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Programme Leadership

This unit will be running in 2019/20. Details are still being finalised and will be updated in the next two weeks. Please keep checking this page if you would like to register for this unit.

This unit considers theories of leadership and their relevance to leadership in the Higher Education context, with reference to national, institutional and departmental policies which may have an impact. The application of these theories to programme and other forms of academic leadership are then considered.

Unit Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit participants will be able to:

  1. Critically review the role of programme leaders in relation to the student lifecycle from outreach to alumni contacts
  2. Produce an effective and evidence-based programme development plan
  3. Critically evaluate their own approaches to leadership in Higher Education with relation to key theories and institutional policies
  4. Situate their own professional development plan in the context of national, institutional and departmental priorities


  • Theories of strategic leadership, leadership and management, motivation and communication and how they relate to leadership and devolved leadership in Higher Education.
  • The changing context of Higher Education: the challenges facing HE; the cultures and structures of the organisation and organisational behaviour in the organisation and their own working context
  • The strategic focus and key goals of the organisation and how they relate to the individual’s role and to the curriculum
  • An understanding of strategic and operational planning and HR processes and how this understanding contributes to effective leadership and management approaches.
  • The contributing knowledge, skills and competencies required to lead and manage in Higher Education
  • The annual student lifecycle: outreach, marketing, recruitment, admissions, induction and transition, teaching, assessment, evaluation, annual monitoring.
  • Finding and using data to support the role of the programme leader
  • Programme approval, review and modification: the role of the programme leader and the support available.
  • Leading and supporting a diverse team.
  • Institutional priorities and their relationship to the curriculum.

Unit Assessment

Progress towards the summative assessment tasks is staged, with participants being expected to complete regular relevant activities for which they will receive rapid feedback. Examples of such activities include self-assessment of leadership abilities and potential, online discussion of key current issues at international, national, institutional and departmental level or in-class presentations of proposals for change.


  1. The Programme  Development Plan will include a review of current practice, evaluated against current literature and the current version of the QAA Quality Code. The plan should link to the student life cycle and indicate how changes may be made and what resources might be required to implement them. Guide length: 1500-2000 words or equivalent. (70%)
  2. The Professional Development Plan: A critical evaluation of their own experience of leadership within a HE environment contextualised within a critical review of relevant leadership and management theory.  This will also Include a personal development plan that sets out how the participant will further develop their own leadership and management knowledge, skills and competencies  Guide length: 1000-1500 words or equivalent. (30% - Final element of Assessment)


For more information and an informal chat about whether this unit is appropriate for you, contact the Unit Leader Penny Sweasey

As well as registering below, in some circumstances you may need to complete an application form to study this unit. Please check on the application form page »

In brief


  • Confidently take on the role of programme leader
  • Choice of study mode - online version is more self-directed study
  • Focus of reports are on requirements within your current work role, therefore very personal to the individual and no extra workload

Mode of study: F2F (autumn course), online (summer course)

Number of sessions: 4 (F2F), 6 (online)

Type of session: workshops (F2F), webinar (online)

Assessment type and size:
1500-2000 word report (70%)
1000-1500 word report (30%)

Prior knowledge/experience required: suitable for Programme Leaders or those aspiring to become Programme Leader in the near future

When will it run: autumn, summer

Unit leader/contact: Penny Sweasey

Delivery Dates and Registration

Please note: Units are delivered online. Processing time required for applications and preparation time for participants means that the last registration date cannot be extended

There are no forthcoming dates available for this unit at the moment


Please contact the UTA CPD team if you have any queries.