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Teaching and Professional Work Function Guidelines - Professional Activity Workload

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) These guidelines have been developed to help Teaching and Professional staff and the Head of School/supervisor negotiate agreed work activities and target outcomes pertaining to the Professional Activity component of academic workloads.


(2) These guidelines apply to Teaching and Professional academic staff on a continuing or fixed term appointment and Head of Schools/supervisors.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(3) Nil.

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Section 3 - Policy

(4) Refer to the Teaching and Professional Work Function Policy - Professional Activity .

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Section 4 - Procedures

(5) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines


(6) The Teaching and Professional work function was introduced into the University in response to a number of external and internal drivers that required the University to review how it categorised, supported, recognised and rewarded academic staff with very different work profiles. It is one of the work functions available for academic staff within the University.

(7) The Teaching and Professional work function particularly recognises the University's objective to "shape the future of the professions", and values the significant proportion of staff who come as highly skilled professionals to academic life and serve the University well by focusing on leadership and partnerships with the professions.

Planning Professional Activity Workloads

(8) When planning Professional Activity workloads, and setting standards of performance, the broader University policy environment needs to be considered.

(9) As with research, a Professional Activity workload may be negotiated with the Head of School/supervisor across the year or during the non-teaching session.

(10) Staff and Head of Schools/supervisors will discuss proposed activities, outcomes and workload allocation for these activities/projects during the staff member's probation workload discussions or after probation during the annual Employee Development and Review meeting.

(11) All activities/projects should have tangible outcomes that are deemed to be of importance/benefit to the School/discipline.

(12) Activities/projects already counted for the Teaching workload allocation cannot be counted again in the Professional Activity workload.

(13) Where activities (e.g. course reviews) that are normally counted in the Teaching workload are substantial in workload, a Head of School/supervisor may request or agree to a staff member counting these activities in the Professional Activity workload instead of the Teaching workload.

Scope of Activities within Professional Activity Workload

(14) Each activity/project or set of activities/outcomes undertaken within University workload allocations needs to have direct benefit to the strategic work of the University, in terms of its teaching, workplace learning, course profile and/or areas of research strength. Areas of work linked directly to the work of a Centre, discipline, School or Faculty, undertaken individually or in groups, would receive high priority.

(15) Professional activities that could form a component of the Teaching and Professional workload, either singly or in combination, include the following categories. The amount of time allocated is dependent on scope, scale, quality, contribution, outcome and impact, and will be determined by the Head of School/supervisor in consultation with the staff member at the Employee Development and Review meeting.

Category 1: Professional consultancies and partnerships, and leadership of Continuing Professional Development

(16) Category 1 activities include:

  1. Completion of an approved consultancy, partnership, or leadership of Continuing Professional Development, as defined by and agreed with the Head of School/supervisor;

(17) As necessary, these should be registered as Outside Professional Activities or supported by evidence from other data bases. As this work is by definition within load, any income generated is "School" income. Outside Professional Activities should demonstrate advanced (not routine) practice in a field relevant to the staff member's discipline. These activities can be seen as a form of "return to industry" to enhance currency, develop advanced skills, share professional expertise and foster professional linkages.

  1. Transferring/applying new professional knowledge to members of the profession and the broader community through publications, seminars, conferences, websites, etc;
  2. Developing, leading and/or evaluating continuing professional education;
  3. External professional reviews;
  4. Contribution to the development and improvement of policy and practice through involvement in professional/industry associations, accreditation authorities, conference organisations, advisory bodies, and national or international delegations.

Category 2: Professional practice outside the University

(18) Category 2 activities include:

  1. Engaging in professional practice in a discipline or field (registered under Outside Professional Activities as part of a workload) for the purposes of improving/transforming professional practice and feeding back into teaching and/or practice across the profession;

(19) Note: Professional practice can only be counted in the staff member's University workload if it is unpaid or if the income received is paid to the University;

  1. Engaging in professional practice in a discipline or field (registered under Outside Professional Activities as part of a workload), which demonstrates the maintenance or development of significant advanced practice skills or improves/transforms practices within the profession AND which informs teaching. Professional practice activities can be seen as a form of "return to industry" to enhance currency, develop advanced skills, share professional expertise and foster professional linkages.

