New Lecturer/Teacher Development Procedures

1. Introduction

1. Introduction

The University Appointment Procedures for Academic Staff provide that the Appointing Committee shall consider the period of probation served elsewhere when recommending the period of probation to be served at this University.

The purpose of probation is to ensure that a new lecturer/teacher has an opportunity of familiarising him or herself with the academic environment; it also provides the University with an opportunity of ensuring that the lecturer/teacher is capable of undertaking the work for which he or she has been employed. It is essential that the probationary period is of a realistic length, the objectives and targets set during probation must be achievable and the lecturer/teacher will not be confirmed in post if his or her performance is unsatisfactory.

The Head of School/RI is responsible for: the lecturer/teacher's progress during the period of probation; making arrangements for the appointment of a mentor; ensuring that the probationary lecturer/teacher is familiarised with the operation of the School/RI and is provided with the opportunity of attending such courses as are required; and for ensuring that such remedial steps are taken as may be necessary to improve the probationer's performance. (see 5. Below)

Probationary Lecturers have the option to be represented at any meeting with the NLTDG by a Trade Union representative or a work colleague.

This policy incorporates the principle of Academic Freedom by which it is understood that members of staff involved in academic work have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom and to put forward new ideas and controversial opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges. No action should be taken in connection with this policy if the effect of the action would be to contravene the academic freedom of any member of academic staff.

2. General principles governing probation

2. General principles governing probation

a) Lecturers/Teachers, on appointment, shall be required to serve a period of probation; exceptionally Senior Lecturers/Teachers may be required to serve a period of probation, particularly but not exclusively when they have had no previous university experience. The period of probation, will be three or four years (four years for post holders who do not have much research experience). Should the Head of School/RI wish the probationary period to be reduced, he/she would require to make a separate case to the Convener of the Appointing Committee.

b) Staff who are on fixed term contracts are required to start the normal probationary period as if it is for 3 years, in case of an extension to the contract.  If the contract is extended, Staff in this category will just move to the next year of probation or continue with outstanding objectives from the current year.

c) Prior to the completion of the probationary period a probationer maybe promoted to lecturer Grade 8 or Senior University Teacher, however, any outstanding probationary reports will still be due for submission.

d) The probationary period for staff taking up appointment shall be deemed to be effective from the appointment start date;  Annual reports will be due for submission on the anniversary of this start date.

e) In certain exceptional circumstances, the NLTDG may vary the terms of the procedures set out below, particularly where there has been an extended period of absence for whatever reason, eg personal reasons, maternity leave etc. In such circumstances it is recommended that the overall objectives and annual targets have an proportionate extension of the assessment period.

f) On any occasion on which the performance of a probationer is being discussed formally with him or her, he or she may be accompanied by a colleague or a member of the recognised trade union.

3. Procedures

3. Procedures

a) Prior to the probationer's taking up, or immediately upon, his or her appointment, the Head of School/RI shall appoint a mentor, who shall normally be a senior member of Academic Staff who has completed probation. The Head of School/RI shall:

·         agree with the probationer overall objectives in terms of teaching, research and administration which will have to be achieved in order that probation may be satisfactorily completed, and advise the mentor accordingly; these objectives will have regard to the context in which the appointment was made;

·         ensure that the probationer and the mentor understand the role of the latter which is to meet regularly with the probationer to discuss progress, to review targets set, to offer professional advice, and to draw to the attention of the Head of School/RI any difficulties encountered by the probationer in the performance of his or her duties;

·         forward details to the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group within 3 months of the lecturer/teacher taking up appointment, on which the Committee may comment.

These overall objectives and progress towards them will be the subject of annual report at the end of each year when objectives for the following year will be set. Reports will be submitted on the appropriate form. Where the changing needs of the School/RI require a change in the objectives to be realised during the probationary period, the agreement of the probationer will be obtained and the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group will be informed.

b) At the time when the final report is submitted objectives will be set which will be the subject of your first Performance and Development Review (P&DR).  The University requires evidence of sustained performance and satisfactory progress towards completion of academic probation within the required timescale.  This evidence will be gathered via annual probation reports which will capture full details of the objectives set each year and will track progress.  Whilst on academic probation the P&DR process is not required to be completed, your objectives and targets will be captured in your annual report submissions.

c) The New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group may consider a recommendation by the Head of School/RI that, exceptionally, a probationer be confirmed in his or her appointment before the end of the designated probationary period. There will be no appeal against an adverse decision of the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group in this matter.

