academic leadership: opportunity or impediment? panel discussion gatenbysanderson

Academic Leadership: Join our free online panel discussion

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Join Tessa Harrison and Jenny Tester from GatenbySanderson, with guest speakers from across the HE sector, to discuss Academic Leadership, the role of ‘Head of’ and its impact on an academic career.

We found that the majority of academics we spoke to as part of our Becoming Academic Manager report see the ‘Head of’ role as an impediment to career advancement, even calling it the ‘kiss of death’ to their careers. We want to help the sector dispel this myth and embrace, respect, invest in and inculcate academic leaders.

In this panel discussion we’ll debate and discuss:

  • Whether Academic Leadership is an opportunity to advance your career, or an impediment
  • the most common challenges of transitioning into a senior leadership role
  • the key skills gaps and how to address them
  • what the sector needs to do to invest and support those rotating or moving into this role
  • how academics can build their leadership skills and embrace the opportunity.

Full details:

  • Wednesday 14th February 2024
  • 13:00 – 14:00
  • Online panel discussion and Q&A
  • Hosted online via Microsoft Teams
  • Free to join – register here




President and Vice-Chancellor
University of the Creative Arts (from Feb 2024)
Jane has an extensive career in both higher education and the broadcasting industry. Jane will take up the role of President and Vice-Chancellor at UCA in February 2024. She has spent the past three years at the University of Greenwich, where she has been Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair in Creative Industries since 2021. Before this, she held leadership roles at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and the London Film School. Outside of academia, she has also shaped the schedules for televisions across Australia, as Head of Channels and Head of International Content at SBS (Special Broadcasting Service).

Chief People Officer and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
Sheffield Hallam University

As a member of the University Executive Board, Sally has overall responsibility for the Directorate of Human Resources and Organisation Development (HROD) and the University’s Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EEDI) team, with a cross-University leadership position as institutional lead for EEDI which covers staff and students.  Sally also chairs the EEDI Committee and sits on the Senior Academic Promotions Committee.


Recently appointed Head of Department of Social & Policy Science
University of Bath

Monica works at the intersections of social science and the history and philosophy of medicine. The focus of her research is on psychosomatic medicine, and on modes of thought and practice that seek to address the consequences of epistemic dualism for health, medical practice, and society. Monica studied History (BA) and Critical Theory (MA) at the University of Sussex before gaining her PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the European University Institute in 1996. She taught across all levels at Goldsmiths since 1996, and was Director of Postgraduate Research (PhD programmes) before taking on her role of Head of Department. Monica has recently been appointed Head of Department of Social & Policy Science at University of Bath.

Head of School for Law, Social & Behavioural Sciences
Kingston University
Stephen is a Professor in Policing & Criminal Justice and Head of the School for Law, Social & Behavioral Sciences at Kingston University. He has held various academic roles, including leading research projects, directing undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD courses, founding and leading a research centre, external examination roles ranging from undergraduate to PhD (at 18 different universities) and strategic research leadership. His interest is in designing academic courses focused on developing a curriculum with academic rigour, transferable skills and relevance to professions.

Sara Corcoran

HE Coach and Facilitator
SC Coaching Ltd

Sara is a coach, working with executive directors and senior managers across HE. Sara has a public sector background, with 20 years senior HR (Human Resources) and OD (Organisational Development) experience in Higher Education (including 11 years at Director level) and more than a decade in the NHS.


Tessa Harrison Academic Leadership Panellist from GatenbySanderson

Partner, Education Team

Tessa’s 30-year career in higher education senior leadership and management saw her working in five universities ranging across the sector mission groups. Her current role at GatenbySanderson involves leading a range of executive search assignments for leadership roles for a broad range of universities.


Jenny Tester Academic Leadership Panellist from GatenbySanderson

Senior Consultant, Leadership & Talent Consultancy, Education Team

Jenny is an Occupational Psychologist with over 10 years of experience working with Higher Education institutions across areas including board diversity and inclusion, equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership development and inclusive research cultures.  Her role at GatenbySadnerson is focused on providing world-class leadership development within Higher Education institutions to navigate challenges, adopt best practices in equality, diversity and inclusion, develop academic leaders and support governance and teaching and learning.





academic leadership masterclasses

Our Academic Leadership 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. Find out more.

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