Category 3: Professional activities linked to knowledge development and problem solving

(20) Category 3 activities include:

  1. Research with, for and about the profession and about professional practice;
  2. Projects relating to the identification of professional practice problems and the development of strategies to address these problems;
  3. Projects relating to the critical evaluation and enhancement of practice;
  4. Collaborations with research colleagues and professions/industries/businesses to facilitate "knowledge transfer" or "problem identification" and/or act as "brokers" between research teams and professional industries; and/or work as critical friends in professional/industry workplaces to enable practitioners to produce new knowledge through action research, evaluation studies or other project work in the workplace;
  5. Authorship/editorship of:
    1. A refereed/peer reviewed textbook or a subsequent revised edition, published in the individual's professional field;
    2. A chapter that relates to professional practice in a refereed/peer reviewed textbook, or an entry that relates to professional practice in a reputable encyclopedia;
    3. A research publication or a commissioned/published report that relates to professional practice;
    4. Authorship of an extended article in a professional journal or other professional publication; and
    5. A refereed book/textbook/book series/major report that relates to professional practice.

Category 4: Projects that enhance curricula

(21) Normally projects that enhance curricula would be counted in the Teaching workload. However, with the agreement of, or invitation from, the Head of School/supervisor, larger projects of particular benefit to the School or discipline could be counted in the Professional Activity workload of a staff member. These could include:

  1. Projects that advance knowledge/skills/practice in practice-based learning and/or workplace learning;
  2. Projects that advance knowledge/skills/practice of workplace learning educators who work with the University's students;
  3. Conducting subject re-engineering to make subjects more relevant to contemporary professional practice;
  4. Working with industry partners to ensure the relevance of curricula to practice and industry developments;
  5. Reviewing workplace learning subjects and experiences to ensure these learning experiences are relevant to contemporary professional practice and workplaces;
  6. Investigating and expanding innovations in workplace learning to address issues (e.g. limited placement availability) and opportunities (e.g. new workplaces, web 2.0 technologies) that can impact on the quality of workplace learning;
  7. Developing workplace learning simulations and alternatives;
  8. Developing strategies that utilise e-learning strategies (particularly online and mobile learning) to complement and enhance workplace and practice-based learning; and
  9. Conducting professional development activities (e.g. workshops) for workplace learning educators.

(22) Where larger and/or more complex projects are date contingent, Head of Schools/supervisors and staff members may need to negotiate the timing of teaching and non-teaching sessions.

Category 5: Projects that investigate practice and university teaching/curricula

(23) Projects that investigate practice and university teaching/curricula may be included in the Professional Activity workload of a staff member, with the agreement of, or invitation from, the Head of School/supervisor.

  1. Investigating the nature of professional practice as the basis for framing curricula;
  2. Investigating advances and changing patterns of professional practice, work and workplaces to provide input to curricula and learning experiences; and
  3. Investigating and improving university teaching.

Category 6: Engaging in postgraduate studies

(24) Staff on probation may be required to complete two units in the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. The workload associated with these studies is counted in the Administration workload.

(25) If staff wish to complete additional Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education subjects or subjects in the Graduate Certificate in University Leadership and Management, they may seek approval from their Head of School/supervisor to include these studies in their Professional Activity workload.

(26) Teaching and Professional staff may seek reclassification to the Teaching and Research work function if they wish to complete Doctor of Philosophy or Higher Degree Research studies in a relevant field. This should be discussed with their Head of School/supervisor.

Activities Not Normally Counted in the Professional Activity Workload

(27) The following group of activities may be counted, but would not normally be approved as a major focus of a Professional Activity workload, either singly or in combination.

  1. Maintaining Continuing Professional Development requirements for relevant professional registration/accreditation;
  2. Contribution to and outputs from membership of Professional Boards or Committees of regional, national or international significance, or an organising committee for a local, regional, national or international professional conference;
  3. A contributing member of an editorial board of an international or national journal, or a publication series relevant to the individual's profession;
  4. Referee articles, abstracts and/or conference proceedings for professional conferences; and
  5. Review material for publication in professional publications or of grant proposals for academic and/or professional reviewing bodies (e.g. Professional Associations).

Support for Professional Activity through the Division of Learning and Teaching

(28) There are opportunities to focus on Professional Activity and work with the Division of Learning and Teaching through Teaching Fellowship programs and collaborative projects. In keeping with the University's aim to enhance practice- based education, these activities can be focused on:

  1. Gaining knowledge and skills about practice to inform and enhance practice-based education;
  2. Enhancing workplace learning and the teaching abilities of workplace educators; and
  3. Enhancing the teaching practices of University educators.