d) Where, during the second of three years of probation or the third of four years of probation, a report of unsatisfactory performance from the Head of School/RI is received, or if the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group reviewing the cases considers that such a recommendation should have been made, the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group shall establish a Sub-Committee comprising three of its members to meet with the probationer, the Head of School/RI and the mentor to consider whether the report is substantiated and, if so, to recommend such remedial or other action as may be necessary. The findings of the Sub-Committee shall be recorded and forwarded to the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group which, in turn, shall convey the outcome to the probationer. If, in the following year, a report of unsatisfactory performance is received or if the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group reviewing the cases considers that such a recommendation should have been made and the recommendation is substantiated to the satisfaction of the HR Sub-Committee (Academic & Related Staff) (which shall have received a report from a Sub-Committee constituted as above), the appointment will be terminated subject to the probationer's right of appeal. This procedure applies only at the end of the period of probationary service. Any earlier termination would have to be processed under other relevant provisions of the model statute eg. Academic Disciplinary Procedure.

e) The New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group, on receiving the report of the probationer's progress during the final year of probation, shall:

·         confirm the appointment;

·         terminate the appointment where an unsatisfactory report has been received for two years;

·         extend the period of probation for a fourth and final year in the case of three year probationary periods and for a fifth and final year where the probationary period is for four years, providing the probationer has not previously received an unsatisfactory report.

f) Where an extension of the period of probation or termination of the appointment is under consideration, the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group shall provide two of its members, who  have not been involved in consideration of the probationer's performance and the convenor of the committee for consistency, under the terms of para (d) above, to meet separately with the probationer, the Head of School/RI and the mentor to consider the matter and to report to the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group. The New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group shall determine the matter on the basis of the report submitted; it may seek such further information as may be necessary for a decision to be reached, including interviews with the probationer, Head of School/RI and mentor. Thereafter, the HR Manager will give full written reasons for the decision.

g) Where unsatisfactory performance is being investigated and an interview has been set up, in accordance with sections d)-f) above, the Human Resources Manager, for the relevant territory, will attend the interview and contribute to the decision-making process.

h) A probationer may appeal against a decision either that probation be extended for a fourth or fifth year as detailed in e) (iii) above or that the appointment be terminated as detailed in e(ii). Such an appeal shall be to the Director of Human Resources within ten working days of receipt of the decision.

4. Learning and Teaching Centre

4. Learning and Teaching Centre

All New Lecturers/Teachers on formal probation are required to undertaken and successfully to complete the New Lecturer/Teacher Programme (NLTP) offered by the Learning and Teaching Centre. Successful completion of this programme leads to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

Should a Head of School/RI wish to seek exemption or partial exemption for a member of probationary staff from the NLTP, they will need to follow the approved Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines which can be accessed at Any such decision does not affect the length of probation to be served.

5. Appeal arrangements

5. Appeal arrangements

a) The member of staff may appeal in writing, on either substantive or procedural grounds, to the Director of Human Resources, within ten days of receipt of the decision of the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group to extend the period of probation (para 3 (g)) or to terminate the appointment (para 3 (d) or para 3 (g)).

b) The Director of Human Resources shall convene an Appeal Committee comprising:

·         a Convenor jointly agreed between the University and UCUG, who shall be a former Senate Assessor or a former member of the NLTDG;

·         a nominee of UCUG;

·         a lay member of the University Court.

No member of the Appeal Committee shall have been party to the earlier discussion or decision.

c) The Appeal Committee shall determine its procedures and make parties aware of such, including the calling of witnesses. The Committee shall hear evidence from all relevant parties individually if necessary, which a probationer will have the opportunity to comment and the Clerk to the Committee will record all evidence.

d) Where a defect in procedure is sustained, the Appeal Committee shall determine whether it was material to the proper consideration of the case for confirmation; if so, the matter will be referred for reconsideration by the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group or the Appeals Committee can determine what action should be taken; if not, the original decision of the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group will be confirmed. The Committee may comment upon the practices adopted in a particular case and recommend, where appropriate, changes in the procedures.

e) The Appeal Committee shall decide the substantive issue in the instance of an appeal against the extension of probation or the termination of the appointment.

f) Exceptionally after two unsatisfactory years the Appeals Committee decides that an extra year's probation is required, the procedure of review to be adopted will be determined by the Appeals Committee.

6. Informal support

6. Informal support

In the majority of cases new lecturers/teachers are supported fully by their School/RI through the mentoring process. However, where the formal probationary support mechanism is not operating as it should the lecturer/teacher can, through the Clerk, seek further advice from the New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group. However, if the matter is not directly related to the probationary process it should be raised in the first instance with the Human Resources Manager for the relevant territory.

7. Timescales

The New Lecturer/Teacher Development Group meet every two months to assess the objectives and reports submitted.  The Performance, Pay and Reward Team aim to have written confirmation of the outcome within 10 working days of the meeting taking place.

Applications submitted will be sent to the first available meeting (Feb 2016, April 2016, June 2016, August 2016, October 2016, December 2016 – meetings are subject to change).