving forward change where required. We draw on this experience to design training to align with the latest sector trends while being flexible to your institution’s needs and strategic focus.

Academic Leadership Masterclasses


Who is this designed for?

Our masterclasses are designed for academics who hold or have recently rotated or are transitioning into a Head of Academic Department or Head of School role within the university. They may wish to elevate their skills and confidence to lead well and improve personal performance and institutional success.

How have the needs been identified?

The needs have been identified through a combination of insights from delivering leadership development in the Education sector, the data we gather from our Altitude assessments as well as our recently published ‘Becoming Academic Manager’ report which highlighted the needs and key gaps for those taking up a senior position in universities.

Will this be tailored to my institution?

Absolutely. While you will likely share the challenges facing academic leaders with other universities, we know each institution has its own strategic drivers and unique challenges. We will work with you to understand your needs so we can tailor the development to work in your context and setting and be transferable to the day job for all delegates.

Is inclusive practice embedded?

Yes, inclusive practice is important to us throughout our leadership development. Our delivery is highly flexible allowing us to adjust as needed to ensure a positive participant experience. We ensure diversity is embedded throughout the masterclasses including attending to the diversity of contributors, the authorship of the theoretical underpinning and the methods of delivery. Inclusive leadership is vital for success in academic leadership, and is a constant thread throughout all our masterclasses.

How is learning evaluated?

We will agree with you the most appropriate methods of measuring impact against your goals and context. We will seek both immediate feedback on the delivery of the masterclasses as well as implementing measures for the learning transfer of behaviours to their roles. The evaluation strategy is tailored to your needs and can range from pre and post workshop surveys, through the reruns of 360 feedback, and longitudinal interventions.

What’s important for higher education leaders?

GatenbySanderson has deep expertise drawn from identifying, securing and developing higher education leaders. This gives us a unique insight into the challenges faced by higher education leaders, and skills needed to succeed. We recognise higher education leaders need to be able to navigate constant change, balance a complex mix of internal and external stakeholders and authentically lead a highly skilled and capable team. We also have strategic partnerships with the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the Staff Development Forum (SDF) to ensure we keep abreast with the latest sector trends.

Is it in person, online or hybrid?

We can flex to your needs and run the masterclasses throughout the year, delivered on campus at your convenience or online via Microsoft Teams, or a mix if you choose the full series.

What are the min/max delegate numbers?

c. 20-25 people per masterclass depending on whether you choose to have it online or in person.

How can it be tailored for additional needs?

Our facilitators are experienced in adapting learning environments and delivery to suit a range of learning styles, preferences and additional needs and will work with you to ensure all delegates needs and reasonable adjustments are catered for.

Do we have to book all four masterclasses?

No, you pick which masterclasses you need. Whether you choose to purchase one, two, three or all four of the masterclasses, we recommend discussing with us so we can ensure you get exactly what you and your academic team needs.

What if I’m not sure what we need?

We’re on hand to help. Just book a free discovery call with one of our masterclass facilitators and we’ll chat through what suits your institutional needs best. There is no obligation to book and we are happy to liaise with you as you as you discuss with your team.

How can I book?

Book a free discovery call with one of our facilitators who can arrange this with you. If you’ve already spoken to them, give them a call or email them to arrange booking.

Resources &


Get the complete digital Masterclass Guide

Join our free online panel discussion on 02.07.24

Download the ‘Becoming Academic Manager’ Report

Academic leadership: opportunity or impediment? 

How to


Book a free discovery call with one of our facilitators who can discuss the needs of your academic leaders and institution and quote for the masterclass selection that suits you best.

There is no obligation to book and we are happy to liaise with you as you discuss with your team.

Headshot of Masterclass Facilitator