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Professional Development (Professional Staff) procedure

Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 2 August 2023.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines Deakin's professional development offerings for Professional staff and provides details of the eligibility criteria and approval process for supporting these offerings.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to all Professional staff, excluding casuals.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is pursuant to the Employment of Staff policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(5) There are a number of professional development opportunities available to Professional staff at Deakin. Leaders and staff members are encouraged to discuss these opportunities as part of their DeakinAchieve discussions.

Study support

(6) Staff members are eligible to apply for study support where:

  1. they have been employed with Deakin in a continuing or fixed term role for at least twelve months prior to applying for study support; and
  2. the study is relevant to the staff member's work or career progression at Deakin.
Further information about eligibility criteria is available on the Study Support webpage.

(7) Study support proposals should be discussed and recorded as part of DeakinAchieve conversations. The staff member must submit an Application for Study Support to the Head of Organisational Unit before commencing study. Applications are subject to the written approval of the Head of Organisational Unit who will determine the type and level of support to be provided. Approved study support must be recorded in the staff member’s DeakinAchieve plan and approved application forms must be provided to People Services for recording in DeakinPeople and for reporting purposes. 

(8) To support and encourage the health and wellbeing of staff undertaking work and study, Deakin recommends that staff complete no more than one unit/subject per study period to ensure the staff member can effectively balance work expectations and study loads. Accordingly, study support is capped at one unit/subject per study period.

(9) Study support for courses at external institutions will only be granted if there is evidence of no equivalent course being on offer at Deakin.

(10) Staff may decide to undertake additional units/subjects within the same study period, but study support will be limited to only one unit/subject.

(11) The leader's Assessment Tool in the Study Support form is to be used as a guide for determining the appropriate level of study support to be granted. Study support can include:

  1. unpaid leave and/or flexible working arrangements to meet any travel requirements
  2. up to four (4) hours per week paid leave during normal working hours (and a day for examinations)
  3. reimbursement of course fees up to the yearly maximum amount specified in the following table:
  Course Provider Certificate IV or Higher Bachelor Degree Post Graduate Masters or Higher Yearly Maximum
Non-HELP/HECS related courses Deakin University 60% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 50% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 45% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 40% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum $3000
Non-HELP/HECS related courses Other institution (for courses not offered by Deakin) 50% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 40% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 35% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 30% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum $2000
HELP/HECS related courses Deakin University 40% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 30% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 25% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 20% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum $1300 (per FBT year*)
HELP/HECS related courses Other institution (for courses not offered by Deakin) 30% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 20% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 15% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum 10% of unit costs up to the yearly maximum $1000 (per FBT year*)
    *FBT year is from 1 April to 31 March.

(12) Study support is granted from the organisational unit's budget and will be at the discretion of the Head of Organisational Unit.

(13) Leaders must ensure that the organisational unit can maintain operations during staff absences for study. Study support will not normally be granted if it necessitates the employment of replacement staff, paid overtime or time off in lieu of overtime.

(14) At the end of each study period the staff member must provide their leader with evidence of unit completion. Where a staff member's progress is unsatisfactory, study support will not be continued.

(15) Staff members must submit an application for study support each year.

(16) Where the Head of Organisational Unit has approved study support the staff member must apply for reimbursement via DeakinUniFi within twelve months and must provide:

  1. a receipt of HELP payment or tuition fees paid
  2. evidence of successful completion of each study period’s course of study
  3. proof that the course being undertaken at an external institution is not available at Deakin (refer to Deakin undergraduate and postgraduate courses).

(17) Following completion of the course, the staff member must provide a copy of the completed qualification to People Services for recording in DeakinPeople.


(18) Staff members on continuing or fixed-term (three years or more) appointments may request a secondment to another area within the University, or to another organisation. Further details are outlined in the Secondments, Transfers and Job Rotations Guidelines.

(19) A request for a secondment will require written approval from the Head of the staff member's organisational unit.

(20) For a secondment outside the University, where the University continues to pay the staff member and the staff member has worked in another country for a continuous period of six (6) months or more, the Head of Organisational Unit must advise the Chief People and Culture Officer for payroll tax purposes.

Conference attendance

(21) Professional staff members on a continuing or fixed term (more than 12 months) appointment may, following discussions and with the support of their leader, make a written request to their Head of Organisational Unit to attend a work related conference. Where possible, staff and leaders are encouraged to discuss conference attendance as part of their DeakinAchieve discussions.

(22) Conference attendance is capped at 5 working days per annum for Professional staff, unless further leave is endorsed by their leader and is approved by the member of the Executive responsible for their work area.

(23) Where conference attendance is approved by their Head of Organisational Unit or a member of the Executive, the staff member must enter the conference attendance leave dates (including any approved travel dates) into DeakinPeople prior to the commencement of the conference.

(24) During their attendance at the conference, including travel to and from, Professional staff members must comply and behave in accordance with all University policies and procedures including the University's Code of Conduct.

(25) As part of the approval process, the Head of Organisational Unit or member of the Executive will advise the staff member whether they are required to prepare a specific report or presentation to their work area following their attendance at the conference. In the absence of a specific report or presentation being required, it is still the staff member's responsibility to ensure that knowledge gained through a professional development activity is applied, communicated and shared with their supervisor and/or colleagues

Mentoring program

(26) A Mentoring Program is available to all fixed term and continuing staff members. Further details, including the application process, are available on the Mentoring Program website.

(27) Leaders must provide reasonable support for staff to participate in the Mentoring Program, and are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Vice- Chancellor's Professional Development Awards

(28) Staff members may apply for a Vice-Chancellor's Professional Development Award to undertake a program that addresses development needs and/or goals identified as part of the DeakinAchieve process.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(29) For the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. study period: a defined teaching and study period specified by a faculty for the completion of units for a particular course.