Are their plans to increase scholarly activity days for non-academics?

QUESTION:

It is my understanding that academic staff are allowed generous self-managed scholarly activity time to study for approved qualifications such as a PhD. However, as a non academic member of staff I am only allowed 3 days per annum to study for approved qualifications such as a PhD which makes it impossible to do so.

Is there a plan to offer all members of staff the opportunity to progress if they so wish, or does the University prefer non academic staff not to develop in this way?

ANSWER:

The academic contract includes a time allocation for advanced scholarship for academic staff. The outputs from these days of advanced scholarship are determined by the Faculty and may include some time for PhD study in some cases.

Professional support staff are able to take time away from work for qualifications being undertaken if appropriate under the training for approved qualification scheme (TFAQ). The scheme allows for various types of sponsorship subject to certain criteria being met and also allows for 3 days study leave for examinations etc.

The University is committed to the development of all staff as appropriate.

Can any member of staff take time out for scholarly activity?

QUESTION:

Academics are allowed time off work for self-managed scholarly activity relating to PhDs etc.

Are all members of staff entitled to time off to work on such activities?

ANSWER:

The academic contract includes a time allocation for advanced scholarship for academic staff.  Professional support staff are able to take time away from work for courses being undertaken under the training for approved qualification scheme (TFAQ) or through short courses attended.  Further information on TFAQ can be found on the website.

 

A question about Staff Fest….

QUESTION:
I have a question about Staff Fest.

I recently tried to book onto one of the more vocational sessions for Staff Fest but was informed that my booking had been rejected by my line manager as the session did not cover something our department is concerned with.

I can understand there being a problem if e.g. the issue is the need to have cover in place in offices, etc but surely if there isn’t such a problem then the idea of Staff Fest is to encourage staff development rather than to put obstacles into place preventing it.

 
ANSWER:
All the sessions within Staff Fest are designed to be purposeful, forward-looking and to improve skills, knowledge and motivation. Importantly staff attending such activities forms a vital part of the positive employee engagement which the University is so keen to promote. Whilst we feel it is right for staff to have line-manager approval in order to attend any of the workshops on Staff Fest, it is hoped that managers will see the core value in this process of engagement.

 

What measures are in place to ensure new staff receive a high quality induction?

QUESTION:
What measures are in place to ensure new staff receive a high quality induction? The document ‘Steps to Success – Managing Induction within Faculties, Schools and Services’ describes a high quality induction experience that not many colleagues seem to have experienced in reality. In fact, many have not even seen this document – some are relatively new colleagues.

 

ANSWER:
In order to ensure that all staff receive a high quality induction there are a number of steps that are currently being taken. The first of which is through the University Professional Development forum. At the meeting held on the 7th September, University Induction was the main area of discussion. All present discussed an evaluation summary report based on induction evaluation gathered from new starters earlier in the year.

The summary report highlighted a number of changes that either have or will be implemented as soon as possible:
•Induction evaluation questionnaire to be sent to new starters every three months going forward
•Introduction of an email/letter to all new starters highlighting the University Induction documentation and online visual welcome
•Amendments and updating to Induction checklists used within the Induction documentation
•Amendments and updating of Induction documentation to highlight importance of staff who transfer roles internally or gain promotion
•Business Managers to highlight the importance of induction to their respective S/FMT’s
•Professional Development Forum to monitor induction evaluation reports

A number of the above actions have already been put into place, such as Business Managers highlighting the importance of induction within their areas. As a result of this we have seen up to a 35%* increase in the areas covered during local level induction such as Appraisal, Mentoring and Health and Safety. In addition, there has been up to 71%* increase in the number of new starters who have accessed the University Induction Visual Welcome. We hope this to increase further with the introduction of a welcome email/letter to each new member of staff.

*percentage based on number of staff who completed the questionnaire.

Why do we use external training when we have a strong internal skill set?

QUESTION:

Please could you tell me if there is a process for checking whether expertise is available within the university before we commission external providers to deliver training?

There have been a couple of occasions recently when external organisations have offered staff development that I would have thought was part of our internal skill set. The results may not only demoralise those who feel they have been overlooked in preference for an external organisation (what a message to send to outside organisations about our expertise!), but also incur costs that could have been prevented.

ANSWER:

The staff within the Centre for Professional Development have a wide repertoire of training skills, experience and knowledge, and offer a broad range of courses, both accredited and non-accredited. Occasionally, however, they will look externally for providers if they consider that a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ would add value. This is always done in full knowledge of what can be offered elsewhere within the University, which is assessed first. A good example of this is the use of an external company to deliver a 7 day accredited course in coaching, entitled ‘Solution Focussed Management. This will build upon the Centre for Professional Development’s existing Creating a ‘Coaching Culture’ workshop and the 2-day Coaching for Success ULM programme. Participants on the new course will then be advised of possible progression routes within the University such as the post-graduate courses in coaching and mentoring in both AMD and the Business School.
 
Many of the Centre for Professional Development courses use the expertise of staff from across the University who are invited to give specialist inputs based on their knowledge, experience and/or research. This partnership approach is considered both a strength and good practice; it is highly valued by participants, and is always given willingly, free of charge.

A great example of this is the Higher Education – Leadership and Practice course.  If other staff from across the University would like to contribute, free of charge, to any of the Centre for Professional Development’s course, please do not hestitate to get in touch- their input would be most welcome.