AFAA recognizes that Fulbrighters are leaders in their fields and that these skills can be further supported and developed after the initial scholarship year has ended. Thus, AFAA has been exploring and developing a suite of leadership development activities since 2019. This included a scoping survey to membership to better understand membership needs and interests in this space. This survey revealed broad support for two complementary programmes: a mentorship scheme for AFAA members to act as mentors or mentees; a leadership programme including workshops and seminars to further develop leadership skills.
The mentoring programme as originally proposed, was based on a scheme run over several years by the Australian office of the German DAAD organisation, to help encourage and guide early career academics and professionals to develop their contacts and career exposure to colleagues and institutions in Germany and Europe. Over its 4 year lifetime, it fostered several dozen long-term mentor-mentee relationships.
It was envisaged that there is an opportunity for an AFAA equivalent, where the mentor expertise comes from within our alumni, who can voluntarily offer expertise and advice in a similar fashion, in our case, at least in the first instance, to matched early career alumni who wish to consolidate their Fulbrighter identities, and develop their opportunities on returning, with the benefit of advice from a more senior or experienced colleague.
The proposal was circulated and discussed at our AGM in April 2020, and subsequently our report back from our members’ survey in mid 2020 confirmed interest from our alumni in pursuing the idea, such that it was approved in principle at the AGM in April 2021 and modest budget for it was approved.
As an AFAA member you may now log in to your membership profile and complete additional fields that indicate your interest in participation in this programme. This will allow us to gauge current demand for participation and thus how best to use the available budget to develop and role out the programme.
Leadership development workshops
Our original plan for the workshop was an in person extended 2 day event. However the COVID pandemic has put that on hold. We are continuing to pursue funding opportunities for this and explore other delivery models.