Uni sets bold new academic performance outcomes

Monday, 27 April 2015

The University of Adelaide today announced a suite of new initiatives to transform teaching and boost research capacity - all designed to further consolidate its reputation as a high-performance institution.

“Two years ago we drew a line in the sand, turning away from enrolment growth to focus on student learning quality,” said Professor Warren Bebbington, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Adelaide.

“Today, we do the same with academic staff expectations so we will be far better placed to reach our strategic goals.”

The new initiatives include:
• Transitioning up to 100 staff to education specialist roles
• Boosting research support by at least $14 million per year by 2019
• Creating new “Adelaide Academic” statements to define staff expectations in research and teaching
• Reviewing professional services to improve processes and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy.

“It’s clear that there have been too few opportunities for staff to dedicate themselves to teaching, rather than balance teaching with research,” said Professor Bebbington.

“While other Group of Eight universities have expanded their teaching-focused staff, Adelaide has less than 1% who could be considered as education specialists. We now want to see up to 100 staff depart from standard workload allocations to move into such roles.

“This is a great opportunity for staff who excel in teaching, it’s great for Adelaide students who will benefit from more investment in our unique small-group learning, and for the organisation as a whole, we can now reallocate scarce resources towards priority areas, such as research support,” he said.

A key component also addresses individual academic output which has traditionally been difficult to measure consistently.

“Managing for better academic staff performance is challenging for any university. We’re fortunate that the overwhelming majority of our staff perform well - but we will not be lulled into complacency. The new statements defining what it is to be an ‘Adelaide Academic’, with specific teaching and research expectations, will ensure everyone contributes to the full.”

Professor Bebbington said the new initiatives followed nearly six months of planning and consultation.

“This will not generate new revenue, nor is it about cuts," he said. “In a time of difficult economic circumstances it involves making strategic choices, intentionally reallocating funds to where we can achieve a better outcome in the long term.”


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