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University of Northampton - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The context for the programme

At the start of programme the University of Northampton was in a transition phase as they were taking on a new strategic plan and moving to a new campus. Encouraging agile ways of working and the impact on our learning and teaching practice was at the heart of a re-evaluation of the role HR plays in supporting staff especially in the area of talent management and staff development. Promoting innovation and the adoption of effective approaches to flexible and blended learning is a key theme of the work of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and the Learning and Teaching Plan for the institution.

They had also undergone a review of their induction probation and appraisal policies to ensure that they formed a coherent approach within a new approach to Talent Management. The HEA accreditation of the innovative C@N-DO programme in May 2014 as a pathway to HEA Fellowship and framework for Learning and Teaching staff professional development marked a new initiative for reward and recognition in Learning and Teaching and for engaging staff in enhancement activities.

Both these developments offered the opportunity for the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education to further the collaboration with Staff Development and HR to align our two strands of work working with HR policies and procedures and strategies to promote and reward the enhancement of Learning and Teaching provision within the institution. In many ways the institution felt they were starting from a “clean slate” and felt the support from participating in this programme would give them the best start possible and enable them to both learn from and contribute to knowledge and practice across the sector.

The areas intended for development

The University intended for the project to make a significant and important contribution to the creation of a new Talent Management Framework for the institution in particular in the evolution of policies and practices for supporting staff through key aspects of their employment lifecycle within the Learning and Teaching strand of the framework.

There will be two complimentary strands to the activity. The first will focus on the updating and enhancement of policies to more strongly reference HEA Fellowship and the C@N-DO CPD Scheme within probation appraisal and associated procedures and practices for Learning and Teaching staff drawing on the UKPSF to ensure sensitivity and relevance to staff roles contribution to Learning and Teaching and staff progression. Work on streamlining of HR Data collection processes will help to support HESA returns and support staff progression transition and engagement in processes of professional development (i.e. peer observation and development programmes).

The second will explore and implement strategies to streamline and enhance appraisal processes themselves to support a more meaningful PDR experience. Aligned to this will be a focus on strategies to promote and support Learning and Teaching staff to remain in good standing with respect to the UKPSF and HEA Fellowship. This will be an important element of the institution application for re-accreditation by the HEA in 2017 and there is a need to learn from experiences elsewhere in the sector to trial approaches to implementation within the institution and to develop a structured plan for inclusion in that 2017 reaccreditation submission. This project will represent a significant start on this process. Collaboration between ILT Scholl representatives and HR will ensure a strategy which is appropriate workable acceptable to academic and learning support colleagues and aligned to similar provision for staff in the other talent streams of the Talent Management programme.