View Current

Academic Work Allocation Procedure

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this policy to the enquiries contact - refer to the Status and Details on the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The University of Newcastle (University) Work Allocation Procedure sets out the requirements to ensure the allocation of academic work is developed in consultation with academic staff to support the equitable, transparent, and fair distribution of work. 

(2) The effective management of academic work allocation will provide:

  1. a pathway for academic staff to demonstrate and deliver excellence;
  2. an opportunity for academic staff to engage with the University in a transparent and consistent manner regarding professional goals; and
  3. a mechanism to support academic staff across all stages of their career development by setting performance goals specific to their work allocations.

(3) All academic staff member’s work allocations will consider:

  1. the organisational requirements of the local area;
  2. each academic staff member’s level of appointment;
  3. the agreed Academic Planning and Performance goals; 
  4. approved Special Studies Program; and
  5. leave entitlements and the approved leave plan of the academic staff member.

(4) This document details the processes for setting, reviewing, and reporting of academic work allocations. 

Top of Page

Section 2 - Scope

(5) The Procedure applies to all continuing academic staff (full-time and part-time) and fixed-term academic staff (full-time and part-time) on contracts of 12-months or longer employed pursuant to the University of Newcastle Enterprise Agreement

(6) This document should be read in conjunction with the Work Allocation for Academic Staff Policy and the University of Newcastle Academic Staff and Teachers Enterprise Agreement. A list of definitions is available in the Policy.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Why we need a Procedure

(7) The Procedure provides a framework for constructive discussions between a supervisor and an academic staff member in setting and varying work allocations. It will also facilitate a consistent approach across the University for academic staff members building on the University's Foundations for Inspiring People – Academic Staff Framework and the Academic Planning and Performance Policy

(8) The principles-based approach that is focused on outcomes of work allocation outlined in this procedure will:

  1. ensure that the University has a transparent, fair, and equitable approach to the allocation of work; 
  2. deliver greater accountability to manage work across an entire course, supporting an outstanding student experience;
  3. enable localisation at School and/or College for discipline-specific requirements;
  4. provide each School and College with agreed consistent standards and definitions; and
  5. provide greater flexibility across work profiles, with a focus on supporting academic staff's career aspirations.

(9) The clear allocation of work will ensure a shared understanding of expectations between supervisors and academic staff and support a high-performing work environment contributing to the academic staff member’s and the University's goals. 

Top of Page

Section 4 - Work Allocation Profiles 

(10) The University recognises five (5) types of academic work allocation profiles which are outlined in the Work Allocation for Academic Staff Policy.

(11) The notional work allocation for each academic work allocation profile across the three academic domains of research and innovation, teaching and learning, leadership and engagement is designed to allow flexibility, rather than prescribing a fixed allocation within each profile.

(12) The sum of the total indicative academic work components across the three academic domains for any academic staff member will equal 100% of their FTE (on a pro rata basis for fractional appointments).

(13) Transition between profiles can occur with approval from Head of School (or equivalent) and/or College Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent), and Human Resource Services (where required).

(14) The decision to approve the transition between profiles will be determined through consideration of the academic staff member’s strengths, professional interests, and the institutional need.

(15) Most academic staff will have a Teaching and Research Academic work allocation profile. Teaching Intensive, Research Intensive, and Clinical Academic profiles should be for a defined period of time, generally three years, with future-oriented performance targets clearly identified and outlined. Industry and Clinical Educators are normally on a fixed-term basis, from 1 to 5 years and are normally fractional. All work profiles must be recorded with HRServices by the relevant Head of School (or equivalent).

(16) All academic staff, regardless of work profile, are expected to contribute to teaching. Exceptions may exist where contractually stipulated on research fellowships and/or with approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Eligibility of Work Profiles 

(17) Academic staff members will be allocated a profile. The eligibility for each profile is outlined in this section.

Teaching and Research Academic

(18) Generally, the allocation of a Teaching and Research academic is 40% Teaching and Learning, 40% Research and Innovation, 20% Leadership and Engagement.

(19) This allocation is notional and can be varied to reflect the indicative nature of academic work components distributed across all three domains.

(20) Planning and performance goals will reflect the approximated distribution of academic staff components within the profile. 

