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The Interprofessional Student Leadership Academy launch

18 March 2024

ISLA students and staff at the final presentation
ISLA students and staff at the final presentation

Following the successful HEIW tender and two years of development, the Interprofessional Student Leadership Academy (ISLA) was launched in the Autumn semester with the first cohort of students from The School of Healthcare Sciences and The School of Dentistry.

This bespoke extra curriculum programme, which students completed in a final celebratory presentation of their area of interest in February:

  • offers students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and work on an improvement project independently or with other students
  • provides access to practical leadership experiences from inspirational and motivational speakers
  • provides individual coaching and encourages group work and problem solving through Action Learning Sets
  • encourages students to consider and debate the challenges and opportunities of working in health and social care settings
  • supports student growth in  their personal and professional development
  • supports the cohort throughout their final year of education, and as they transition into the health and social care workforce

The leadership academy experience aims to  equip students  with confidence to influence and lead health care and social care improvement towards the common goal of benefitting the people of Wales and beyond.

Professor Teena Clouston and Dr. Alison H. James developed the ISLA programme with academics from both schools, our students and external stakeholders from the NHS, social care, the third sector and HEIW.

This is a wonderful opportunity for students to access speakers and leaders from practice settings, have personal coaching and work together in a supportive and interdisciplinary environment. We are very excited to see how students’ progress and we look forward to disseminating the evaluation of the programme both within the University and wider.
Dr Alison James Reader: Healthcare Leadership

More about the organisers

Professor Teena Clouston holds a Chair in Occupational Therapy and Wellbeing in the School of Healthcare Sciences. Her areas of interest include the interrelationships of socio-political-cultural constructs and values on health and wellbeing.  She is particularly intrigued by the influence of neoliberal principles on achieving life balance, wellbeing and personal meaning and creativity in life.  Whilst this tends to focus on the drive for intensification, performativity and increased individualism, responsibility and accountability in the paid workplace, she also considers the impact of these in terms of connections at multiple levels e.g. self, family, community and the natural world. Teena is also intrigued by the challenges of learning and teaching caring and compassionate values in HE, and how this translates into resilience and wellbeing in everyday health and social care practice. With a professional background in NHS leadership and specialist practice in mental health, occupational therapy and counselling, Teena joined Cardiff University in 1998 and has just celebrated 25 years of working in Cardiff.

Dr. Alison Heulwen James is a Reader in Healthcare Leadership the School of Healthcare Sciences with an interest in leadership development, organisational culture and quality improvement. She is particularly interested in how healthcare students experience leadership learning in higher education and clinical practice and the role of emotions on learning. Alison is a Registered Nurse and teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Healthcare and is an active researcher. She is a member of the Wales Centre for Evidence Based Care and is widely published in peer reviewed journals and books.

If you would like to find out more about the programme, please email and

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