Executive Development Programme (EDP)

Executive Development Programme (EDP)

Executive Development Programme

Leadership in Learning, Teaching and the Student Experience

This innovative leadership programme is designed primarily for those new or aspiring to leading at executive level (Deputy or Pro Vice-Chancellors) on teaching, learning and the student academic experience. As the imperatives to improve the student academic experience have become increasingly central to the mission of higher education providers, the strategic leadership requirements and challenges of such roles and the opportunities to take forward transformative change have grown substantially.

All elements of the programme aim to produce a rich, stimulating and interactive development environment. As the national body for enhancing learning and teaching in higher education, we recognise the complexities of the current environment and how crucial leadership roles are in HE providers’ delivery of forward-looking, high-quality education, and in maintaining and growing both institutional reputations and the UK’s world-leading position in higher education. In this programme we have brought together sector-leading experience and expertise to help you make real and lasting transformations.

Participant outcomes

  1. Personal development opportunity to deepen and strengthen your existing expertise while challenging and stretching boundaries
  2. Prepares participants for the leadership of learning and teaching at executive level 
  3. Development of strategic and operational planning skills
  4. Opportunity to establish an enduring alumni network, allowing for mutual ongoing support and further development
  5. Access to an array of distinguished guest speakers, all with extensive experience of working at executive level
  6. Practical development of problem-solving skills

Employer outcomes

  1. Development of colleagues as senior leaders and role models within their own institutions
  2. The chance to foster an environment where good teaching runs parallel to good management and leadership
  3. Input into strategic and operational development at institutional level
  4. Project working focused on specific institutional scenarios
  5. Investment in an effective and transparent record of professional development and supporting the creation of a cadre of HEA Principal Fellows. 

THE HEA EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - WHY THIS PROGRAMME AND WHO IT IS FOR: Download this review of the HEA Executive Development Programme which covers the key components of the programme and introduces the programme team.

BENEFITS & OUTCOMES STATEMENT: Download the the full benefits and outcomes statement.

APPLY: We are currently accepting applications for this programme, download the application form.

All completed forms need to be emailed to training@heacademy.ac.uk 

For more course information or to get started enquire now below.


Event Schedule
Thursday, 19 April, 2018 - 10:00
Professional Learning Curve Level
Event Duration
38 weeks
Price Details
Choose your institution from the list below.
Nation / Region
Fellowship category
Event Type

For course information or to get started

More about this course

The programme is designed primarily to support those in senior leadership and executive roles (at PVC/DVC level or equivalent) with portfolios covering education, learning and teaching and the student experience. It may be particularly attractive to those who are recently appointed but is equally appropriate for those moving between different kinds of HE provider, and for those seeking a development opportunity in this field.

Those working for HE providers with different leadership structures (e.g. where student education has no executive role, or where student education is spread across executive deans or equivalent) are welcome to make further enquiries about the programme’s suitability. The programme could be used to support an application for Principal Fellowship of the HEA with respect to continuing professional development (CPD).

The Executive Development Programme is led by a team of three experienced Higher Education Academy consultants – Professor Philip Martin, Dr Julie Baldry Currens and Phyllida Hancock – together with Caroline Ackroyd, the HEA’s Academic Lead for Staff Development. Senior leaders from higher education will join the programme as guest speakers to discuss the key challenges in leading learning and teaching within a global HE context including Professor Stephanie Marshall (Chief Executive of the HEA), Nicola Dandridge (CEO of UUK), Mark Leach (CEO, WonkHE), Professor John Raftery (Vice-Chancellor, London Metropolitan University), Professor Mary Stuart (Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln), Professor Viv Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds), Professor William Locke (IOE, UCL) and Nick Hillman (CEO, HEPI).

The programme is delivered through a series of six intensive residentials and two visits to institutions of particular interest to the learning and teaching agenda. 


"The Executive Development Programme recognises the multi-dimensional nature of leadership in student education, and acknowledges those dimensions in its activities. It could well be described as a busy Programme for busy people but we also ensure that it’s enjoyable, continually stimulating, collegial, and challenging.”

