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  1. Academic Workloads Flinders University, 21 September, 2010

  2. Changing nature of academic work • Academic staff • Train future professionals • Conduct scholarly and applied research • Build international linkages • Collaborate with business • Generate export revenue • Create new knowledge based export products • Mentor individuals • Contribute to the create life of the broader community • Run large complex organisations • Train their own future workforce

  3. Changing nature of academic work • Hamish Coates and Leo Goedegebuure in “The real academic revolution” argue that the role consists of 5 main domains • Scholarship of discovery • Scholarship of teaching • Scholarship of Integration • Scholarship of application • Leadership and management

  4. Changing nature of academic work • Coates and Goedegebuure suggest that • Academic work should be reconceptualised • Career profiles should be more flexible • Institutions should find ways of ensuring academics get a broad range of experience across a career • Improve measures of performance • Improve RHd training to facilitate an academic career • Universities engage more in capacity building

  5. Issues from a professional HR perspective Academic reward structure • Modelled on the concept of a generalist academic career • Usually contains clearly measurable standards for research • Measures for teaching excellence are more contestable • Service /Leadership standards tend to be weaker Academic Workloads models • Hard wired measure is teaching contact hours (input) • Research “undirected” hard to measure in hours

  6. What’s driving workload models? • UK • Long a feature of pre 1992 institutions • Linkage with Transparent Approach to Costing • Australia • Driven by perceptions of academic overwork • Multiple surveys of workloads of academic profession • Industrial response as a means of imposing a staff centred solution. • US • Seen as good practice • General agreement on appropriate face to face teaching obligations • New Zealand • Practice varies • More recent industrial issue

  7. What’s driving the push for workload models in Australia • Surveys of academic staff satisfaction ( 1990 – 1999) • Progressive decline in job satisfaction • Concerns about workloads • Progressive increase in the number of hours worked • Occupational Stress in Australian Universities 2002 (Winefield et al) • Highly stressed profession • Mitigation strategies • Fair procedures • Job security • Trust in management • Changes in academic work, 2002 ( Anderson et al) • Pressure to perform • Lack of control over task and breadth of task • Workloads • Satisfaction less in less well funded institutions

  8. The industrial response • Addition of workloads management clauses in EBAs • EBAs negotiated at local level, so clauses reflect some local issues • Unlike other industrialised occupations, academic staff had no regulated set hours of work (national maximum 38 hrs per week). • Study of progressive changes in workloads management clauses in 5 universities • Progressively more complex and more prescriptive between 1997 - 2011

  9. What the workload clauses have in common • Definition of what constitutes academic work • Teaching, research and service • Definitions have progressively become more detailed • Framework approach • Workload models determined at departmental/school level • References to OHS, work life balance • Grievance or review process

  10. Australian collective agreements • Become progressively more prescriptive • By 2011 mandate • Nomination of upper limit of hours ( 1800, 1725 hours per annum, or average 36 or 37.5 hours per week) • Specific limits on teaching time, or time splits between teaching research and administration specified (40:40:20) • Models to take into account both task, and size of task, e.g. class sizes, modes of delivery, overseas delivery etc. • Locally determined models to be transparent, written, agreed by staff member, published to all • More prescriptive maxima clauses, e.g. no teaching after 9.00pm • Grievances handled through standard grievance process

  11. 2009 – 2011 Linkage between WAM and performance expectations • Workload associated with contribution to work group’s performance plan • Performance reviews and promotion take into account annual work plan • Allocation based on outputs, rather than inputs • Increasingly specific requirements for attendance • Work must be undertaken in line with University strategy

  12. The US • Workload management is a significant issue • Acceptance of a standard load of 12 hours undergraduate teaching or 9 post graduate • Some have provision for overtime ( teaching greater than load) • Most university policies seek to balance work between teaching, research and service by a formula based on hours or % • Some university policies recognise link between work allocation, performance evaluation and reward • Many States have prescribed minimum contact hours for academic staff.

