Providing cutting-edge concepts and strategies for university leaders


Leading change

Higher education faces challenges brought about by uncertainty and a rapidly evolving landscape. It is important that entrepreneurial leaders can respond to these complex issues.

This programme introduces participants to the entrepreneurial university concept. It encourages entrepreneurial thinking, mind-set and behaviour that can be embedded into institutions.

Our programme offers entrepreneurial leaders the opportunity to interact with influential policy makers, leading vice-chancellors and experts in the field of university education. This gives them valuable insight and strategies on how to positively respond to change.

Entrepreneurial leaders benefit from this programme as individuals and also return to their institution armed with knowledge and innovative ideas to react to, and drive, change within their institution.

Who should apply?

The programme is designed for senior leaders who:

  • Will lead change within their organisation and guide the strategic direction
  • Wish to identify entrepreneurial approaches especially in resource constrained environments
  • Seek to further understand the higher education sector and the policy environment
  • Keen to extend their networks and learn more about higher education

2019 Programme details

Module 1
22nd – 25th January 2019
Egrove Park, University of Oxford

This module explores the entrepreneurial university concept. It considers the skills needed to lead entrepreneurially, to face current challenges and develop strategies to lead change. Participants will be allocated tutor groups providing additional support and knowledge to explore and further discuss approaches, concerns and strategies.

The following speakers are confirmed for Module 1:

  • Professor Richard Bolden – Director of the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, UWE
  • Nick Hillman – Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit (HEPI)
  • Professor Karen Stanton – Vice Chancellor, York St John University
  • Ian Dunn – Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Experience, Coventry University
  • Professor Helen Laville – Pro Vice Chancellor Education, MMU
  • Professor David Amigoni – Pro Vice Chancellor Research & Enterprise, Keele University
  • Professor Jonathan Shaw – Director of Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University
  • Sarah Mulholland – Head of School Administration, University of Manchester
  • Sam Ryder -Head of School Administration School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Manchester
  • Professor Trevor McMillan – Vice Chancellor, Keele University
  • Dr Paul Greatrix – Registrar, University of Nottingham
  • Bruno Tindemans – Chief Executive Officer, Syntra Vlaanderen Belgium

Module 2
9th – 12th April 2019
University of Salford and University of Manchester

This explores the process in which the key skills and strategies of the entrepreneurial university concept are applied in practice and the challenges faced in implementation. It explores cross team collaboration and the systems to minimise obstacles through shared resources and departmental developments.

Module 3
25th – 28th June 2019
Universities UK, Central London

Focusing on actions for change, it supports participants to plan for entrepreneurial change within their own institution. Discussing the predicated future of higher education and anticipating the likely challenges that will face them when introducing change and transformation. It will also seek to embed the essential skills to adopt proactive entrepreneurial behaviour.

Attendance and contribution to the programme leads to an Entrepreneurial Leaders Fellowship.


The programme fee is £12,250 (including £390 VAT)


Download our Entrepreneurial Leaders brochure here.

Download the application form here.

Following the application, the forms submitted will be passed onto our selection team. Applicants should expect to hear within two weeks of their submission as to whether their application has been successful.

To discuss more about the benefits of the programme please contact Professor Lesley Dobree, Entrepreneurial Leaders Programme Director on

For any administrative enquiries please contact Amy on 02476 158 128 or email



Download our Entrepreneurial Leaders brochure here.

Download the application form here.

Following the application, the forms submitted will be passed onto our selection team. Applicants should expect to hear within two weeks of their submission as to whether their application has been successful.

For any administrative enquiries please contact Amy on 02476 158 128 or .

Programme Team

Professor Lesley Dobree

Programme Director – Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University

Professor Dobree has extensive knowledge, expertise and experience of leadership within higher education gained over a period of 25 years.

She has held a range of senior posts including Dean of Faculty and, for 13 years until July 2017, was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University. Lesley’s successful academic career was built on her early professional experience of working as a nurse and midwife – and later in a range of senior management roles in London teaching hospital NHS Trusts.

She has now set up her own company Dialogue for Success, which provides executive coaching and consultancy services. Lesley was a participant on the programme in 2012 and has been a supporter of the programme ever since.

Liz Bromley

Ambassador – Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Central Lancashire

Liz joined the University of Central Lancashire in September 2016. She is responsible for the university’s planning processes, international strategy, student administration, communications and marketing.