(21) The School and/or College will define the Minimum Levels of Research Performance that a Teaching and Research Academic staff should meet in accordance with this Procedure.

(22) Work allocation for academic staff members who receive research grants will generally form part of the existing percentage of research allocation, rather than an additional allocation to research. 

Teaching Intensive Academic

(23) Generally, the allocation of a Teaching Intensive academic is 70% Teaching and Learning, 20% Research and Innovation, and 10% Leadership and Engagement.

(24) This allocation is notional and reflects an indicative focus on teaching activities within this academic profile.

(25) Planning and performance goals will reflect the academic staff member’s teaching focus and will establish goals that exceed the teaching performance expectations of a teaching and research academic work allocation profile within their School and/or College.

(26) Research that is undertaken is typically related to pedagogical practice and for the purpose of remaining current in the relevant discipline (generally a minimum allocation of 20%).

(27) A minimum level of activity in Leadership and Engagement is expected at an allocation of 10%.

Research Intensive Academic

(28) Generally, the allocation of a Research Intensive Academic is 70% Research and Innovation, including HDR supervisions. 

(29) This allocation is notional and reflects an indicative focus on research activities within this the academic profile.

(30) Planning and performance goals will reflect the academic staff member’s research focus and will establish goals that exceed the research performance expectations of a teaching and research academic work allocation profile within their School and/or College

(31) Staff members who take up a Research-Intensive profile should be supported by external funding received by the University through successful high-profile and substantial funding bids that is sufficient at least to meet the costs of an alternative academic appointment on a fixed-term basis. Generally, this will be equivalent to a level B academic, bearing the reallocated teaching component of a teaching and research work allocation, with expenditure for this purpose allowed under the terms and conditions of the funding. 

(32) Teaching in the discipline area remains a minimum allocation of 20%, with exceptions at the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

(33) A minimum level of Leadership and Engagement is expected at an allocation of 10%.

Clinical Academics

(34) A Clinical Academic refers to those academic staff members who are defined under the NSW Health Policy Directive Clinical Academics Employed in the NSW Health Service.

(35) A Clinical Academic will be engaged by both the University of Newcastle and NSW Health. 

(36) The Clinical Academic’s appointment with NSW Health will contribute to the University's Leadership and Engagement domain of the Clinical Academic and will generally be 20% of a staff member’s work allocation.

(37) The remaining allocation of work will be split between the teaching and learning, and research and innovation domains and will be defined based on personal circumstances, strengths, institutional need, and professional interests.

Industry and Clinical Educator 

(38) An Industry and Clinical Educator work profile is designed to support an academic staff member balance their external industry or clinical employment and the delivery of contemporary industry or clinical education in university undergraduate/postgraduate programs.

(39) Planning and performance goals will reflect the academic staff member’s industry and clinical education focus. 

(40) Generally, an Industry and Clinical Educator does not have work allocation in the Research and Innovation and/or Leadership and Engagement domains, except where approved by Head of School (or equivalent).

Top of Page

Section 6 - Work Allocation Requirements

(41) The process undertaken to set, review, and report academic work allocations must meet the following requirements:

Requirement 1: The allocation of work will occur in a fair and equitable manner

(42) The allocation of work will consider factors as outlined in the University Enterprise Agreement which includes, but is not limited to,

  1. the level and type of academic appointment;
  2. alignment with agreed Academic Planning and Performance goals;
  3. time fraction (FTE);
  4. leave plans;
  5. approved Special Studies Program;
  6. carer’s responsibilities;
  7. disabilities; and
  8. wellbeing, health, and safety of the academic staff member.

(43) Reasonable adjustment to allocations will be made for student numbers, course components, and marking relative to complexity, as well as units of study.

(44) Course Co-ordinators must also teach into the course that they are responsible for coordinating (or where shared, contribute to teaching will be proportionally distributed).

(45) The teaching and course coordination of large and/or first year courses should be rotated, generally every three years, at the discretion of the Head of School.

Requirement 2. The allocation of work will be appropriately transparent

(46) All academic staff work allocation details will be entered into a single University-wide IT system and reported annually.

(47) Academic staff will have access to de-identified work allocation data at the School level.

