Shaping the Future of Management Development in the Academic Sector

How do you consistently develop management behaviours in a truly diverse environment where professional services and academic staff work alongside each other navigating very different challenges?

The University of Exeter has been partnering with Notion since 2015 and was the first organisation to run the STAR® programme in the UK. Their journey to develop a coaching culture across the University engages both professional and academic staff to utilise a coaching mindset in their everyday interactions, then taking the most engaged learners and developing them into Internal Coaches.

The Programme Objectives:

  • To develop leaders and managers from both Academic and Professional Services communities
  • To improve coaching and communication skills
  • To put in place a coaching strategy to better use coaching skills between academics and students
  • To support the Positive Working Environment (PWE) Strategy
  • To explore innovative non-traditional approaches to management development
  • To remove the need and costs associated with putting staff in classrooms
  • To provide development opportunities at a cost effective rate

Watch Clive Betts,  Head of People Development, talking about their journey…

This is a clip is taken from a session Notion gave at the UHR: Universities HR conference in May 2022


The first STAR® cohort was run in 2018 and included a published highlights report, and in subsequent cohorts the results have been even greater. Due to the success of this programme additional cohorts have been run every year since.  All of those surveyed reported:
– that they got value from the programme
– that they are more effective managers as a result
– that they have more effective communication skills

33% improvement recorded across all 9 management competencies

75% increase in time spent coaching

All learners who attended a Live Learning Station completed their programme

At the end of the pilot period, learners also reported ‘significant’ improvements in:

  • Helping team members to solve problems for themselves;
  • Improved personal productivity; and
  • Confidence in giving more appreciative feedback

In addition:

  • Academics adapted lectures and used a coaching approach with students
  • Listening skills improved, colleagues felt more engaged and supported, and 1-to-1s were handled more confidently

Click the image to download the Case Study

Learner Feedback...

Shaping the Future

“I believe that technological and digital transformation is central to the future of L&D. This was an ambitious pilot that attracted a great response there were clear benefits as expressed in the testimonials the learners they gave. The STAR® programme proved to be a refreshingly different and flexible way to learn and, building on what we have learned and on the recommendations from the pilot, we shall be making use of the product in future development programmes.”
Dr Clive Betts, Head of People Development, University of Exeter

If you'd like to know more we'd love to speak to you.