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Protocols for the Management of Academic Casual Staff



This protocol is for casual academic staff employed by the University for more than on average 13 hours per semester, delivering onshore undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Casual academic staff provide a valuable service to the University by teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students in onshore face to face and online settings.

These protocols provide a framework for the implementation of quality assurance and best practice processes for the management of academic casual staff to ensure an equitable and consistent approach to the recruitment, selection, employment and development of casual academic staff. Casual academic staff employment conditions are derived from the applicable industrial instrument.


Casual academic staff are sometimes referred to as sessional staff.


1 Recruitment and Selection

1.1 Casual academic staff are normally employed to provide lecturing, tutoring and/or assessment support for UniSA courses during a study period.

1.2 Persons interested in becoming a casual academic staff member can register their interest via the vacancies page on the University's Working at UniSA site.

1.3 Vacancies may be filled by one of the following methods:

1.4 The streamlined recruitment process for appointing University casual academic staff should not compromise the University's principles of non-discrimination and appointment on the basis of merit.

1.5 The selection of casual academic staff should identify the best candidates through a review of the candidate's current Curriculum Vitae and any other relevant documentation, followed by an informal interview/discussion (if required) to ascertain suitability. If selected, a prospective staff member is required to provide evidence acceptable to the Program Director or Course Coordinator in relation to identity, permanent resident status and possession of relevant qualifications.

1.6 A brief position description for casual staff incorporating the relevant standard from the Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (MSAL) should be provided to the prospective staff member for the purpose of clarifying the role and responsibilities. The position description should be completed by the Program Director or Course Coordinator. The position description also guides the performance management process.

1.7 Selection is normally made by the Program Director or Course Coordinator responsible for the employment and coordination of casual academic staff. All selection decisions should be approved by the relevant Head of School or approved nominee (as per the Vice Chancellor's Authorisations).

2 Employment Contract

2.1  Casual staff contracts of employment are generated from the Casual Administration System and will include:

These documents must precede the starting date of the contract. It is a requirement for casual academic staff to receive a copy of the contract once they have signed it.

2.2 Upon the completion of an initial casual employment contract, the decision to offer a subsequent contract for the same program or course is based on the achievement of satisfactory performance in relation to the duties undertaken. It is a condition of employment that the casual staff member who accepts a second contract must attend Teaching at UniSA . Remuneration for attending Teaching at UniSA will be provided and set out in the new contract.

2.3 A performance review which involves consideration of teaching effectiveness including SET analysis must be undertaken upon the completion of a second casual employment contract. If the review of performance is satisfactory then, further employment can be offered. If the review of performance is unsatisfactory no further employment contracts will be offered.

2.4 Where subsequent offers of casual employment occur, consideration should be given to Academic Convertible Contracts as outlined in the applicable industrial instrument. This mechanism encourages the appointment of staff on a contract basis rather than on a casual basis when this is possible and where continuing appointment is not appropriate. It is recommended that advice is sought from the local Human Resources Coordinator/Officer when considering this option. If a continuing position vacancy is identified, the casual staff member may be invited to apply through the standard merit selection process.

3. Induction

3.1 All casual academic staff must complete the casual Academic Staff Induction program.

3.2 The induction program for casual academic staff members comprises attendance at the Division's induction session. It also requires the School to design an induction program that:

3.3 Attendance at induction sessions is a condition of employment and casual academic staff must be remunerated for the time spent participating in the induction process and the payment must be incorporated into the casual contract.

3.4 Casual academic staff should also be provided with a copy of the Quick Guide for Sessional Academic Staff as part of their induction program.

3.5 Induction sessions should be scheduled so as to enable casual academic staff who have external work commitments to attend.

3.6 A new casual staff member must be made aware of the Induction for New Staff website as this provides an overview of the University including information on governance, senior staff profiles, the divisions and portfolios, service providers and important employee legislative responsibilities.

4. Performance Management

4.1 Performance management is a useful tool to assist in the management and supervision of staff. It is a participative process and provides an opportunity for a staff member to gain personal recognition and development.

4.2 Supervisors are required to implement a modified performance management process for casual academic staff, who have completed one casual employment contract of 13 hours or more per semester before any subsequent contracts can be offered.

4.3 For casual academic staff, performance should be reviewed on the basis of the outcomes delivered in relation to the core role/s as outlined in the position description. Outcomes should be measurable and realistic.

4.4 Information included in the performance review should include student feedback (SET data) and collaboration with peers to review teaching effectiveness, as well as any other information in relation to desired outcomes.

4.5 Provision of professional development opportunities and determination of career aspirations should also be incorporated into the performance management process. The University offers a range of development opportunities for staff and casual academic staff should be offered access to relevant development programs as a way of recognising good performance.