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The Open University - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The OU Learning and Teaching Vision and Plan Learning now for the Future was launched in September 2014. It is intended to underpin the delivery of this strategy by investigating the extent to which the UK Professional Standards Framework could be used to align HR processes (such as induction probation appraisal) with academic and staff development. The project is also useful grounding for the development of an Academic Strategy for the University during 2015/16.

Associated developments are:

  1. Promotions criteria have been recently reviewed. The need to align the promotion scheme with existing policies frameworks and quality standards externally in the sector including UKPSF and the Vitae Researcher Development Framework was one driver for this review. The amended policy introduces for the first time a teaching-only route to promotion as well as routes based on teaching-research research only and knowledge exchange. The new promotions scheme incorporates criteria for progression through academic salary bands and these are benchmarked to the UKPSF at D3 and D4 for the teaching and teaching-research profiles. It is intended that the revised criteria will help with achieving better equality of outcome in line with University policies on diversity including its Athena SWAN recognitions.
  2. A new Academic Development Framework has been developed to support both the institutional plan Learning now for the Future and individuals seeking to engage with the promotions process. This has four domains each benchmarked to external frameworks (Learning and Teaching (UKPSF); Research and Scholarship (Vitae RDF); Leadership and Management (Leadership Foundation for HE Leadership Effectiveness Framework) and Knowledge Exchange (JISC/Auril Professional Development Framework for Business and Community Engagement).

The opportunity to engage in the UHR SEP programme was therefore very timely as it allowed a review of how to further consolidate HR processes and academic development in support of the Learning and Teaching Vision and Plan and the emerging Academic Strategy.