The 15 November 2006 Academic Board approved a new Academic Career Development Scheme (formerly known as appraisal). The new Scheme was implemented from Summer term 2007. TLC conducted a series of briefings to departmental meetings during the Lent term 2007, the purpose of which was to inform members of staff how to get the best out of the new career development scheme and to give guidance to those conducting the career development meetings. Any department wishing to be briefed on the aims and purposes of the Scheme should contact Dr Liz Barnett.
Principles Guiding the Academic Career Development Scheme
Academic staff are expected to be pro-active in managing their own careers. However the School and senior staff also have a responsibility to ensure that the appropriate support is in place.
The Academic Career Development Scheme (ACDS) has been designed to reflect the School's commitment to ensuring that staff receive the best possible advice in relation to their career and professional development, noting that the knowledge, skills and experience required to move successfully to the next career stage may not be the same as those required to achieve the current position.
The CDM provides a space for broad reflection on further development needs in relation to longer term career planning. The meeting is not intended to replace regular informal meetings between staff and heads of unit.
The Career Development Scheme should serve the needs of individual academics, enable Heads of Department to manage staff promotions and reviews, and in that context, flag at an early stage any issues of possible concern to the Promotions Committee.
The aim of the scheme is to ensure proactive support, mentoring and career guidance for staff throughout their academic careers. It is intended to encourage a willingness to recognise both strengths and weaknesses, and to facilitate provision of institutional support, if necessary, in a timely fashion.
The scheme is intended to be efficient but light in touch, forward-looking, and not excessively bureaucratic.
The ACD Process
The process will involve the following stages:
The preparation by the member of staff of a brief career development statement.
A career development meeting (CDM).
The co-production of a career development report (CDR) summarising agreed action points, signed off by the individual, the Head of Department/Reviewer and the Mentor.
The CDR will be forwarded electronically to HR for monitoring by the VCAC and the back page to TLC to arrange developmental support.
In the following paragraphs, stages 1-4 are elaborated in more detail.
The career development statement will provide the member of staff with the opportunity to provide a rounded and self-evaluative statement of their activities over the last review period and plans for the next.
The CDM is intended to support a constructive two-way discussion of progress, strengths and development areas, as well as sharing of future plans, on the basis of a review of past achievements and experience.
Within the framework of headings for discussion, the scheme is deliberately non-prescriptive about the detail to be covered in the CDM. Departments are free to tailor the CDM discussion to suit the individual's career stage.
The use of a CV in the standard School template is recommended, as staff will also use this format for Interim and Major Review and if applying for promotion. Use of the standard template is not, however, a prerequisite for completing the Report and the Meeting.
The CDMs will be conducted by Heads of Department or by senior members of academic staff nominated by the Head of Department. For Heads of Department themselves, their Reviewer may usefully be their predecessor in role, another member of the Department who has had experience as a Head, or the Head of another department. Alternatively, the TLC may be able to arrange a meeting with an outside consultant.
In advance of a meeting with a junior member of staff. the Reviewer should seek the views of the reviewee's Mentor.
The CDMs will normally be conducted across the Summer Term, and in the summer vacation if necessary. The rationale of the career development meeting will be to agree a plan for the member of staff to build a well-rounded CV showing developing capabilities across teaching, research, administration, and external activities, taking account of the individual's career stage and building on what has already been achieved.
It is envisaged that the CDM will normally be a single meeting.
In framing the discussion, reference should be made as appropriate to the relevant Role Profile for the current grade and prospectively for the next.
Pre- and immediately post-Major Review
The meeting should ensure that staff are aware of departmental and School priorities, that they have appropriate mentoring arrangements, and a workload that allows for their development towards MR and then promotion, as well as a thorough understanding of what is required for successful career progression.
The meeting may need to concentrate more on maintaining a clearly focused research strategy leading to high-quality outputs, on curriculum development and innovation, on improving teaching scores, on extending and developing service to the department and the School, and on building a stronger external profile. Sabbatical leave plans and grant applications may also benefit from discussion. This is a time when personal issues such as parental leave and elder care, sickness and disability may particularly affect career planning. and should be discussed sensitively in the CDM. HR can provide support and guidance on such issues. The next promotion step is also likely to feature at this stage.
