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Warwick Academic Shadowing Programme 2015-2016

One aspect of preparing academics for a new position of leadership is for there to be a fairly wide and accurate understanding of what the job involves. Following a successful small scale pilot in 2014/15 which was previously linked to the Athena SWAN agenda, the Warwick Academic Shadowing Programme: Leaders in Action will operate again in 2015/16.

Programme summary

The programme will involve 3 half days of shadowing a more senior academic colleague over the Autumn, Spring and/or Summer terms and aims to provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • Enhance understanding of the structure of the Warwick, including its management structure
  • Increase knowledge of the broader environment within which the University of Warwick operates and the strategic management issues addressed by senior management
  • Develop leadership capabilities by exposure to senior management personnel and their decision-making processes
  • Raise the profile of participants amongst senior management
  • Increase the confidence of participants in operating at senior decision-making levels
  • Provide enhanced networking opportunities between participants, and between participants and members of the senior management team

Feedback from previous participants

The following are sample quotes from those who took part in the pilot programme in 2014/15.

“The shadowing scheme provided an excellent opportunity to get to know how the different University committees worked and related to each other. I had the opportunity to observe a range of chairing styles, reflect on the skills displayed in these different approaches, and consider strategies for my own practice. Having the opportunity to talk to senior University staff about their role, what they aim to do and the challenges involved improved my understanding of these senior roles. It was very useful to be able to network with a range of senior staff, and useful contacts were made. Sharing experiences with the others who were shadowing helped me reflect on what I had learnt."

“The shadowing programme has enabled me to gain an inspirational insight into the day to day work of one the most senior members of staff in the University. It has also enabled me to widen my professional and social networks and develop valuable collaborative links both through other attendees on the shadowing programme and through attending various University level meetings. I feel extremely privileged to have participated in the shadowing programme and strongly encourage other staff to apply.”

"I found this an excellent way to learn. It allowed me to observe interactions of my mentor and various contacts (more senior, peer and more junior colleagues) in a wide range of settings. There was benefit in discussing thoughts about the meetings I observed in advance with the person I was shadowing, what they aimed to achieve and the potential pitfalls, and their interpretation of how it had gone afterwards. It helped to identify the human side of the consummate professional, and the strategies and basic hard work that underpins success."

Application process and further information

Places on the programme will be limited and will depend on the number of potential matches. If you were successful in securing a place on the programme, you would be given the opportunity to shadow a senior colleague for 3 half days in the 2015/16 Academic year. This would be preceded by an introductory briefing session during October and would involve a mid-programme progress session and a final review session. You would be notified if you have been successful by: Friday 16th October 2015.

If you were offered and accept a shadowing opportunity (for specific dates, to be agreed) this would be taken to be a commitment to attend all three shadowing sessions, and the two review sessions. The review sessions will take place on 14th March 2016, 10:30 to 11:30 and 14th June 2016, 10:30 to 11:30.

If you offer to be shadowed, in addition to attending the review meetings above you will also need to attend a briefing session which will take place on 4th November, 10:00 to 11:00.

You can find more information and the forms you need to submit here.

Summary of the process

1. Interested parties apply.

2. A review group facilitated by the Learning and Development Centre team will aim to match people together to start in late-term 1 and finish in term 3, probably ensuring the pairings go outside departments.

3. During October the shadowers will come together for a short briefing session to explain the ground rules (including confidentiality/Chatham House rules etc) and to discuss how to manage the process. This session will be facilitated by the Learning and Development Centre team.

4. At the first meeting, the pairs will agree ground rules and will discuss how the specific areas of interest might be met through the pairing.

5. The person being shadowed (the more senior) will select which half days are most appropriate to give the shadowee a range of experience.

6. The Learning and Development Centre team will a) facilitate a session for a group of shadowers and some shadowees at the end of term 2 to share their experiences and to reflect on what they have learnt and b) facilitate a final review session towards the end of term 3 to evaluate the overall learning process. Participants will be asked to provide feedback to enable enhancements to the programme moving forward. Both review dates are tbc.

For further information please contact the Learning & Development Centre by emailing researcherqueries at warwick dot ac dot uk, or contact Kevin Hamer (ext 73546) Learning and Development Adviser.