Can we adopt the Oxford method of calculating TAS?

As we are looking for means to become more efficient can we copy the Oxford method of calculating TAS – currently academics are being asked to fill this in 6 times a year at Staffordshire University, Oxford manages it by just collecting the data once.

The Oxford academic activity survey (AAS) gathers data on the different activities undertaken by the university’s 1 700 academics. Each week around 35 academics are selected at random and are asked to fill in a sheet, which details how many hours they have spent on teaching, research and other activities. Every academic is asked to fill in the survey once per academic year (during the 52 weeks between October and September). pg33

Our TAS system was implemented in line with the TRAC guidance at the time. Whilst specific guidance required a minimum of three schedules to be completed in a one year period, response rates below 100% required statistical sign off. It was agreed the collection of six rather than three schedules per year would ensure our data sample met statistical verification requirements. Over the last couple of years the requirements of TAS have been reduced and the option to adopt Work Load Planning models (if these are TRAC compliant). Unfortunately we do not have an alternative model that meets the criteria at this time.

Oxford do complete one TAS return per year, however this is a five page document that is considerable more complex than ours with the implication that the time differential between returns is negligible.

The TAS system is however a process that has been unchanged for a number of years and given recent changes to TRAC guidance could be reviewed. This is an in house system and given the current student system implementation priorities it is unlikely to be a priority at this time.

Why is the TAS form sent at the end of the week?


Please could you tell me why the TAS form is e-mailed to me at the end of the week that it is needed for? 

Why not at the beginning of the week or even the week before, it is needed for, so that I can keep an eye on what jobs etc I am doing?


As a general rule the TAS emails are sent out each Monday for the very reason that people can use the diary aide attached to keep a track of their hours. The only exception to this would be if the member of staff responsible for generating the emails was on leave. In this scenario the emails would be sent out on the Friday before the period concerned.
The only other exception to this rule would have occurred over the Christmas period.

The TAS system is a fully automated system that works on a series of prompts and reminders. If you fail to respond to the initial request to fill out your TAS return you will receive an email to remind you to return it.

Failure to respond to this will result in another reminder being sent. Repeatedly failing to respond will result in business managers and deans being notified. I enjoyed an extended break over the Christmas period which meant that I was not able to send the emails on Monday 27 December or Monday 3 January.

To avoid people being sent reminders without having had sufficient time to return their forms, the emails sent out were staggered over other days. These have now been processed so we are back to the general rule of emails being generated on a Monday.