This code of practice is intended to ensure consistent practice across different subject areas. Because departments within and across Faculties differ in ethos and culture, each department will develop its own scheme. Nevertheless, the University does require every department to operate a scheme which satisfies key conditions: it must be equitable, transparent and defensible.
To quantify different duties and allocate work and time in a way which is fair, equitable, transparent, appropriate, defends and enhances quality. A workload measurement scheme will not reduce overall workload; however, by quantifying the effort involved in different activities, it can help to identify more effective use of limited resources. It should also be noted that it is not designed to lead to an agreement on the working hours of academic staff.
CODE OF PRACTICE
Departments should map workload assessments onto student FTE data to assess if workloads are commensurate with the delivered funding for teaching and to permit inter-departmental comparisons to be made.
The scheme will be documented and readily available to staff. It should explain the assumptions underlying the system and contain the following as a minimum: -
1. A comprehensive list of those duties within the spheres of teaching, research supervision and administration which carry points within that particular scheme
2. The value (number of points, time etc) attached to each activity. This results in a picture of the departmental load
3. A statement as to how personal research time is calculated
4. An explanation of the units of measurement used (standard hours, points etc) and (if relevant) the system of points weighting
5. An explanation of how debits and credits will be handled
6. An explanation of how part-time and shared posts and those staff not undertaking a full range of duties (for example, staff on sabbatical leave or on sick leave) will be counted.
7. An equal opportunities audit to ensure that the scheme is free of discriminatory impact.
Spheres of Activity
Attached at Appendix 1 is an example of the points attached to teaching and administrative duties in one department. Each department will need to decide what factors will be used in the quantification of duties. The following examples are drawn from existing schemes.
Systems should give credit for learning, teaching and assessment development and training, as well as actual delivery
Class/group size: this will normally be a simple calculation based on student numbers (one department does attach a "responsibility allowance" to groups above a certain size).
Contact hours per course/unit: lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and so on.
Established vs. new courses/programmes: the normal value attached to preparation and delivery may be increased for new courses (in one department the value is doubled).
Level of teaching: whether undergraduate or postgraduate taught; the number of dissertations; input to dissertations, whether supervised, marked, second marked; nature of dissertation.
B Supervision of research work
Number of dissertations; number of MPhil and PhD students; whether full or part-time; single or co-supervision; year of study, if English first language.
This includes a variety of tasks and roles some of which attract points and others which require decision by individual departments.
The first group includes such departmental and faculty roles as those of Director of Studies, Examinations Officer, Admissions Tutor, MA Convenor, Research Associate Dean, chairing of major departmental committees, Head of Department and so on. Contribution to the faculty or university through membership of committees or holding of particular offices will normally attract points.
The second group comes under the heading of "good citizenship"; Appendix 2 (from Sheffield University) provides a detailed list of activities which might be classified in this way. Broadly speaking, these are not "assigned" duties and are deemed to fall equally upon all staff and consequently would not normally attract points.
D Personal Research
Each department has a notional or actual allocation of time for research and research-related activities. This, together with university vacations, is intended to cover personal research, conference attendance, presentation of papers, preparation of seminars and so on. The time allocation will not necessarily be the same for all staff and is likely to vary for individual staff in different years.
Departments will determine available time for research in one of several ways, such as the percentage of departmental income which funds research activities or the residual time once "committed" time (teaching, administration, research supervision) is deducted. Where research time is allocated differentially, this will normally be based on the individual's past and future research activity as demonstrated by achievements (such as publications, grants applied for and awarded) and research plans, including of course work in progress. The appraisal interview provides a forum for such a discussion.
Units of measurement
Units of measurement - standard hours or other units - will be for departmental determination. The process of identifying and quantifying activities will be undertaken by the Head of Department in consultation with staff, with the aim of achieving a broad consensus. It is recognised that not every aspect of the scheme may have the full agreement of every member of staff.
In order to calculate the departmental load, it is necessary to make assumptions about the time that should be allowed for the performance of given duties by a reasonably efficient member of staff.
When deciding whether and how to reward activities, departments will wish to bear in mind the need to provide incentive where a task is of high value to the department/faculty and low value to the individual and vice versa.
Allocation of duties
The HOD will allocate duties to individual staff in the normal way, checking to ensure that the overall pattern is balanced. Account will be taken of the particular needs of probationary staff (and in some case new staff) in allocating administrative and teaching loads, so that allowance is made for lack of experience in certain areas as well as the need for reasonable research development time. Departments will need to take particular care in the case of staff employed in cross-disciplinary areas to ensure that duties in different areas are quantified and that the total is reasonable.
Credits and Debits
Credits and debits will be recorded and will normally be rolled forward to the next year. Departments will limit the amount of credit or debit which may accrue in one year, with surpluses cancelled out or subject to a strict time limit. The aim should be to balance out loads over several years. It should be noted that devaluation of points will, in any case, make accumulation of deficits or surpluses unattractive to both the department and the individual.
In exceptional circumstances when debits cannot be recovered - for example, as a result of the long-term sick leave or departure of a colleague -they will normally be divided equally between all staff.
Each department will publish details of its scheme, the method of operation and the distribution of activities and points in each year.
Fluctuations in departmental load, staff numbers and so on require that schemes are assessed annually and the units of account confirmed or re-valued and any other adjustments made. In some cases, it may be necessary to adjust accounting units mid-year.
HODs will also conduct a review to ensure that, in terms both of quantity and nature of work, the allocation of work does not discriminate unfairly.
Reasons for operating a workload allocation scheme.
Protect junior staff (in their probationary period or due for consideration for promotion to Lecturer B grade) against unreasonable or unbalanced workload.
Identify research time and protect it from the pressures of other activities.
Facilitate the creation of part-time academic posts, offering a balance of teaching and research opportunities, thus helping women in particular to maintain the momentum of their careers.
Monitor changes in workload to avoid staff being exposed to undue work-related stress.
Establish a departmental "norm" for workload, thus providing a means of identifying and rectifying imbalances.
Discussions about workload are depersonalised and can focus properly upon principles.
It can lead to changes in teaching methods or identify uneconomic activities.
It provides a means of costing units, which information can be used, for example, to assess their viability or to cost the buying-out of teaching time.
It provides a means of recognising and rewarding a wide range of activities, some of which previously may have been undervalued.
Overall such schemes are felt to be fair and have a positive effect upon staff morale and strengthen the ethos of collegiality.
Such schemes are not exact. They involve an element of subjective judgement, particularly in quantifying activities
Time is required to establish and administer any scheme, whether it is simple or sophisticated.
Updated June 2000