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Review of UniSA Professional Experience Program Policy and Procedures: submissions welcome

Closing date for submissions: Tuesday, 24th of July

As part of the university’s planning and review cycle, the Vice Chancellor occasionally initiates formal reviews of areas, functions or priorities. Last year, Professor Høj established a review of the policy and practice governing the promotion of academic staff. This year he has commissioned a review of our professional experience program (PEP).

The Vice Chancellor has invited Dr Belinda Probert to lead the review. Belinda has worked in Australian higher education for 35 years and in senior leadership roles for the last 12 years – ranging from Head of School to Deputy Vice-Chancellor – at RMIT, UWA and most recently La Trobe University. Belinda’s research has focused on employment policy, gender equity, and work and welfare reform. This has shaped her approach to the academic staffing policy portfolio. She was the author of a path-breaking study into academic and administrative university careers in the late 1990s – a study which is currently being replicated through an ARC-funded linkage grant.

PEP Policy
The policy governing the operation of UniSA's PEP scheme (HR-9.2) was approved by Council in May 1992 and has remained largely unaltered since. The PEP scheme is intended to provide academic staff with an opportunity to undertake an extended period of leave, normally of six months, to enhance their knowledge, skills, teaching proficiency, research output, professional experience and performance within their discipline. Under current policy, academic staff may apply for PEP after three years of continuous service with the university or three years after completion of a previous round of PEP leave. Details of the PEP scheme can be obtained at the following web link: http://w3.unisa.edu.au/policies/policies/hr/HR09.asp

PEP-style schemes are widespread in Australian universities and exist in many universities overseas. The criteria, entitlements and processes governing these schemes vary across the sector.

Focus for review
The scope and expectations of the academic role and of universities have changed significantly since the PEP scheme was first approved by Council in 1992. In consequence, the Vice Chancellor has established a review to explore whether:
• the policy contributes effectively to the achievement of the university's mission, strategic ambitions and corporate performance objectives
• within this context, the policy assists individual academic staff to develop and excel in their chosen disciplines and professions
• the policy and procedures are informed by best practice based on an assessment of comparable policies and procedures in place in high-performing Australian and overseas universities
• the program is administered consistently and effectively across the university and is appropriately incorporated into the management of academic work
• policy and practice are consistent with other relevant university policies such as Performance Development and Management, travel guidelines and OHS&W requirements.

Submissions welcome
How can the policy contribute more effectively to achieving the university’s mission? How can it assist academic staff to develop and excel in their disciplines and professions? These will be significant questions to answer, and submissions from staff are actively encouraged.

Dr Probert will visit the university to conduct meetings with staff on August 13 and 14.

Closing date for submissions is COB Tuesday, 24th of July. Submissions can be sent to the executive officer, Greg Giles in Human Resources by e-mail at greg.giles@unisa.edu.au or at Human Resource Unit, Level 3, 101 Currie Street, Attention: Greg Giles.

Greg Giles

Manager: Organisational Development
Human Resource Unit
Tel: (08) 8302 1633
Email: greg.giles@unisa.edu.au