The context for the programme
The University of Glasgow is one of the UK’s research intensive universities. Like many of their peers in the UK and internationally, at the start of the project they had been giving increasing attention to the importance of and need for support structures around teaching excellence and the student experience. This programme provided them with an opportunity to share practice amongst HEIs in the important area of staff development and progression and to further develop our approach in this area to benefit their three distinct academic job families: Research; Research and Teaching; and Learning, Teaching and Scholarship.
The University had committed to improving the staff and student experience and to ensuring equality of opportunity for staff in all job families. Indeed, it had just launched its new strategy “Inspiring People” that put staff at the heart of everything they did and so it was timely for them to consider their people management and development systems and processes. They had been developing a number of key initiatives related to the UK Professional Standards Framework that brought together HR, Organisational Development, leaders in learning and teaching, and in research, to explore how they might better empower staff, be focused in their approach, and have agile systems and processes.
Empowerment, focus and agility were chosen as the themes for three University workstreams aimed at supporting their ambitions to maximise the performance of academic staff with one in particular focusing on providing them with meaningful development opportunities and appropriate reward and recognition. Three key elements of the work were:
- Early Career Development Programme: the learning and teaching strand of which is explicitly related to the UKPSF;
- Recognising Excellence in Teaching (RET): accredited CPD framework and recognition scheme which was successfully piloted last year and was being rolled out to all staff at the time;
- Development of new promotions criteria for the learning, teaching and scholarship career track, aligned to the UKPSF which was hoped to be launched in late 2015.
The University wanted to bring together these three elements to ensure their development and human resource management systems and processes are effective and flexible. They were committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for staff in all job families and this programme was to allow them to engage in a structured programme of activities and learn from others’ experiences.
The areas intended for development
The specific areas of institutional practice that the University wished to to develop were:
- Embedding Recognising Excellence in Teaching (RET) across the University through their Performance and Development Review (PDR), staff development and progression processes and core HR systems;
- Raising staff awareness of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) that engaging in RET offers as well as the benefits of Fellowship status to the institution (students and staff) and the sector;
- Preparation of guidance for staff involved in progression/promotion decisions and performance and development reviews as they relate to RET and the new promotions criteria;
- The development of an institutional approach to ‘Good Standing’ and its inclusion within their PDR and reward and recognition processes. To this end staff in Employee and Organisational Development, HR more generally, their Learning and Teaching Centre and the Colleges who deliver learning and teaching were included in the original bid to take part in the project.