The Derby experience

Presented by John Hurd
TRAC Manager
Academic Workload Planning
The Derby Experience
Session Outline
Why Change to AWP benefits and process.
Overview of System and current position.
Problems encountered.
How the system grew in complexity.
What can make a planning tool become a
recording tool?
• The Academic Sign Off process.
• Data lock down.
Why Change from TAS?
• The TAS system was unpopular and difficult to
• Collection was in % terms and not readily usable
for any other purpose – a box ticking exercise.
• We didn’t collect by research sponsor type – a
compliance issue, so a change was needed.
• We could “piggy back” on the proposed AWP
project and use stopping TAS as a positive.
Why Change to AWP?
• The Executive wanted to introduce a more
standardised approach to work practices – a
review of the Academic contract was already
• The University was looking to introduce a
standardised workload planning approach.
• The need to cost staff time to activity on a more
accurate basis to better inform financial
performance reporting and resource allocation.
Overview of System and current
System has been live for 4 years to 13/14
It informs staff coding to activity
It delivers TRAC information
Some areas use it as a planning tool
Others see it as a recording tool
It lives within our PS student software
Overview of System and current
position - 2
• System has several tabs that identify activity type
– Classroom teaching
– Non classroom teaching publicly funded
– Non classroom teaching non-publicly funded
– PGR supervision
– Research
– Scholarly activity/additional LTA
– Income generation
– Leadership/ general duties
Overview of System and current
position - 3
• The Managers control data for their staff
• They enter data and validate it with each
individual as part of the DPR.
• Faculty admin set up new academics and link
them to a manager
• Faculty Deans sign off the final outputs
Where are the benefits
• A consistent approach to workload planning
across all Faculties.
• Standard allowances built in to the system help
achieve this.
• Built into the University Student system allowed
access to standard data e.g. module codes.
• To be able to be linked across other systems e.g.
• To replace the TAS system for TRAC.
Process - who was involved
• Sponsored at a senior level – executive member.
• Led by an academic manager (assistant dean) to
emphasise it as an academic system.
• Data identified as owned and used by the
• Involved the unions early and they had a
representative on the project team.
• Finance involvement to ensure TRAC compliance
and nominal coding.
Problems Encountered
• System became over complex particularly:
– Linking to standing tables – module codes and
nominal codes.
– Too many boxes to complete, many not
required by most academics - over detailed.
– Building in controls – limiting views and options
by faculty or individuals.
Problems on Roll Out
• System did not fit other users – lack of early
• The number of boxes increased as each area
added its own specific requirements.
• The overall system ownership and control was not
clearly defined.
• knowledge too centralised.
• Lack of ownership by both faculty and subject
area managers – lacked local support.
• Academics wary of the use of the information.
How a planning tool becomes a
recording tool!
• Not intuitive in terms of allocating load.
• Managers could not easily compare allocations
across staff.
• Local spreadsheets remained active with the
outputs from these used to complete the forms.
• System viewed as complex and time consuming.
• Management use of the data available was
Academic sign off process - 1
• July/August
– Provisional workloads entered by Line
Manager after discussion with individual
academics at DPR (Development &
Performance Review.
– Final sign off for the previous year.
• October/November
– Review actual workloads and changes in
planned activity and update system at DPR.
Academic sign off process - 2
• March/April
– Manager and academic discuss actual work
completed for period 2.
– Agree plan for remainder of the year.
– Agree provisional plan for the following year.
– Managers update individual plans.
Securing the Data – lock down
• Data kept in 3 periods
– Each period has a status
• Provisional
• Agreed
• Delivered
– After each period the data is set to delivered.
– Once set to delivered can only be changed if
finance open the form for amendment.
Questions will be
taken at the
session starting at

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