Is there still a need for Grade 9 PLs and equivalent roles?

QUESTION:
Hello, I’d like to ask the Exec the following:
In the new structures, which herald a most welcome revision to senior management structures within faculties, I would wish to query the continued need for Grade 9 PLs and equivalent roles within individual Schools. Surely the roles of the associate Deans who will now take a key role on issues such as partnerships, research & enterprise, teaching and learning and recruitment now permits heads of School to concentrate upon the day to day management of individual Schools, therefore negating the need for a further tier below that of School manager.
Indeed award management has fallen within the remit of the senior Lecturers for some time and similar partnership advisor roles are in many cases also undertaken by SL grade colleagues. It would appear a very clear, and indeed very welcome saving, to abolish in their entirety Grade 9 PL and also PAM roles at grade 11 in favour of SLs at the delivery end and Associate Deans and Heads at the strategic end.

 

ANSWER:
Thank you for your question and suggestion. The faculty restructure was designed to ensure that teaching and learning was central to the faculty. Consequently, we have associate dean roles leading on key cross faculty imperatives from our strategies supporting the university plan – learning and teaching, research enterprise and scholarship and partnerships. The heads of school roles will provide clear academic leadership of the constituent subject areas together with ensuring the implementation of cross university strategies within the school.

Principal lecturer type roles – more often referred to now as academic group leaders we believe will play an important role in the delivery of the school vision into practice – the precise role is currently being worked up by the deans and will be shared soon.

Finally, as part of the portfolio review we remain committed to ensuring that we have the right number of academic staff to support each of our programmes.

Could leave entitlement be reduced?

QUESTION:
I’d like to ask the Exec about leave. The University provides for an overly generous leave entitlement, which in the cases of many senior managers cannot be fully taken, during the course of a year, despite the ability to carry forward 5 days. In some instances leave is simply wasted, indeed some colleagues often use leave to work from home and will take calls, answer e-mails etc, whilst technically on leave. I wondered whether the leave entitlement for those on grade 8 or 9 and above could be reduced to a more manageable, but still very generous 30 days with perhaps a commensurate pro-rata increase in salary?

 

ANSWER:
Thank you for the question. Annual leave is an important part of the contract and allows colleagues time to refresh themselves and gain some work life balance. That being said higher education does enjoy a more generous annual leave entitlement to most other sectors and many colleagues do not utilise their full annual leave entitlements. Pay rates are determined at a national level through national bargaining arrangements and so currently it is difficult to transfer local terms and conditions across to areas determined nationally – on a swap or compensation basis. That being said, it is not impossible and we will look into this suggestion further.

Why do we have to keep logging on to the university WiFi?

QUESTION:
If I return to a hotel I stayed at before, or go to a cafe I have been to before, my iPhone latches on to the wifi system as it knows it, and I’m automatically connected.

However here, I have to keep logging on over and over again to the airnet system. If I don’t use the device for an hour or so, or come back to work the next morning after using it the previous day, I have to log on yet again. The login appears to expire for no apparent reason.

Why can’t we log on just once and stay connected to the university wifi system?

 

ANSWER:
Connection to the University wireless network requires authentication to protect the security and integrity of the University network and IT systems and is a fundamental requirement from JANET (the Joint Academic NETwork).

As part of planned developments Information Services will introduce an additional wireless connection method to enable users to automatically authenticate to the wireless network as part of the Windows logon on University computers, or to enable users to store their credentials as part of the WiFi profile on iPads or similar device.

Such changes will allow Smartphone and tablet users to connect to the University’s wireless network once then automatically reconnect and use “apps” without re-authenticating for as long as the users credentials are valid (i.e. until the password is changed or account expired). Windows devices can also be configured to automatically connect using the computers system account before a user logs onto the device to enable background system activity such as software or antivirus updates.

It is estimated that these facilities will be available from September 2012.