  13. UK: MAW report recommends • Having a university policy which is highly flexible • Most issues determined at the local level • Measures • Hours ( inputs) or Units ( outputs) • Specified maxima, or median times • What work is included and to what level of detail • How are under and over workloads to be managed • Time frames for review • Linkage with wider faculty /university processes • Consultation over all aspects, including meaning of transparency • Implementation on a university wide basis over an extended time frame

  14. New Zealand • Problem solving academic workloads management; a university response (Paewei, Mayer, Houston) ( Massey University) • Implementation of workloads models as solution to an industrial dispute after major staff reductions • Broad framework – Departmental development of models, review of 6 models • Lessons learnt • Breadth and complexity of academic work • Workload models only one way to solve the workload issue • Academic units absorbed extra work, rather than looking at alternate strategies for management • Importance of developing a template and defining at University level what an acceptable workload is • Linear solutions are not always effective in a complex organisation • Where worked well units had been collegial and interactive, paid attention to transparency, recognised the impact of the local environment

  15. Have academic workload models achieve the desired aim? • Attractiveness of the Australian academic profession ( Coates et al) • Progressive increase in average hours worked • 1999 (49.3 pw) – 2007 ( 50.6 pw) • Impacts of different types of WAMs on academic job satisfaction and working life ( Vardi) • Three different WAMs in one institution • Contact hours • Actual hours worked • Points model • WAMs deal with work allocation not workload management • Better acceptance of all models by Heads than departmental staff • Most accepted was “contact hours” model. • More complex models not seen as attractive and resulted in more petty disputes

  16. Issues with workload models • WLM not a resource allocation model • WLM models are inherently conservative, assume an accretion rather than a reorganisation of work • Impact of new media and forms of communication on traditional workload • Difficulty of achieving internal consistency in application • Some models only measure teaching inputs and assume research is done in residual time • Difficulty of measuring research allocation • Implicit links with promotion opportunities • What are the appropriate equivalances eg face to face teaching and supervision • WAMs permit comparisons giving rise to claims that WAM is flawed • Disputes around the model

  17. Comments • Workload models are a part of university life • All systems will have problems as they cater for individuals and high levels of complexity • Consultation on implementation important • Importance of flexibility to take account of individual circumstances • In universities, management processes are effective if perceived as “meaningful” and “fair” by those involved • Increasingly workload management processes are linked to other university processes which are also “meaningful” to staff • Universities will commence adapting workload models to budgets, performance management and promotion

  18. Different approaches to workload model implementation

  19. “There is a long way to go with something that is conceptually so simple” Director, Workloads Management.

  20. Approaches to implementation • Different approaches to model development • Hours • % of time • Weighted hours or points • No or limited measures ( allocation of tasks) • Whole of University approach • Single system for whole University • Local flexibilities built in, but standard weighting factors • Often developed when maxima are prescribed in agreements. • Framework approach • University develops generic standards, and Faculties/Schools implement as they think fit.

  21. University wide implementation • Collective agreement • Distinguished between • Allocated work ( teaching, work associated with teaching, administration of research) • Unallocated work ( research, scholarship, professional development • Maximum hours ( 1645 pa. Annual hours excluding holidays) • Required workloads to be equalised • 40% ( teaching), 40% ( research), 20% ( service ) split as a guide • Required Faculty based workload development

  22. University wide implementation • Created a steering group ( including Union members) • With external consultant assistance, developed a workload model • Tested the model by requiring all staff to complete the model using actual hours worked • Test revealed large differences in workload, with Assoc Profs and Profs carrying the highest workload

  23. University wide model • Result of actual hours survey

  24. University wide implementation • Activity bands developed • Teaching 20% – 70% • Research 10 % - 60% • Service and Professional activity 20% • Weightings for teaching and associated duties built into system • No weightings or means of accounting for research ( to be developed) • All staff guaranteed 20% service, professional activity allocation • Seen as an annual allocation process, monitoring done through performance development process • System being trialled in one faculty and a variety of schools

