Uni announces academic performance expectations

Friday, 29 May 2015

The University of Adelaide has today released its new ‘Adelaide Academic’ role statements which are key to its innovative drive to optimise academic productivity. The statements detail the minimum contribution expected of the University’s academic staff.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington said: “The overwhelming majority of our academics perform well but, in our financially constrained times, we want absolutely all staff to share equitably in our task.”

The Adelaide Academic role statements set a minimum for the expected contribution for each of teaching and research academics, research specialists, and education specialists.

The faculty-specific role statements set specific minimum performance measures for output and quality in both teaching and research, each graded from lecturers to professors, and provide the basis for a conversation about how each staff member is contributing to the life of the University. Data from central and standard sources will be collated to provide the evidence of individual staff performance against the minimum requirements.

Professor Bebbington said the approach is uncommon in universities. “Academics enjoy great freedom, and it is unusual for a university to deliberately set out their specific responsibilities,” he said. “But academic life depends on maintaining shared obligations, and in our financially challenging times it will take a conscious effort to ensure our academic ideals thrive.”

The release of the ‘Adelaide Academic’ role statements followed extensive consultation involving executive deans of the University’s five faculties and heads of 26 schools. It is part of a suite of new initiatives announced last month including:

•         Transitioning up to 100 staff to education specialist roles
•         Boosting research support by at least $14 million per year by 2019
•         Reviewing professional services to improve processes.

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

“The Education Specialist roles are a great opportunity for staff who excel in teaching to focus on their passion, 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 with reallocation of scarce resources towards priority areas, while ensuring everyone contributes to the full. This initiative has been warmly welcomed by staff and students alike.”

Professor Bebbington said: “These initiatives are not about cuts, but about ensuring every dollar is best used in delivering our education and research programs.”


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