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Senior Women's Shadowing Program

This program will be offered in 2014.

The Monash University Senior Women's Shadowing Program aims to enhance the leadership capabilities of individual women and to assist the University in moving towards a more gender inclusive management structure.  The program supports the University's strategic direction of excellence in management and the Key Performance Indicator for Women in Senior Roles.

Since commencing in 2006, approximately 40% of participants have utilised the opportunities provided by the Senior Women's Shadowing Program to take on more senior roles within the University.  Other participants have learnt to exercise their leadership skills in more powerful and effective ways.  Overall the Senior Women's Shadowing Program has been very highly rated by participants and the University has seen benefits to both individuals and the organisation.

Program aims
Program target group
Program components
Selection criteria
Comments from previous participants
Meetings attended by previous participants

Program aims

  • To enhance understanding of the structure of Monash University, including its management structure;
  • To increase knowledge of the broader environment within which Monash University operates and the strategic management issues addressed by senior management;
  • To develop leadership capabilities by exposure to senior management personnel and their decision-making processes;
  • To raise the profile of participants amongst senior management;
  • To increase the confidence of participants in operating at senior decision-making levels;
  • To provide enhanced networking opportunities between participants, and between participants and members of the senior management team.

Program target group

Women from Academic Level D (Associate Professor), Level E (Professor), HEW Level 10 and Above HEW Level 10 are invited to apply for one of 12 positions in the 2012 program.  The program will particularly suit those who have previously had limited exposure to members of the senior management team and senior level meetings.

Program components

Component 1: Shadowing

Each participant will be matched with a member of the senior management team and required to shadow them for a total of 6 half days, observing them in a range of activities. Members of the University’s Senior Management Team, including the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Deans and Divisional Directors will be approached and invited to participate in the shadowing program as a ‘Leader in Action’.

It is anticipated that as a shadow, you will:

  • Attend committee meetings with your Leader in Action to observe proceedings and learn about the decision-making processes that occur at Monash;
  • Sit in on smaller meetings with your Leader in Action and members of their staff team to learn about different management/leadership styles;
  • Accompany your Leader in Action when they visit other areas of the University to gain a greater understanding of the structure of the University;
  • Accompany your Leader in Action when they attend non-University meetings and events to gain a greater understanding of how Monash leaders operate within the broader community.

It is anticipated that Leaders in Action will:

  • Invite their shadow to accompany them to a range of meetings and events, including senior level meetings;
  • Introduce their shadow to colleagues, particularly other members of the senior management team;
  • Provide some explanation of the way they work (e.g. the ways in which they manage technology, prioritise tasks, delegate jobs, manage relationships);
  • Allocate a small amount of time for discussion following each shadowing experience.

The time and content of the shadowing sessions will be negotiated between each shadow and her designated ‘Leader in Action’

Component 2: Women in Leadership Praxis Group

Shadows will also be required to attend a number of Praxis Group sessions. At these meetings, shadows will discuss their shadowing experiences and reflect on their own leadership skills. Challenges and successes from their daily professional lives will be explored as will strategies and skills that can then be applied in the real world to accomplish changed outcomes. These sessions provide a unique opportunity for developing relationships with other senior female staff at Monash University.

Shadows must attend an introductory session and will then need to attend a minimum of 5 Women in Leadership Praxis Group meetings out of a total of 6 scheduled sessions.

The Women in Leadership Praxis Group meetings will be lead by Ms Linda Betts, Director and principal consultant with Linda Betts and Associates, a company specialising in organisational cultural analysis, mentoring and coaching programs.  Linda has significant experience in providing tailored programs for a number of large, multi-site organisations including universities, and facilitates the Monash University mentoring Scheme for Women.

Selection criteria

Selection will be aimed at obtaining a balance of academic and professional staff and a cross-section in terms of faculties, divisions and campuses. 

A selection panel with evaluate each of the applications based on the following information from each applicant:

  • Evidence of previous leadership/management experience demonstrating leadership potential;
  • Statement of career objectives/aspirations; and
  • Statement of expected benefits from participating in the program.

Applicants will need to:

  • Seek endorsement of their application from their Dean, Head of School or relevant supervisor;
  • Attach a completed Head of School Recommendation Form to their application;
  • Demonstrate an ability to commit to the requirements of the program.

Comments for previous participants

It is hard to imagine how, in such a short time period, people can learn as much as I did. The breadth of my experiences in this program stem from the program concept and the generosity of my leader-in-action - in giving of her time and welcoming me to attend as many events as our busy diaries allowed. (Associate Professor)

I learned that being a leader with a high level of responsibility is really hard work but there is a tremendous energy return from dealing with other bright motivated people. (Associate Professor)

Participating in the program made me realise how important self discipline is (including thorough meeting preparation, staying focussed and plain old hard work). Good working relationships with colleagues (up, down and across) are also important in addressing the very complex issues that arise in an organisation like this. (HEW Level 10+)

The insights into Monash leadership has left me a far more optimistic academic, and I've taken a lot of that bright energy back to my neck of the woods with me. (Associate Professor)

I am now thinking about how I can exercise my leadership in my environment and feel ready to take on new challenges should the opportunity arise. (Professor)

Not only do I feel more "at home" at Monash, but I recognise more clearly what a challenge it is to run a large and successful educational institution, and how vital it is to recognise that strength lies in mutual inter-dependence and respect. (Associate Professor)

I really appreciated being given the opportunity to sit in on a number of higher level committees, to see the thought processes in action which guide not only our successes as a university but also give great consideration to our comfort along the way. (HEW 10+)

The praxis sessions provided the best opportunity I think I’ve ever had in my career to engage with other women and to discuss how we see organisational issues. (HEW 10+)

Meetings attended by previous participants

Academic Board
Annual budget meeting between Vice-Chancellor’s Group and Deans
AUQA Panel Review
Budget meetings with faculties
Committee of Deans

Conference planning session with external participants

Dean's Advisory Committee
Education Committee

End of year function attended by several people from business and government

External Review Panel
Faculty Board
Faculty Executive

Information sessions to faculties

Meeting with Minister for Education
Meetings with international visitors
Meetings with students
Monash College Group
MonCom Board Meeting
Planning workshops
Resources and Finance Committee
RQF Committee
Senior Management Committee
Staff Meetings

Team Meetings

Vice-Chancellor’s Group (Property)
Vice-Chancellor's Group
Vice-Chancellor's Taskforce for the Advancement of Women

Further information

Barbara Dalton
Women's Leadership and Advancement Scheme
Equity and Diversity Centre
Office of the Vice-President (Administration)
Phone: 03 9902 0246