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.

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

Our programme offers 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

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

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



We are still finalising the details for the 2020 programme. Please register your interest to receive the programme brochure as soon as it is available.

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.



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.