EAUC Leadership Lab 2020

Date 15 January 2020 10:30 - 17 January 2020 16:00
Venue Cambridge

The EAUC Change-Maker Programme: Sustainability Leadership and Innovation

*By application

A programme for change-makers, based on transformational leadership and personal development to help you develop the expertise and confidence as a leader in a global university or college driving sustainability across a range of domains.

Chair:  Professor Wendy M. Purcell, Harvard University
Associate Chair: Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, Manchester Metropolitan University

*If you are interested in joining us, please provide us with a short application on why you would like to attend, letting us know a bit about you and your background and how you hope this programme might improve you and your teams effectiveness.  This application could be in the form of a short (2 minute) video or one page of text. 

If you wish to register your interest please contact us.

Who Should Attend?

The programme focuses on supporting you as a change agent, leader or future leader involved in supporting the sustainable development of your university or college in a way that also contributes to delivery against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The focus is on personal and professional development to support strategic leadership in higher/further education settings.
This programme is for you if any of the following apply:

  • You are working towards developing a more strategic focus for sustainability or the SDGs in your institution (or wish to do so);
  • You are seeking means to further sustainability or the SDGs in your institution by engaging with teaching/learning, research/innovation, policy/practice or operational/campus projects;
  • Your role requires you to work across the institution, including with academics, professional services staff and/or students/alumni or wider stakeholder community

About the Programme

The programme is designed to:

  • Help participants develop expertise and confidence as strategic leaders in driving sustainability in a university/college setting;
  • Empower participants to close the gap from ‘knowing to doing’ and promote sustainability for institutional value creation;
  • Support participants contribution to the co-creation of thriving, sustainable communities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally;
  • Offer additional coaching support by arrangement to help participants identify professional/work-related challenges and progress them. 

Participants accepted onto the programme will complete a series of pre-sessional exercises related to ‘Sustainable Self’ which will help frame the sessions.  Drawing on the experience and needs of the cohort, participants will be invited to translate knowledge into their own institutional context and will benefit from peer-to-peer support.  The course will be illustrated with case studies from a range of sectors, providing real-world insights into change agency.  It will also help the establishment of a community of practice in the higher and further education sectors, deepening professional networks that can support of peer mentoring and/or coaching going forward. 

Participants in the programme will be expected to:

  • Undertake pre-session and post-session activities, as determined by the course team;
  • Engage with the designated materials in a critically evaluative way and seek out additional sources for interest and wider sharing;
  • Set aside time for personal reflection and deeper strategic engagement with the topics;
  • Contribute in the classroom/online in a way that respects the input of the full cohort;
  • Support peer-to-peer and group work;
  • Participate in facilitated online workshops and related events;
  • Share their learning with colleagues, family and friends;
  • Adopt a growth mindset, open to new ideas and lifelong learning. 

Faculty Team

The Faculty team includes experts from Harvard University, Manchester Metropolitan University, EAUC, UK Further and Higher Education Executives and industry, as well as your peers.

Times and Costs

The programme is residential and is being held at the University of Cambridge.  Accommodation is not included in the course fee, but delegates who are accepted will be provided with a list of possible accommodation providers.   The course fee also covers one year subscription to the Leadership Academy.

Educational Member rate is £1149.00 excluding VAT and includes programme fees, programme materials, lunches and dinners and refreshments throughout the course). 
Non-Member rate is £1999.00 excluding VAT.
Please note that an invoice will be sent to you once your place has been confirmed; do not include any payment with your  application.

You will be responsible for your travel to and from Cambridge and for your accommodation arrangements.


Background to the Programme

The results of unsustainable human development are evident worldwide – climate change, species extinction, pollution, poverty and inequality are reducing our capacity to sustain our ways of life.  Humans are on a collision course with the natural world. Global megatrends, from urbanisation to a polarisation of wealth, and societal trends relating to trust and simplicity are all making sustainable development the way forward – the ‘new normal’ in mission-led strategy in universities and colleges.
Environmental, social and economic leadership and governance issues are coming together in powerful ways to shape a more sustainable future and are important influencers of stakeholder behaviours – including prospective students and funders.  The task for universities and colleges is to reframe the agenda as ‘strategic sustainability’, embedding it into their strategy for long-term success.  Sustainability is the next frontier in innovation and necessary to leveraging value from the disruptive forces at play in this transformative age. 
Leadership is situated at the critical interface between the social and natural worlds and sustainability leadership and innovation is viewed as central to delivering transformational change. Yet, rather than harness innovation in an organisation, leadership can paralyse individuals and teams and destroy value.  Going behind the narrative of change and transformation as a linear process, sustainability relies upon social networks, communities of practice and ecosystems, based on multiple stakeholder groups within an organisation as well as with partners outside the university/college.  In this way sustainability leadership and innovation are key to effective governance and organisational success.  Implementing a sustainability agenda can serve to better align an organisations’ practices with its goals, mission and values.  In this way, universities and colleges can better prepare their students for global citizenship and undertake impactful research and innovation. 