(48) Allocations will be entered into the system by the relevant School from September to December of the preceding year and reviewed and updated as required across the academic calendar year.

(49) Work will be allocated in line with the requirements set out in the University Enterprise Agreement, the Work Allocation for Academic Staff Policy and this document. The availability and existence of key Leadership and Engagement roles (e.g. Program Convenor, SACO) will be advised to all academic staff within the relevant area.

Requirement 3: The allocation of work will support both the needs of the University and individual considerations of staff members’ performance development plan.

(50) The annual work plan of an academic staff member will be agreed between an academic staff member and Head of School (or equivalent). Allocations in the annual work plan will be aligned to University strategy and include consideration of the academic staff member’s academic work profile and career aspirations. Planning and performance goals will reflect the allocations in the work plan for an individual academic staff member and will be reviewed at least annually.

Requirement 4: The allocation of leadership and engagement roles will be consistent across the institution

(51) All academic staff are to be allocated a baseline 10% of their FTE (or fraction) for leadership and engagement activities. This time relates to activities that have been explicitly assigned and/or are recognised by the Head of School (or equivalent) as enhancing the University's profile locally, nationally, and/or internationally. This includes, but is not limited to, contributing to governance activities that benefit the organisational unit (School, College, Institute, University) and/or the standing of the discipline, nationally or internationally.

(52) Key leadership roles that are allocated will be determined on a School-by-School basis based on the complexity of the role, taking into consideration aspects such as the number of staff and students, campuses, programmes. Examples of significant roles and allocation guidance are included in Table One below.

(53) College-level leadership roles, are exempted from this standard approach to the allocation of work. The Pro Vice-Chancellor shall determine the work allocation in consultation with the academic staff member and relevant Head of School, taking account of the requirements of the appointment as per the Pro Vice-Chancellors, Assistant Deans and Other College Officers Policy.

(54) Leadership and Engagement roles will be rotated on a regular basis, generally every two to three years.

(55) Project and consultancy activities may be allocated in the same way as a key leadership role, for a limited period, where academic staff are leading industry engagement through the execution of strategically-aligned project and consultancy work. This will apply to work delivered through the University and through university-controlled entities, and is subject to the approval of the Head of School (or equivalent).  Work must be executed in accordance with the Commercial Activity Guidelines and the Project and Consultancy Revenue Procedure.

Table One: Leadership and Engagement Allocations

Base 10% Leadership and Engagement + Up to 10% + Up to 20% + Up to 30%
Activities that have been explicitly assigned and/or are recognised by the Head of School (or equivalent) such as:
a. participation in University governance (i.e. committees), administration, graduations, recruitment events and activities at the School, College and/or University level;
b. participation in industry and community engagement activities relevant to discipline/profession expertise - including, media interviews / commentary, involvement in the education or governance of community organisations.
Chair / Member of University Committee Discipline / Cluster Lead Deputy Head of School
SACO  Program Convenor (inc. Clinical and Deputy Program Convenor)  
HDR Convenor / Coordinator    
Placement Coordinator (inc., PEU Convenor)    
Special Projects (Accreditation, major course redesign)    

Requirement 5: The allocation of teaching will occur through a focus on planned outcomes rather than activity inputs   

(56) It is the responsibility of the Head of School (or equivalent) to ensure that allacademic staff have been consulted in respect to the allocation of work within the relevant academic work allocation profile to set benchmarks for performance standards. Academic staff members are responsible for actively participating in performance and planning discussions. 

(57) Work allocation is focused on planned outcomes rather than activity inputs. The expectation of a Teaching and Research academic, on average, is four courses across a calendar year.  Generally, depending on course size and complexity, the maximum courses an academic would take in a calendar year is eight, and the minimum is two.   

(58)  A course includes all elements of the delivery of the course regardless of delivery mode. Elements of a course can include, but are not limited to: course coordination, lecturing, tutorial delivery, laboratories, marking, checking for plagiarism and moderation activities (as required), student consultation and support, and evaluation of student outcomes. Where materials are carried over from previous years, they must be updated annually. 

(59)  The Head of School must use discretion to increase or decrease the allocation of courses depending on student enrolments, complexity, and the individual school context, with due consideration given to first-time taught and first-time offered courses.