Prior to this Liz spent four years as Registrar and Secretary of Goldsmiths, University of London, where she led many university strategic projects and delivered a full range of student support services.

Earlier in her career, she developed the sector-leading Student Life division at the University of Salford. The division delivers innovative services to enable student success, with a focus on employability and student entrepreneurship during, and after, their studies. Liz was a participant on the 2014 programme and has since been a tutor.

Ceri Nursaw

NCEE, Chief Executive Officer

Ceri Nursaw has a 20-year track record of leading, influencing and developing organisational and national policy. She has worked at a senior level in higher education supporting innovative and creative partnerships with local authorities Government, the private sector, charities, schools, colleges and communities.

Until April 2013 Ceri was Head of Access and Community Engagement at the University of Leeds. There she led a team of over 30 to support regional engagement, fair access, admissions, recruitment, community relations and local and national policy development. Her experience and knowledge led to her providing policy advice to the Departments for Education and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She was also a member of HEFCE’s Strategic Committee for Enterprise and Skills.

Since 2013 she has also led Nursaw Associates, which provides consultancy and project implementation support to further social mobility. The consultancy has established itself with clients such as Health Education England, Office for Fair Access, Medical Schools Council, the Sutton Trust, the NHS and universities across the country including Oxford, York St John, Birmingham and Warwick.


Entrepreneurial Leaders is an excellent programme with world class speakers, but don’t just take our word for it. Former participants on the programme Professor Jess Power and Professor David Amigoni share their thoughts on the experience. 


An opportunity to reflect, understand the wider sector context and challenge your current views and perceptions. It also helped develop a fantastic network of friends

Paul Welshman Associate Director of Enterprise, University of Salford

Energising, supportive, enlightening. Excellent basis for expanding networks that are both supportive and challenging

Margaret Ross Vice-Principal, Head of College, University of Aberdeen

A transformative experience. An opportunity to share best practice across the sector and an opportunity to affect real change

Sharon Paterson Assistant Dean Business Engagement and Partnerships, School of Arts and Media, Teesside University

Fascinating set of speakers and opportunities to discuss key issues and great networking

Andrew Ireland Executive Dean, University of Central Lancashire

This course helped me develop a deeper understanding of the ever increasingly complex landscape in which universities need to operate entrepreneurially so as to sustain their future whilst staying true to values

Mark d’ Inverno Pro-Warden Research and Enterprise, Goldsmiths, University of London

Provocative, relevant and timely, I valued hugely my time on the programme. It’s been fascinating to watch the career trajectories of those in my cohort (and their institutions) and living proof of the impact of the course

Professor Paul Gough Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President RMIT University, Australia

Entrepreneurial ways of thinking and working have never been more in demand in Higher Education. It was very valuable to bring together senior leaders for whom entrepreneurial behaviours and mindsets are essential, to share their experiences, challenge orthodoxies and enable a wider understanding of sector leadership

Rebecca Bunting Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University

The programme offered a wide lens to examine entrepreneurialism across varied perspectives from leadership and management to teaching, research and community partnerships and engagement. The program agenda was packed with visionaries who openly and generously contributed their experiences and reflections. The atmosphere was conducive to thinking and exploration and the group sessions encouraged exchange and dialogue

Mirvat Bulbul Executive Dean, Birzeit University, Palestine


Alumni Network

We recognise that creating change is not something that happens quickly and participants need continued support, encouragement and a fresh input of ideas. We see Entrepreneurial Leaders as the beginning of a process that extends beyond the three modules and participants continue to meet and actively support each other through alumni network meetings. The alumni network allows you to build strong, long-lasting relationships with participants, tutors, policy makers, leading vice-chancellors, and national and international experts in the field of university education. It also provides the opportunity to share experience of change and contribute to the development of the programme itself. The alumni network now consists of over 150 senior members of the university community.

Excellent opportunity to build networks and meet policy formers and influencers

Neil Sammells Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Bath Spa University

The programme is a transformational experience and I have left with some super new connections at senior levels across the UK

Lynn Martin Director of the Centre for Enterprise/Associate Dean, Manchester Metropolitan University

Great programme and network of individuals across the sector

Tim Davies Director of Information Services, Aberystwyth University



Partners are carefully chosen to showcase development, delivery and embedding of entrepreneurship within their culture and programmes. They are institutions with vision and strategy that encourage entrepreneurial mind sets and behaviours.