  25. Faculty/School models - Basic • Establishment of an expected staff work profile • Courses taught • Thesis supervision and marking • Research ( submission of articles, grant applications) • Administration • Work allocated by reference of what is required to be done, staff member’s career and professional circumstances • Works well if • Course offerings are static • Staff well established • Staff numbers and course offerings are small and located on one campus • Problems • Size of staff • Multi campus institutions • Different modes of delivery

  26. Faculty/Model - Hours • Establish an annual contact hours requirement for teaching, research and administration to total the annual required hours • Each activity is given a time allocation, eg. lecture 2 hours, marking papers 36min • In some cases hourly allocation x no of students • Workload is calculated by taking components and building up the annual required contact hours • In some cases workloads are lowered for early career academics • Most models prioritise meeting the teaching and service hours, with the balance of the allocation for research

  27. Faculty model - Hours • Advantages • Simple • Easy to manage and monitor • Staff are clear about the general duties • Disadvantages • Does not nuance for large classes, different forms of delivery • Research time allocation is based on inputs ( i.e. hours) rather than productivity

  28. Faculty model - Points • Annual hours established for teaching, research, service converted to total points required • Base hourly time allocation established for teaching and service, eg for face to face lecture • Hourly rates multiplied by factors reflecting level of complexity, size of class, nature of delivery etc to generate a points score • Points allocated for service, professional development etc. • Research points developed based on • Previous outputs as measured • Projected activity

  29. Faculty model - Points • Disadvantages • Very complex • Involves consideration of past performance • Time consuming • Advantages • More nuanced, takes account of class size, marking etc • Teaching allocations may be perceived as being more fair • Does measure research and research time

  30. Faculty model – Percentages • Percentages of time to be allocated to each class of work adopted, eg 40/40/20 • Some models identify fixed percentages of time to be allocated to a particular activity • Sliding scale of acceptable percentage of time allocation to each major area of work developed, sometimes by level • Time allocated by Head of School after consideration of • Tasks to be done • Strengths/ interests of the staff member • Expectations of the level of appointment

  31. Faculty model - Percentages

  32. Faculty model - Percentages • Advantages • More flexible • Able to be tailored to specific career levels and individual aspirations • Does not involve complex calculations • Disadvantages • Could be perceived as unfair as allocations are more fluid • Harder to demonstrate “equity”

  33. Implementation issues

  34. Issues • Lack of consistency in data collection and approach • Core data re courses and programs may be poor • Effort in maintaining data • Ambiguity gives rise to potential • Perceptions of managerial manipulation • Flexibility in work allocation

  35. People issues • Equity • Most aim for parity not equity • Transparency • Practices differ as to who can see what • Different attitudes to work and career stages • Leadership capacity/experience of Head of School • Workload models surface existing problems • Gaming?

  36. Metrics and weightings - teaching • Hours allocation varies markedly • Comparisons difficult across countries • Sample comparison hours per week

  37. Teaching metrics

  38. Metrics and weightings - research • Research counted in some Australian and New Zealand systems • Allocations determined by • Prior measured research performance over a nominated period of years, and • Supervision of RHD students, and • Projected research plan for forthcoming year including projected outputs

  39. Links to performance • Workload allocation models have implicit or explicit links to • Performance appraisal • Promotion • Normal approach is work allocation is managed through the WAM, and performance issues through appraisal. • RMIT ( and others) has integrated work plans based on workload allocation, performance appraisal and incremental advancement

  40. Decisions re implementation • University wide approach, local approach or hybrid • USQ has a hybrid approach, with a University wide data base which allows for local differences in weightings • Access - who can see individual workload allocations • Equity or parity ? • Controls ( double dipping) • Use for broader purposes, eg resource allocation, resource requests

  41. Future trends • Complexity of WAMs finely nuanced to equity will mean that they become less relevant • WAM will become the basis for assessment for performance appraisal • WAMs will become more finely nuanced to individual careers and career aspirations • WAMS may become part of the university’s employee value proposition • May be an industrial ‘backlash’ against WAMs