Deans and Directors Development Programme (3DP) 2021 

Enhance your knowledge of business school strategy and your ability to lead a business school team

This programme is now full. To express your interest for the 2022 cohort, please contact Pritika Pau at


The Deans and Directors Development Programme (3DP) helps those who are preparing for, or aspiring to, the role of business school Dean to better understand the complexities of the role; the nuances of leading business school teams, and how to navigate the challenging environment in which business schools currently operate.

Facilitated by Professor Simon Collinson, formerly Dean of Birmingham Business School, 3DP is a multi-dimensional development programme designed to nurture professional and leadership development. Each module tackles a range of critical issues led by expert guest speakers and are under the Chatham House Rule giving participants the opportunity for candid and frank discussion.

Modules are complimented by 1:1 coaching and individual and group projects. Over the course of the programme a strong cohort community is created, and participants benefit greatly from this alumni network in the months and years following the programme.

3DP is a well-established and well-regarded learning & development programme for senior business school faculty. In 2021, 3DP will be fully online, and the underlying pedagogy has been reviewed to ensure that it takes advantage of opportunities offered by technology to enhance the learning experience.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme you will have deepened your understanding about the role of a Business School Dean and about the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are important in the role. In particular you will have a better understanding of:

  • The impact of Covid-19 on business schools and the wider HE ecosystem and the implications of the pandemic, and the various policy responses, on business school strategy in 2021-22 and beyond
  • The complex relationship that exists between business schools, parent universities and the broader business community and how to create a distinctive value proposition for your school
  • Practical ways in which Deans can build their senior teams and manage complex relationships between different teams, departments and between faculty and professional services
  • How to recruit, nurture and promote under-represented and disadvantaged groups and build a diverse, inclusive working culture
  • Creating robust learning & teaching strategies that blend online and face-to-face learning in innovative ways
  • The evolving research environment and the role of the Dean in supporting and enabling a school’s research mission and impact agenda

Session One

14:00-16:00, 17 March 2021

Introductions and welcome

  • Overview of the programme.
  • Outline of projects and deliverables.
  • Introduction to Session 2 linking strategy, leadership and management of Business Schools in a challenging environment.

Session Two

10:00-12:00, 21 April 2021

Leadership in challenging times

  • Linking strategy, leadership and management. Navigating the school by connecting external opportunities and threats to internal development.
  • Post-Covid – changing rules of the game?
  • Markets, funding, policy and incentives (REF, KEF, TEF).
  • Stakeholders, external engagement, impact and reputation.
  • The School’s relationship with university.
  • Strategic groups – differentiation across UK Business Schools.
  • Business models, income, revenues and finance.
  • You – strengths, weaknesses, incentives. Aligning with current and future roles.

Group Projects

In between Sessions Two and Three participants will collaborate on some Group Projects relating to a real strategic priority for example: transforming and repositioning a school with a new building and investment; making a strategic shift to differentiate or re-position with a new thematic focus; setting up an international campus or joint venture; building an advisory board to enhance engagement and reputation; building a new workload model.

Session Three

14:00-16:00, 26 May 2021

Recruiting, nurturing and managing talent and expertise

  • Building a senior team, managing relationships between faculty and professional services staff, developing a positive culture.
  • Diversity, inclusivity and transparency.
  • The benefits of strong HR support and processes.
  • Guest speaker (HR practices or recruitment).

Session Four

10:00-12:00, 7 July 2021

Teaching and learning programme development

  • Developing efficient programme structures and learning pathways.
  • Managing online and hybrid delivery.
  • International programmes and students.
  • Student learning, employability and engagement.
  • Metrics, ranking and accreditations.

Individual Projects

In between Sessions Four and Five participants will undertake an individual project. This project can relate to a topic area that has been covered in either Session Three or Four. For example: recruiting for strategic change; setting up a new rewards structure or managing out a set of low-performing staff; creating new initiatives to improve staff diversity and inclusivity, setting up process and practices to reduce stress, improve staff resilience and mental health; restructuring the school into new departments and functions; making a big investment in online teaching delivery; improving international recruitment; starting an executive education programme (specialist Masters, DBA programme etc.); establishing an international teaching only joint venture; reengineering the programme portfolio to reduce teaching time and increase NSS scores.

1:1 Guidance & Mentoring with the Facilitator

Over the summer there will be the opportunity for participants to have some 1:1 guidance and mentoring with Simon Collinson. Further details about this will be provided when the programme commences.

Session Five*

14:00-16:00, 15 September 2021

Research, impact and reputation

  • Balancing and integrating research and teaching.
  • Research, impact and engagement (REF & KEF). From outputs to outcomes. Applied research which adds value.
  • Building research centres.
  • Increasing research income. Mapping the UKRI landscape and other funding sources.
  • International research collaboration.

Session Six*

10:00-12:00, 13 October 2021

Project discussions and programme summation

* Important notice: A face-to-face gathering

3DP 2021 is designed to be a fully online programme. However, if it becomes apparent that it is feasible to have a face-to-face gathering in September or October 2021, and if the group collectively wishes it, then we may replace Sessions Five and/or Six with a face-to-face event. No decision on this will be taken before May 2021 at the earliest and any such decision will only be made after consultation with the full cohort.

Professor Simon Collinson
Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement, University of Birmingham; formerly Dean of Birmingham Business School

Professor Simon Collinson was Dean of Birmingham Business School from 2012-2016 and then took on the roles of Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Engagement for the University of Birmingham and Director of the City-Region Economic Development Institute (City-REDI). More recently he was awarded funding to establish WMREDI. He is a Professor of International Business and Innovation in the Department of Strategy and International Business.

Simon is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS; which previously chaired) and the British Academy of Management (BAM). He is a Council Member of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and a member of the ESRC Strategic Advisory Network (SAN). In recent years he has sat on several Policy Commissions and Advisory Groups serving the West Midlands Combined Authority and Chaired by the Mayor, including the Brexit and Covid-19 economic response groups.

The programme features guest speakers with specialist knowledge. Previous speakers have included:

  • Professor Julia Clarke, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Business and Law, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, and Chair, Chartered Association of Business Schools
  • Melanie Currie, Deputy Dean, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University
  • Nick Hillman, Director, HEPI
  • Andy Lockett, Dean, Warwick Business School
  • Sharon Mavin, Director of Newcastle University Business School
  • Professor Heather McLaughlin, Dean, Coventry Business School
  • Tim Stewart, Vice-Chancellor, BPP University
  • Donna Whitehead, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Law, UWE Bristol

Testimonials from previous participants

“I have been promoted to Associate Dean (Student Engagement) at my current place of employment. I firmly believe that the 3DP course and the one for Directors of Learning and Teaching that I undertook with CABS last year, have been fundamental in me securing the post.”

"All speakers were excellent - made the sessions interesting with lots of useful insights."

"Excellent. Authentic perspectives on challenges of managing and leading change"


"Very practical tips to take away"

"Excellent for personal reflection. Very helpful."

Programme fee: £1,499

Please note: Due to the nature of the programme which focuses on personal development and encourages frank and open discussion, it may not always be suitable for two participants to attend from the same institution. If we receive two registrations from individuals at the same institution we will notify the institution and the participants, taking account of when the registrations were received, and ask for guidance on whether one or both can attend on the same programme.

If you have any queries, please contact Pritika Pau on or 020 7634 9582