Leading a new chapter of change and decision-making agility

7th December 2016

Sustainability as the problem to solve your university and college issues!

The EAUC Harvard Driving Sustainability Leadership project has taken an exciting new turn. Last week, three university leadership groups were each exposed to a new intense version of the programme which we launched at the University of Cambridge in July with a two-day Leadership Lab. 
The half day bespoke sessions at London South Bank University and the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde were a big success and will continue to evolve as a powerful tool for sustainability leaders to widen their institution impact, demonstrate their value and get the change leading recognition they deserve.
The EAUC is investing in the development of new change and leadership models such as this one developed in partnership with Harvard University. Four weeks ago the EAUC Board approved a significantly different strategic plan for 2017 – 2021. Our new plan reflects a commitment in the organisation to take sustainability to the university and college executive level and reposition it as doing ‘just good business’, a new norm for how we do things. A goal of the EAUC will now be to help institution leaders recognise the value sustainability brings to delivering key institutional strategic objectives. These include, amongst others, quality teaching, world-leading research, the student experience, access, retention and employability.
Our leadership model is showing itself to be adaptable and powerful, working across a different range of group types. At London South Bank it was with the University Operations Board, at Strathclyde it was with the Heads of Services, while at Edinburgh the room was full of university change agents. Prior to this at Cambridge we’ve seen it work with a room of institution and sustainability leaders and at Harvard University with a cross-sector group from industry, healthcare, local government and education. What is particularly encouraging is the recognition that the model works for any new idea change agenda. Large and complex organsations, such as a college or a university, often find their change and decision-making capacity is sorely limited just when they need it most. Plus, in the delivery of the model, sustainability can be overt or understated, depending on each institution's thinking, giving sustainability leaders a flexible ‘foot into the Executive door’.
Across the UK, EAUC now has well over 100 colleagues who have been exposed to the model and are starting a sector dialogue. This is growing to become a powerful EAUC Community–led design approach to programme development. With course materials being open source with Creative Commons licencing, this allows each user group to flex the language and graphics to work best for them. We know that when it comes to leadership and change, one size does not fit all in our sector! Each of the three SMT teams last week left their sessions with many ideas on how they can both implement the change language and models in their universities and how they might be able to support the change agenda in the wider sector. We are now building an EAUC web space to collect and make available the co-developed materials to all our members.
Building on the great success of the July residential programme based at the University of Cambridge, the EAUC will be running it again with Leith Sharp of Harvard University to bring together a new alumni of leaders of post-16 institutions alongside leaders of sustainability to build a shared approach to driving change. Details will be announced early 2017. Get in touch with Iain Patton: ipatton@eauc.org.uk if you think this may be for you.
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