Skip to main content

"By creating we think, by living we learn" Patrick Geddes

Main University menu

Job Vacancies

Templates Top-Level Menu

Objective Setting & Review - Guidance, Forms & FAQs

Objective-Setting and Review for Staff - Guidance


  1. Transformation - A New Vision for our University
  2. 'The Big Picture'
  3. Your Own School's or Directorate's Strategy and Operating Plan
  4. How Objective-Setting and Review (OSaR) fits in
  5. The Purpose of OSaR
  6. The Principles of the OSaR Meeting
  7. Roles and Responsibilities
  8. Workload Allocation
  9. Outstanding Performance and Poor Performance
  10. Confidentiality
  11. Timetable
  12. Dispute Resolution
  13. OSaR Form

1.  Transformation - A New Vision for our University

Our 25 year vision, developed in 2012, is an ambitious and challenging one.  We are in the process of transformation as we work towards our aim of becoming Scotland’s leading University, celebrated internationally for the quality of our graduates and the impact of our research.  Our purpose is to transform lives, working locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge.

Our actions and decisions are shaped by our core values: Valuing People; Working Together; Integrity; Making a Difference and Excellence.

At this University, we pride ourselves on the excellence of our research, teaching and scholarship and impact.  Excellence is absolutely fundamental to everything we do.

To achieve excellence we must unlock the full creative and productive capacity of our staff.  Our teachers and researchers, and those who support them, represent our principal resources.  It is our joint responsibility to manage these resources diligently and to create a stimulating, rewarding and productive environment.

Communication and delivery is key to the University achieving its short and medium-term goals and attaining its vision of being Scotland’s leading University.

Our people need to understand the University’s overall aims and their School’s or Directorate’s strategy and plans that will support the achievement of these aims.  We need to understand how our role fits in to these strategies and plans and how we can make a difference individually by our personal contribution.

The framework we use to communicate strategies and plans and to discuss how individuals will contribute is the University’s Objective-setting and Review (OSaR) process.  It is intentionally designed so that paperwork is kept to a minimum and the purpose of the document that does need to be completed at various stages facilitates high quality discussions about the Reviewee’s work and objectives, and allows the salient points of the discussion to be recorded.  In this way, the process enables past achievements to be assessed and the future objectives that support the School’s or Directorate’s strategy and plans to be discussed clearly and openly, in pursuance of excellence.

The OSaR process is applicable to all staff: teaching, research, professional and support staff, with the exception of manual staff without supervisory responsibilities.  The generic form includes headings which may be used for academic and research staff, where appropriate.

The process should identify personal development needs to enable the Reviewee to be even more effective in their role and to discuss how these needs will be met.  Resources are available to help people capitalise on their potential by identifying their personal training and development needs and the sources of help the University offers to enhance their capabilities.

Staff on academic probation will be expected only to undertake the relevant probationary process.  The OSaR process will be used as a means of assessing progress and performance during all other staff probation.

The University commits to applying the principles of fairness and reasonableness to the OSaR process.

Back to top

2.  'The Big Picture'

In order to know how each one of us can contribute individually to the University’s success it is essential that we understand ‘the big picture’.

2.1       Our Vision

The University’s core purpose is the transformation of lives, working locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge.  We will mobilise our efforts and focus our energies on three big challenges facing society:

2.2       Our 5 Core Values

Our 5 core values that underpin everything we do are:

2.3       Our Aim

In 25 years we intend to become Scotland’s leading University.

2.4       The University Strategy to 2017

The University Strategy to 2017 comprises nine sections which consider the various challenges and opportunities facing the University.  The strategy addresses the three broad categories of service (1-3) we provide, two cross-cutting themes (4&5) which we judge to be of critical importance during the next planning period and four enabling themes (6-9) which represent the resources we apply to achieve our aims.

  1. Learning and Teaching
  2. Research
  3. Wider impact
  4. Internationalisation
  5. Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  6. People
  7. Information
  8. Estate
  9. Financial Sustainability.

The nine sections make clear what is required across generic themes and complement the three global challenges set out in Our Vision.

Read the full University Strategy here

Back to top

3.  Your Own School's or Directorate's Strategy and Operating Plan

As well as understanding the University’s vision, aim and strategy, you should also be familiar with your own School’s or Directorate’s Strategy and annual Operating Plan.  The Strategy will set out the University’s aims over the medium-term (generally 5-6 years) and the annual Operating Plan will detail the action plan for the School or Directorate over the coming year.

Your Dean or Director will summarise your School’s or Directorate’s priorities for the coming year and this will appear on the OSaR form used in your School or Directorate.  Your School/Directorate Secretary will notify you where the local OSaR form can be obtained.

Your Dean or Director will also provide the link to School’s or Directorate’s Strategy and Operating Plan on the School or Directorate’s OSaR form.

Back to top

4.  How Objective-Setting and Review (OSaR) fits in

The OSaR meeting between you and your Reviewer will enable you to discuss and understand the University’s and your School’s or Directorate’s Strategy and plans and how you can contribute to these.

You are in the best position to put forward your thoughts about how you can make a difference in the work that you plan to do over the coming period.  By discussing this with your Reviewer, together you will develop your objectives that will support your School’s or Directorate’s objectives and ultimately the University’s achievements.

You will also discuss your development with your Reviewer.  Training and development in certain areas may be essential to keep abreast of the demands of your job and opportunities for expanding and improving your skills in a broader sense may open up possibilities for the future and your own career development.

Back to top

5.  The Purpose of OSaR

The purpose of OSaR is to:

Back to top

6.  The Principles of the OSaR Meeting

For support staff who undertake routine roles where annual objective-setting is not appropriate, an annual OSaR meeting should take place allowing the quality standards of work expected to be confirmed or restated.

Back to top

7.  Roles and Responsibilities

Back to top

8.  Workload Allocation

Back to top


9.  Outstanding Performance and Poor Performance

Back to top

10.  Confidentiality

Back to top

11.  Timetable

The OSaR year runs between 1 October and 30 September. 


Back to top


12.  Dispute Resolution

Back to top

13.  OSaR Forms

A single form applies to all staff.  Instructions are detailed on the OSaR Form‌.


Back to top

Version Control
Version 2 - Updated March 2014