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University of Worcester - Universities HR Strategic Enhancement Programme

The context for the programme

As a University pledged through its Strategic Plan to provide an outstanding educational experience for students based on high quality teaching and learning whilst also seeking to be an outstanding place at which to be a member of staff the University is committed to:

  • Providing opportunities for staff to engage in initial and continuing professional development related to academic practice (teaching learning research and scholarship) based on the UKPSF;
  • Supporting staff to gain recognition of their capabilities and achievements in relation to academic practice through achievement of HEA Fellowships University Teaching Fellowships and the University promotions scheme (including contributory increments appointment to professoriate and promotion to Senior and Principal Lecturer etc.);
  • Ensuring that appraisal systems include specific and explicit consideration of continuing professional development in relation to academic practice and resulting in development outcomes for all of these;
  • Working towards a position where the vast majority of staff have achieved HEA Fellow status (or Associate Fellow) and those with leadership responsibilities have achieved or are working towards HEA Senior or Principal Fellow status;
  • Celebrating and recognising the achievements of staff who through creative application and innovation make an outstanding contribution to the student educational experience.

Whilst they had made good progress in relation to making commitment explicit and providing opportunities for recognition they felt they needed to ensure all policies and processes in relation to professional development career progression recognition and reward are aligned with the UKPSF. They also wanted to ensure there was a clear strategy for implementation with appropriate support and a ‘joined up’ approach to the underpinning of HR policies on teaching excellence. With the creation of the post of ‘Director of Organisational and Professional Development’ and a renewal of the University senior management team the opportunity to participate in this programme was considered timely for the University.

The areas intended for development

The University planned to review and update their HR policies and processes relating to appraisal recognition and reward to ensure that they were informed by and aligned with the UKPSF and that they were underpinned by their institutional commitments to provide an outstanding educational experience for students. They also intended to establish a strategy for ensuring the vast majority of staff achieved a category of Fellowship within two years of appointment – which necessitated a holistic review and updating of key HR policies and processes (including those for career progression and promotions) alongside those we have already redeveloped on staff recruitment selection and probation.

Recognition and reward schemes were to be reviewed and their appraisal scheme to ensure that these took account of the UKPSF and underpinned institutional goals and objectives for teaching excellence.

This involved:

  • Development of a strategy to achieve commitments on HEA recognition for staff including setting of targets;
  • Consideration of how promotion and salary increment criteria are referenced to the UKPSF and achievement of recognition (HEA Fellowship University Fellowship Teaching awards);
  • Consideration of relationship of UKPSF to professorial selection;
  • Mapping of UKPSF to staff and professional development opportunities provided by the University;
  • Development of more explicit career progression routes that take account of the UKPSF;
  • Review of appraisal processes to align with the above and support more clearly professional development related to teaching and career progression (this will also necessitate training of appraisers and appraises);
  • Establishment of performance indicators and success measures.

The approach to the development of strategy and policy in these areas is to consult and pilot new initiatives. In participating in the programme the University hoped to be able to we hope to learn from the experience of others and access expert support from the HEA.