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How Warwick Works - Shadowing & Development Scheme for Academics

Thoughts from Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, on the value of the scheme:

"All universities need academics to commit to making the institution work better, and to support this, the ‘How Warwick Works’ scheme will connect you to people currently doing management jobs so that you can observe committees, gain practical insight into department financial planning and shadow a Head of Department, or a senior academic. Aimed at Professors or senior Associate Professors, the programme recognises that most jobs in academia involve a significant elements of leadership. You will have time to reflect on your approach and that of others, and have the opportunity to discuss with people already doing some of these jobs. I know that I have benefitted hugely from such shadowing activities in the past, and hope that you will give it a chance as well."

One aspect of preparing academics for the possible next steps in leadership is providing opportunities for relevant and accurate understanding of what the senior roles involve. Starting with the pilot Warwick Academic Shadowing Programme in 2014, and enhanced under ‘How Warwick Works’ in 2016, this now-established scheme was commended as a career development opportunity in the Athena SWAN feedback in November 2016.

The aim of ‘How Warwick Works’ is to support the career development of colleagues currently at Professor or senior Associate Professor level (or equivalent on teaching only or research only contracts) in a leadership role within their department.

‘How Warwick Works’ will provide up to 12 participants with the following:

  • A greater understanding of the structures at Warwick, including its management structure.
  • Specific insights into operating in leadership roles and decision-making processes.
  • Increased knowledge of the broader environment within which the University of Warwick operates and the strategic management issues addressed by senior management.
  • The opportunity to raise their profile among senior management.
  • Increased confidence in operating at senior decision-making levels.
  • Enhanced networking opportunities with members of the senior management team.

Summary of the scheme

Shadowing: This will involve three half days (or meetings to a similar time-scale) of shadowing a more senior academic colleague over the autumn and spring terms. Places on the shadowing scheme will be limited and depend on the number of potential matches. The matching process will aim to find appropriate matches with senior colleagues to raise understanding and support development beyond their current position at Warwick. The person being shadowed will discuss and select which half days are most appropriate to give the person shadowing a range of experience.

Financial Planning Workshop: An opportunity to review and discuss what is involved in departmental/HoD financial planning at Warwick.

HR Engagement Workshop: An opportunity to review and discuss the key HR engagement activities to support departments and their leadership responsibilities.

Attendance at Warwick committees: We aim to offer an opportunity to sit in on one or two institutional-level Warwick committees, alongside the person you are shadowing, to gain an insight into their operation.

The application form (to the right) will enable you to indicate which aspects of the scheme you are interested in.

Support from Senior Academic Staff

We would also like to invite Heads of Departments and Faculty Chairs to participate by volunteering to support the scheme. This would involve being shadowed for three half days by someone who is interested in finding out more about the Head of Department role. The person shadowing you will not be from within your department and may be from another faculty. If you are interested in getting involved, please complete Form B in the column on the right.

Key dates and deadlines:

The new deadline for online applications is 5pm Thursday 23rd November 2017.

  • Following a matching process, applicants for shadowing will be contacted by Thursday 30th October 2017.
  • Those interested in only the workshops will also be contacted to discuss further details early in term 1.
  • A briefing meeting to explain the ground rules and expectations for those shadowing and being shadowed will take place on Wednesday 6th December 2017 from 12-1.30pm. It is important that ALL successful applicants attend this briefing.
    In addition, following feedback from last year, this initial briefing session will include an Introduction to University Governance and Committee Structures, led by Katharine Gray from the Academic Registrar's Office.
  • A review meeting will be held later in term 2 (date tbc), to enable those shadowing to discuss mid-scheme progress.
  • The dates for the Financial Planning and HR Engagement workshops will be set for term 2, and the dates communicated to participants at the initial briefing meeting on 6th December.

Please note the date of the briefing and review meetings in your diary now, as you will be expected to attend if your shadowing application is successful.


Feedback from four of last year's participants:

Read what four participants in the 2016/17 scheme noted as their key learning points and plans for development going forward.


The new deadline for online applications is Thursday 23rd November 2017 at 5pm.

Please complete Form A if you wish to express an interest in shadowing a senior colleague. The form includes a short section requiring supporting comments from HoD/senior colleague.

Please complete Form B if you would be willing to be shadowed by a colleague.

For further information please contact Professor Kate Seers [], the academic lead on this scheme, or Lisa Lavender [], Learning Development Adviser managing the scheme.