For Senior Staff
The CDM will provide an opportunity, in addition to those issues covered in mid-career, for discussion of the reviewee's current and future contribution to leadership in the department and in the School.Guidance to and mentoring of junior and mid-career staff may feature. The balance of workload and planning to enhance some activities relative to others may also be discussed, taking into account the pressures on the department. New initiatives are likely to be a significant topic at this stage, as well as future career planning at the School and/or beyond.
The member of staff conducting the CDM and the individual concerned will produce a brief summary of the agreed action points arising from the CDM. The agreed action points will be recorded on the CDR.
In cases where agreement cannot be reached, points of contention and rebuttals will be noted in a supplementary document.
The complete record will be forwarded electronically to Human Resources, signed off by the HoD/Reviewer, the Mentor (if applicable), and the member of staff. Where the agreed actions include development and training points, the final page will be copied in the Department and forwarded to TLC, who will then contact staff directly to make appropriate arrangements.
Training needs arising from the CDR
TLC has produced a checklist of training opportunities provided in the School to act as an aide-mémoire for discussion of training needs arising from the CDR. Research Division can also provide advice on support for grant applications and details of opportunities for involvement in professional bodies, particularly for senior members of staff seeking to enhance their external profile. It is assumed that members of staff and Heads of Department will be proactive in contacting TLC and Research Division in these matters.
Relationship to promotion and review
The CDRs are envisaged as a means to various ends, not as ends in themselves. For reviewees they should lead to greater clarity about School and departmental expectations regarding career progression. For Heads of Department and other professorial colleagues, the CDRs will provide a helpful input to promotion and review proposals. And for the School as a whole, they will help to demonstrate that active career planning is taken seriously.
Frequency of CDMs
Career-track Lecturers (including part-time)
In the early stages of an academic career, guidance to support career progression is required regularly. Thus, for members of staff pre-Major Review and through the first five years post-Major Review or until promotion, whichever is the sooner, CDMs should be held on an annual basis.
After that time CDMs should take place on a biennial basis, and on a triennial basis for Professors (departments are free to continue to hold CDMs on an annual basis if they so wish). In order to promote and implement the Scheme across the academic community, it is essential that professorial staff set an example by regularly undertaking their own CDMs.
Temporary lecturers and LSE Fellows should be given the same opportunities for career development advice as career-track lecturers. Thus, it follows that for temporary lecturers and LSE Fellows (regardless of the length of contract) there should be an annual CDM.
Mentoring Guidelines for newly-appointed Academic Staff
The Promotions Committee considers the role of the Mentor to be of vital significance in ensuring that newly-appointed academic staff receive constructive advice on career development from senior academic colleagues. All career-track lecturers, temporary lecturers and LSE Fellows, regardless of length of contract, should be assigned a Mentor by their Head of Department.
The substance of the mentoring relationship is set out in the mentoring guidelines for newly appointed Academic Staff.
Note: the mentoring guidelines are under review by TLC in the 2011-2012 academic session.
Embedding the new scheme
TLC will include briefing sessions on the Scheme at academic induction, and at the new HoDs' induction. TLC and HR will work together to develop short support sessions to be delivered at departmental or group events, and to incorporate skills training for those less confident or experienced in this type of conversation.
Monitoring and review
1. The VCAC, in conjunction with HR, will keep the ACD Scheme under review and report annually on its implementation and effectiveness to the Appointments Committee.
2. Where the VCAC is concerned about a particular academic's progress towards Interim/Major Review, the CDRs or information derived from them, may be presented to the Promotions Committee. The Promotions Committee may then advise the VCAC to discuss with the Head of Department the steps that should be taken to ensure successful progress towards Interim/Major Review. It is assumed that such action would be infrequent and would be initiated only when in the interests of the staff member in question. This should be seen in the context of the School's commitment to ensure that all academic staff receive the best possible advice in relation to career development.
3. The Form will normally be seen only by the member of staff, their Reviewer and Mentor, and the VCAC for monitoring purposes. The Agreed Actions, if they include development and training recommendations, will be seen by TLC. In the event of an issue at Interim or Major Review, or Promotions, the VCAC may make the CDRs available to Promotions Committee.