General Policy Statement
To be successful, the University must engage in high quality teaching and research, have effective relationships with outside communities with which the University has contact and be an efficient organisation with clear corporate objectives and good communications.
It must also respond quickly to the present high scale and pace of change in the Higher Education sector. Staff need to be effective if the University is to meet these aims. It follows that the University must maintain and improve the effectiveness of its staff by ensuring that they are well motivated and that they have access to educational and training facilities to allow them to realise their full potential. Moreover, in line with this general policy and also with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy, access to and selection for training and educational facilities will be equal for all employees. Training resources will be allocated by reference to the development needs of the member of staff and the objectives of the Department and the University.
To help in achieving this, the University Court and Senate are wholly committed to staff development and recognise the need to allocate resources for that purpose. Through the Staff Development Committee and the Director of Staff Development, the University intends to encourage academic, service and administrative operating units (hereafter referred to as "units") to identify and meet staff development needs. The University will monitor the procedures that units establish to ensure that staff development needs are identified and, if possible, met. A further aim will be to co-ordinate information on development needs and the programmes employed to meet them. Arrangements will be made, where appropriate and possible, to meet these needs in the most cost-effective manner. Priorities in staff development will be established by reference to the objectives of the strategic plan of the University.
The University will inform individual members of staff that they also have responsibility for their own development and will be encouraged and supported by the University as the employer.
The Staff Development Policy seeks to increase the effectiveness of University staff in
- teaching, learning and research and, bearing in mind the needs of those it serves, to perform well in external assessment of teaching and research;
- administration and management at all levels;
- planning and implementing strategies that further the University's objectives;
- predicting and coping with change;
- motivating staff to achieve their full potential;
- promoting the University and maintaining good relationships with outside communities.
The implementation of the policy will involve monitoring and satisfying the development needs of individual members of staff, subject to the constraints imposed by limited resources. Consequently the policy will benefit staff by enhancing their competence and increasing their job satisfaction.
Implementing the Policy
The University Senate and Court require assurance that adequate procedures are in place to identify and, where possible, meet staff development needs in furtherance of the above stated objectives. Responsibility for providing that assurance lies with the Staff Development Committee. It in turn has the assistance of the Director of Staff Development supported by the staff of the Staff Development Office. The functions of the Staff Development Office are detailed in Appendix 1, but can be summarised as being to monitor and facilitate the achievement of the policy objectives identified above. Appropriate centrally administered funding will therefore be provided for the Staff Development Office to enable it to fulfil its rôle. When justified, additional funding will be provided to enable the Office to mount development programmes recommended by the Director of Staff Development that are considered by the Planning and Resources Committee to be desirable, but which are unlikely to be funded by the operating "units". (The latter will fund most of the staff development initiatives).
For the purposes of staff development, the operating units of the University will be identified as follows:
- Faculties (currently five in number)
With subsidiary operating units of Departments, Schools, Institutes etc., depending on the way in which the faculty concerned has organised itself. This policy statement refers to all such subdivisions as "departments".
- Finance Office
- Information Technology
- Estates & Buildings
- Central Administration
Sub-units will include Personnel etc. These sub-units will also be included under the definition of departments.
- Other academic activities and services
The revised management structure of the University places on Deans and Faculties primary responsibility for achieving the University's objectives in their academic areas. Similar personal responsibility rests with each of the other heads of units identified above. Consequently budgeting responsibility has been assigned to the heads of the units. It follows that the main responsibility for the provision and resourcing of quality outputs now rests with units. Units will therefore establish a staff development structure. The main function of this structure will be to identify and prioritise needs and how these needs can be satisfied.
The manner in which the structure is established will be determined at Faculty level, but will be approved by the Staff Development Committee. One possibility is to create a sub-group of the Faculty Planning Committee, convened by the Dean, that can report to the committee on needs and costs. The committee can then decide on priorities and funding. It would be helpful if some members of such subgroups are also members of Faculty Academic Standards Committees in order to facilitate communication between both groups. This would be similar to the cross membership between the Senate Academic Standards Committee and the Staff Development Committee. Responsibility for quality outputs, and consequently the provision of appropriate staff training needs to achieve such outputs, rests primarily with the unit.
Each unit will develop an appropriate staff development supporting structure within the immediate management unit i.e. the "department". This will usually involve the appointment of designated individuals for each department. Such individuals should be responsible for liaising with the unit, the Director of Staff Development and colleagues within the department.
The implementation of the above strategy will be monitored on a basis to be determined by Court on the recommendation of the Staff Development Committee.
The Staff Development Office
Many staff development needs can be most efficiently organised on an institution-wide basis. Responsibility for meeting such needs will be invested in the Director of Staff Development, who will report to the Staff Development Committee. The Director of Staff Development will be seconded on a part-time basis from an academic department for a specified period. In addition, other part-time Staff Development Officers will be seconded to Staff Development on a similar basis as the need arises.
The functions of the Staff Development Office will include:
- Liaison with units and departments in all staff development matters.
- The provision of a programme of centrally funded activities which serve the University-wide work force. These will work in parallel with and take into account departmental activities.
- The maintenance of a database of staff development programmes within, and outside, the University that could meet the needs of individuals and of academic and administrative departments.
- The organisation of training in teaching methods to all new members of the academic staff, resourced on a basis to be determined by the University.
- Representing the University on relevant outside bodies.
- Liaison with the Personnel Service on the induction of new members of staff and specified training activities outwith the Institution.
- Keeping a record of the centrally funded staff development activities of all employees of the University.
- Responding to any relevant external initiatives (e.g. SHEFC Staff Development Initiative).
- Collaboration as appropriate with other higher education institutions.
- Maintaining close links with those responsible for overseeing the Quality Assurance and Quality Audit processes.
- Facilitating any monitoring processes set up by the University to ensure proper use of resources aimed at staff development activities.