'I think there is leadership potential in us but not in our chromosomes'

December 8, 2006

Anne Sibbald has been appointed head of organisational development at Glasgow Caledonian University

Anne Sibbald, who has become head of organisational development at Glasgow Caledonian University, knows more than most new appointees about the institution's management style. Ms Sibbald comes from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, where she was director of leadership development and diversity.

She was particularly impressed with how Pamela Gillies, now principal of Glasgow Caledonian, performed in the foundation's top management programme. "She's very open and approachable. I think she's a woman of the people who believes in equality in its truest sense."

Ms Sibbald aims to help Glasgow Caledonian beef up its social entrepreneurship and community outreach, making it more outward looking.

She worked in human resources at Heriot-Watt University before being headhunted by the Royal Bank of Scotland. She moved from there to the Higher Education Staff Development Agency, the precursor of the Leadership Foundation.

She said she was intrigued to see the progress of Glasgow Caledonian's gender research, backed by £100,000 from the Leadership Foundation, comparing the experience of men and women in further and higher education.

"On the whole, I think there is leadership potential in us but not in our chromosomes. It has to be encouraged, just as research skills and teaching skills have to be brought out," she said. But leadership training is more than a one-off "sheep dip" approach. "It's a continuous process, and you don't cascade it from the top."

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