Professor Philip Martin, Director of the HEA’s Executive Development Programme

Programme Content

Seminar 1 - The policy framework for learning and teaching

This residential engages with the policy scenarios and changes in UK HE six years after the Browne review, and now charged with the energies of an impending general election. It will focus on how leaders can confront the challenges of rapid and volatile change in:

  • the emerging national policies for UK higher education;
  • changing roles of the funding councils, other key HE bodies and student entitlement;
  • competition and collaboration, including private and alternative providers;
  • leading on policy changes at institutional level.

Seminar 2 - Leading innovation in learning and teaching and managing change

This residential is designed to enhance your leadership capacities and attributes in relation to change programmes, in addition to developing a sophisticated understanding of the national agenda for the improvement of learning and teaching. It will cover the many dimensions of leading change in practice, including:

  • the challenges for leaders of innovation;
  • improvements for teaching and the competing priorities;
  • large scale curriculum design and reform;
  • change management models;
  • new technologies, new learning.

Seminar 3 - Governance and management; the changing curriculum

Here you will explore and enhance your capacities in relation to two main areas: governance, management and governing bodies’ increasing interest in teaching quality KPIs; and the question of devolved or centralised curriculum frameworks. Both areas are increasingly challenging leaders to confront key questions about where the accountability for the quality of teaching resides. We will consider:

  • management of teaching performance;
  • reward and recognition schemes: addressing poor performance;
  • handling the Board or Council and the Executive in relation to learning and teaching, managing up and down;
  • infrastructure models and effectiveness.

Seminar 4 -Student engagement, NSS and managing risks

This residential focuses on the centrality of the ‘student contract’ and the changing roles of students in a potentially de-regulating environment. You will work with scenarios and case studies on responding effectively to NSS findings. Topics will include:

  • leading and sustaining success in the NSS;
  • predictable and less predictable encounters in role;
  • alternative models: students as consumers; students as partners;
  • working with the NUS and the Students’ Union to deliver the ‘student offer’.

Seminar 5 - The UK in the international context and the internationalisation agenda

The fifth residential is designed to broaden your experience, understanding and ability to handle the international context and the internationalisation agenda. Working with a series of models, case studies and exchanges, themes will include:

  • imperatives for internationalisation;
  • the development and sustainability of international markets;
  • the PVC/DVC role in an international context;
  • the opportunities, risks and challenges of international education.

Seminar 6 - Strategic Projects in Learning and Teaching; reflections on personal practice

The final residential is designed to showcase your progression and personal development throughout the programme. You will have the opportunity to present your strategic project to the group in a collaborative and constructive environment; receive feedback from colleagues on your presentation and have the opportunity to reflect on its impact on your personal practice. Working with the course leads and your action learning set groups the two days will serve to bring the programme to its conclusion considering the next steps for you in terms of your career and development.

The two days will cover the following in relation to your strategic projects and presentations:

  • the design and delivery of the presentation;
  • effectiveness of content covered;
  • structure and practice of the project;
  • materials and interaction with the programme.

Facilitated group visits

There will be two days of group visits to influential and pioneering bodies operating at a UK-wide level. These facilitated visits will give participants a unique opportunity to engage with key individuals working at the cutting edge of policy and innovation in learning and teaching.

Venue Address
The majority of the programme will be delivered in Birmingham with occasional sessions in London, plus two day-long visits to UK institutions to be determined nearer to the delivery date.

What previous participants have said:

“Going through the HEA’s Executive Development Programme has made a massive difference to my confidence and strategic understanding over the past year and certainly played a major part in my recent promotion.”

Professor Helen O’Sullivan, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Online Learning, Liverpool University


“The people who are doing the Executive Development Programme with you are a fantastic network of like-minded folk who, because of the ground rules about safe conversation that we established at the beginning, you can talk to about anything. They can help you think about and resolve your work problems, and in turn you can help them resolve some of theirs.”

Dr Sue Smith, Head of Curriculum Develoment and Review, Leeds Beckett University

Programme dates

Seminar 1 19 - 20 April 2018
Seminar 2  14 - 15 June 2018
Seminar 3 20 - 21 September 2018
Seminar 4 8 – 9 November 2018
Seminar 5 6 – 7 December 2018
Seminar 6 10 – 11 January 2019


Group visit 1 8 May 2018
Group visit 2 11 October 2018
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