Teaching Workload Taskforce

Message from the Dean: Teaching Workload Taskforce – Final report and recommendations

In April this year I established a Teaching Workload Taskforce to examine the current application of the teaching workload model to determine the impact on staff and students.

The Taskforce comprised:

  • David Gurr, Associate Dean Staffing (Chair)
  • Larissa McLean Davies, Associate Dean Learning and Teaching
  • Jan van Driel, Associate Dean Research
  • Keryn Negri, Executive Director.

I asked the Taskforce to report to me in July 2019.

The Taskforce engaged the consultancy firm Wells Advisory to undertake an independent review of the teaching workloads at MGSE, examine other workload models at Go8 universities, and review staff management and support arrangements.

Many of you have had an opportunity to meet with the team at Wells Advisory as they conducted a number of consultancy sessions with early and mid-career staff, cognate leaders, and coordinators. They also interviewed a selection of research centre directors and developed a staff survey that received 67 responses, a majority of these from Level B academics. The process has been as comprehensive as possible given the tight time frames.

The Wells Advisory report is available on the Intranet.

The MGSE Executive considered the report’s recommendations at our meeting last Tuesday where we accepted all of the report’s recommendations, noting that some of the recommendations can be implemented in readiness for teaching allocations for 2020 while other recommendations will take more time to fully implement.

Recommendation 1 suggests that the teaching allocation model should be expanded to reflect the full range of academic activities including research, teaching and leadership and service expectations aligned to MGSE’s Academic Performance Framework. The draft Academic Performance Framework is nearing completion and will provide the basis for a consolidated workload allocation model. This work will take time and careful modelling.

There are a number of other recommendations, such as Recommendation 1.3 that suggests adjusting the current allocation model to recognise scale and complexity. This adjustment to the model can be implemented relatively quickly.  Other recommendations that can be acted on quickly in readiness for the 2020 teaching year include 1.2, 1.4, and Recommendations 2, 3 and 4. The Associate Dean Staffing will have responsibility for attending to these recommendations.

Other recommendations, such as recommendations 5 and 6 suggest a review of all low enrolment courses and subjects and all 6.25 subjects to ensure they are not putting additional pressures on teaching workloads. This can be reviewed in 2020.

Recommendations 7 and 8 refer to MGSE’s current structure and the interdependencies of cognate groups, research centres, program coordinators and research hubs. While the review found that Cognate Groups are highly valued, it also found some staff are unclear as to who they should liaise with if they were having issues with managing their workload. I am arranging to meet with Cognate Group leaders in the first instance to discuss ways to improve on the current structure.

Building on the implementation plan outlined in the Report, David Gurr and Keryn Negri will develop a more detailed plan that will be closely monitored by the MGSE Executive.

I am committed to continuing to build an equitable workplace culture that lays a strong foundation for us all to be successful in our roles as teachers, researchers and leaders. Implementing the recommendations in this report will go some way to achieving this outcome.

I would like to thank you all for your participation in the review. The level of staff engagement in this process has been really positive and has resulted in a useful and constructive report.

The next round of Staff Dialogues scheduled for August will provide another opportunity for me to discuss the outcomes of the work of the Taskforce and the recommendations in the report.