(60) While there is no specific variation to reflect scale (ie: 10 unit, 20 unit, or 40 unit) or level (undergraduate, honours, or postgraduate), it is expected that the Head of School (or equivalent) will reflect on any additional assessment requirements in the mix of courses allocated.

(61) End-on honours supervision is in addition to the allocation of two to eight courses. Supervision per student is based on a localised standard, but should constitute no more than 10% of the overall FTE in total (not per student).

(62) It is recognised that the proposed allocation must be used as a general guide to assist discussions, with the opportunity for staff members and the Head of School (or equivalent) to discuss allocations more suitable for their own context, and to allow for continual opportunities for innovation.

(63) Where multidisciplinary teaching is in the interest of student learning outcomes and experience and/or there are large, time-intensive courses, team teaching may occur.

(64) For courses where team teaching occurs, the Head of School (or equivalent) will make an adjustment to reflect the collaboration. 

(65) Courses taught simultaneous in a term under different course codes – for example, undergraduate courses re-badged as postgraduate courses – are treated as one course.

(66) The same course taught at a different location in the same term may, but is not required to be treated as a separate course to acknowledge the additional time requirements related to traveling, coordinating, teaching, and administering components at different campuses.

(67) Placement and Fieldwork courses should be treated as one course.

(68) Special projects, such as offshore teaching, development of new programs, leading discipline/program reviews and/or accreditation activities, may be deemed equivalent to one course at the discretion of the Head of School (or equivalent). 

Requirement of 6: The allocation of research will be standardised across the institution, in relation to the profiles, with minimum levels of research performance set at the School level as a performance threshold that must be met for Teaching and Research academics

(69) Academic staff in a Teaching and Research profile are generally provided with a 40% allocation for research

(70) Academic staff in Research Intensive profiles are expected to achieve outcomes that substantially exceed the research performance of a Teaching and Research academic within their School and/or College.

(71) Academic staff in Teaching Intensive profiles are expected to pursue research related to pedagogical practice and/or for the purpose of delivering research-informed teaching by remaining current within the relevant discipline. Research outcomes are therefore reflected both in the scholarship of teaching and in innovative practices in pedagogy. 

(72) This is an investment in the individual academic staff member’s research capacity to produce quality outcomes.

(73) The Head of School (or equivalent) is responsible for ensuring that each school has and maintains Minimum Levels of Research Performance guidelines against this 40% allocation within a Teaching and Research profile. These are bare minimum outcomes, with the expectation that quantity and quality will be met and surpassed. Academic staff who fail to meet the Minimum Levels of Research Performance may be considered research inactive and placed on a Performance Improvement Plan.

Top of Page

Section 7 - Review and Reporting 

(74) The Head of School (or equivalent) is responsible for monitoring changes in activities performed and the related impact on the academic work allocation profile. Academic staff members are responsible for reporting any variations in their activities that change their academic work allocation profile. 

(75) The Head of School (or delegate) and academic staff member will meet at least annually to discuss work allocation.

(76) If an academic staff member believes that their work allocation is excessive, unreasonable, or inconsistent with this Procedure, and/ or the Work Allocation for Academic Staff Policy they are able to request a review of the work allocation with their Head of School (or equivalent) to seek amendments. If any issues are unresolved after such discussions, the academic staff member may raise their concerns with the relevant College Pro Vice-Chancellor or their nominee. 

(77) Should the matter remain unresolved, the Academic Work Allocation Panel comprising of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Excellence), the Chief People and Culture Officer, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Leadership and President Academic Senate can be requested to be convened by the academic staff member to review the College and/or School academic work allocation, on an as needed basis to ensure fairness, transparency and, equity.  An academic staff member may also seek to have their work allocation reviewed through the Inquiry Officer, as outlined in the Academic Staff and Teachers Enterprise Agreement.

(78) Each School will ensure that the academic work allocation information is published, maintained, and reviewed in the University-wide IT system. Work allocation will be reviewed at least annually by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will review College and/or School level academic work allocation(s) to assess adherence to the three key principles of fairness, transparency and, equity. The Executive Committee will also review trends, asses financial viability and undertake comparisons between programs and courses.