Course Content

The course focuses on leaders as change agents, supporting the sustainable development of their university/college and wider community and aims to advance the expertise and confidence of participants to act in pursuit of delivery against the SDGs.  Programme themes are integrated to support strategic leadership towards sustainability and innovation and include:

1. Leading in Complexity 

This topic covers how to deal respectfully with the complexity of the world today and effectively facilitate change in this context.  Participants will explore the meaning and implications of complexity for social change and their own leadership practice in building a vibrant, sustainable future together with others.  Complexity will be examined in the meta-context (global and societal trends) and at the organizational and sector levels.
The participants will be enabled to: 

  • develop knowledge about and understanding of leadership in complexity, specifically related to transformative change for sustainability and innovation;
  • develop skills required to work effectively with complex challenges, including the ability to reflect on various approaches in the field;
  • reflect on, practice and develop their leadership skills and leadership style to effect change sustainably in conditions characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. 

2. The Sustainability Change Journey 
This topic will define sustainability principles and themes, in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), and explore natural systems and the five capitals.  Participants will be encouraged to articulate the milestones on the path to their organization’s desired future, what steps they can take today and how they can measure movement in the right direction. 

Integrating sustainability into core functions is key to optimizing benefits realization and this relies upon effective communication skills and confidence in leading change.  Participants will develop an appreciation of systems thinking and interpersonal competencies for sustainability practice.  The role of stakeholders and building customer trust through transparency will also be explored.
The participants will be enabled to:

  • define sustainability principles and themes, and locate their actions within the Sustainability Development Goals;
  • appreciate the contribution of natural systems, the five capitals and systems thinking to sustainability innovation and practice;
  • develop knowledge about and understanding of strategic thinking and planning at organizational/team levels for sustainability;
  • develop knowledge and practical understanding of how a methodology for strategic sustainable development can be used to structure and coordinate innovation;
  • develop leadership skills through team work and other collaborative means.

3. Innovation for Sustainability
This topic positions sustainability as innovation’s new frontier.  Thinking differently about the business model requires the systematic review of products, services and governance models.  Leaders need to be able to question the implicit assumptions behind current practices and drive innovation, harnessing creativity to create value through efficiency gains and effectiveness measure.  Participants will explore smart innovation which starts small, learns fast and scales rapidly relying upon experiments and pilots, debriefing and learning, and scaling where appropriate.

The participants will be enabled to:

  • develop knowledge about, and understanding of how innovation can support organizational transitioning to sustainability;
  • develop practical leadership skills in this area, in how to apply methods and tools to innovate for sustainability.

4. Sustainability to Institutional Value
This topic addresses means to align the sustainability strategy with organisational strategy and create and execute viable approaches for evolving courses, programs, projects, systems, organizations and communities in a way that supports society’s transition towards sustainability.  Enhancing governance and risk management for better results and embedding sustainability into operational business/organizational functions will be explored.  The importance of tactical adjustments made along the way, while staying focused on the goal and building collaborative capacity through partnerships and alliances will be discussed - giving attention to the six activities of the circular-economy (regenerate, loop, exchange, virtualize, share, optimize).  The gap between values and actions will also be considered.
The participants will be enabled to:

  • develop knowledge about and understanding of society’s sustainability challenges and the basic reasons for these;
  • develop knowledge about and understanding of a structuring and coordinating methodology for strategic sustainable development in their own organization. 

5. Sustainable Self 
To get an organization to change, individuals need to change – organizations don’t change, people do.  This topic considers personal values, attitudes and beliefs to make sustainability personal and support role modelling.  Participants will explore the importance of aligning actions with values, to empower people to change and support others in transition.  Alongside knowledge, skills and practice, intrinsic motivations will be examined and used to support the personal resilience and agility necessary to be a successful change agent.

Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Program (SLIP) Change Project 

Each participant is required to identify a key sustainability and innovation leadership challenge and work on this to promote innovation, reporting on their progress to cohort participants and the program’s sponsors.  The SLIP project will feature in each classroom session and will be supplemented through a dedicated online session (Session 3).

What previous programme participants say: 

“I’ve now attended two leadership labs and both times found them extremely useful - the mix of theory and new ideas, workshops, time for reflection and the opportunity to meet colleagues working on the same problems across the sector is one I find invaluable. Recommended!’
Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, University of Edinburgh

The Leadership Lab workshop was an intense, vibrant and enjoyable learning experience.  I came away with fresh ideas about how to understand and influence my organisation, which I have since put to good use.  Follow-up webinars have helped consolidate my learning.  I would highly recommend the course for any sustainability practitioners wanting to make a difference....and isn't that all of us?
Dr Julian Greaves, Sustainability Manager, Bath Spa University 
"This course gave me a greater understanding of how leaders view and can better react to the climate crisis, the role of universities and colleges in addressing the crisis, and how we can adapt our approach to it. The course examines our and our institutions’ values, and discusses key drivers for change such as risk, cost and reputation."
John Thorne, Sustainability Coordinator, Glasgow School of Art

“The course was excellent; it challenged by assumptions on what it is to be a sustainability leader and was a great opportunity to share practical experiences with others”
Candice Snelling, Deputy Head of Sustainability, Natural Environment Research Council


Event Terms

Reservation and attendance on this course is subject to full payment up front. Refunds are only made if cancellation is received up to 21 days prior to the event and will be subject to a £50 admin fee. Places can be transferred to someone else free of charge. Confirmations will be sent once payment has been received. EAUC reserve the right to cancel the course if there are insufficient paid bookings up to one week in advance of the course, and we take no responsibility for travel and subsistence expenses incurred by delegates. In this instance, event fees will be refunded in full. Your contact details will be passed onto any Company Members or third parties related to this event (as relevant). If you do not wish us to do so, please confirm in writing to us prior to the event date.

Delivered by EAUC