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Academic Study Program procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

The Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017 came into effect on 6 July 2017. This Procedure is currently under review and will be updated as soon as possible to reflect any new changes.

(1) This Procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 24 July 2015 and incorporates all amendments to 24 October 2016.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Staff Development policy and includes Schedule A - ASP Funding Allowance.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) The Procedure outlines requirements and processes attached to the Academic Study Program (ASP).

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) The Procedure applies to University Academic staff working within Faculties and Institutes.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Staff Development policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) The procedure specifically refers to Faculties, and accordingly makes reference to Faculty positions that have important roles in Academic Study Program (ASP) processes. In the context of an Institute, the equivalent roles are undertaken by the positions as shown:

Faculty Institute
Faculty Executive Deans Institute Directors
Heads of School or Department Heads of Centres or Units

(7) Institutes must formulate and publish details of their ASP Committee so that potential applicants can discuss their applications with members of the Committee (in a similar fashion as Faculty members discuss with HoS/HoD).


(8) ASP is open to all eligible Academic staff, whether employed in Institutes or Faculties.

(9) All members of Academic staff are eligible to apply for ASP provided that they meet the following criteria. The staff member

  1. has been employed by the University in a Teaching and/or Research role for more than three consecutive years by the date on which the ASP commences
  2. has obtained a PhD (non-PhD applicants may be considered under exceptional circumstances by the Committee)
  3. is not on probation at the date on which the ASP commences
  4. has an overall performance rating of 'performing' on their most recent PPR
  5. will have a balance of fewer than 20 days Recreation Leave and/or 75 days Long Service Leave (or will submit plans as part of their Application for ASP to reduce the balance of Recreation Leave to 20 days or less and/or 75 days Long Service Leave or less) at the time of taking ASP.

(10) Casual staff, Early Career Development Fellowship staff and Teaching Scholars are not eligible to apply for ASP.

(11) Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria set out in sub-clauses 9a — c, recognition of prior service and prior periods of ASP (or equivalent) at another institution will, in normal circumstances, be considered as part of the qualifying period for ASP, consistent with clause 64.4 of Deakin's Enterprise Agreement 2013 EA. The conditions as set out under the EA are:

  1. the staff member has served at least 12 months continuous service with Deakin prior to applying for ASP
  2. there is no break in service of more than 2 months between appointments
  3. only the service period since the end date of the last period of ASP (or equivalent) granted by the former university is considered
  4. in the case of fixed term contract staff, the Academic staff member must have a minimum of two years remaining on their contract from the date on which they plan to return from ASP.

(12) Academic staff who have been absent from the University on approved ASP (excluding periods of overseas conference leave) must serve a minimum period of three years from their return after ASP before being eligible to commence a further period of ASP.

(13) Where an Academic staff member is part-time, their application should reflect a program of activity relevant to their part-time status.

(14) A staff member must remain employed at the University for a period of 12 months following their ASP or they will be required to repay to the University the full grant awarded for the ASP taken.

(15) Applications for ASP will not be considered in the next eligible round if the report from the previous ASP was not submitted within the required timeframe.

(16) Faculty Executive Deans, Heads of Schools (HoS), Heads of Departments (HoD) and Associate Deans will not be eligible for ASP for the duration of their contract but can negotiate ASP between contracts when appropriate. Any ASP approved prior to a new contract being accepted must be deferred.

Funding allocation to Faculties and Institutes

(17) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (DVCR) will allocate yearly ASP funding to the Faculties and Institutes based on continuing headcount.

Application process

(18) Calls for applications are made by the Faculty/Institute ASP Committee up to three times a year. Applications must be submitted at least two trimesters prior to the requested time for ASP.

(19) Staff members will apply for ASP by discussing and completing an Academic Study Program Application form and submitting it to their HoS/HoD. The HoS will then complete the HoS/HoD (or equivalent) section and submit the entire application to the Faculty ASP Committee, within the prescribed timeline.

(20) In preparing the ASP Application, staff members should take into consideration their workload allocation, particularly in relation to periods of teaching allocation. Details of all types of teaching relief required must be provided by the HoS/HoD in the application, including teaching (specific units), post-graduate student supervision and clinical placements. The information will be used to determine how much financial assistance may be allocated to provide relief from these duties while the staff member is on ASP. Any duties which will still be performed by the staff member while on ASP should be clearly outlined along with plans to ensure these are performed to a satisfactory standard while on ASP (e.g. supervision of post-graduate students).

(21) The Faculty ASP Committee, comprising of at least four members, including the Faculty Executive Dean (or nominee) and all HoS/HoD will assess applications on the following basis:

  1. all eligibility criteria have been met (as detailed at clause 4)
  2. the intended research and/or scholarly work is aligned to University strategies
  3. a research and PPR plan are in place and the application demonstrates how the proposed ASP research/scholarly activities will contribute to these
  4. demonstrated productivity in relation to teaching, research publications and attainment of external research funding (relative to opportunity)
  5. the ability of the work area to cover the absence
  6. the total funding requested in the ASP application
  7. the total funding available for ASP within the Faculty or Institute
  8. outcomes of any previous ASP.

(22) ASP approval is conditional upon a number of factors, and is not an automatic entitlement even when the applicant satisfies the basic eligibility requirements.

(23) Upon consideration of the above factors, the Faculty ASP Committee may:

  1. seek further information from the applicant
  2. approve in full
  3. approve in part or
  4. reject the ASP application.

(24) As Chair of the Committee, the Faculty Executive Dean (or nominee) will have authority to make the final determination.

(25) The relevant Faculty Executive Dean or nominee will advise applicants, in writing, of the Faculty ASP Committee's decision.

(26) Faculty ASP Committees must provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants upon request within 14 days of the request.

(27) A Faculty ASP Committee may offer a staff member the opportunity to submit a revised application if satisfied that there are compelling grounds for doing so and having regard to the staff member's productivity and achievement and the value and relevance of the ASP to the University. A revised application must be prepared in consultation with the HoS/HoD and re-submitted within 14 days of the date of the feedback. The Faculty ASP Committee will then have 14 days to reconsider and advise the applicant of their final decision.

(28) Where a re-submitted application is not approved, or the staff member believes there may have been a breach of this procedure in assessment of their application, the staff member may formally appeal in writing to the DVCR. In this regard the decision of the DVCR will be final.

(29) Where a staff member has been unsuccessful in their re-submitted application, that person will not be eligible to re-submit a new application for two trimesters.

(30) Prior to the commencement of any approved ASP, and where the staff member will be undertaking outside employment during the ASP, the staff member must seek prior approval from their manager and from:

  1. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, through the relevant Executive Dean, where the outside employment involves teaching or related duties with another tertiary institution, or
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (DVCR), through the relevant Executive Dean, where the outside employment involves research or related activities with another organisation and/or where the outcomes of the work will be published by the staff member or their contributions will be publicly acknowledged, or
  3. the relevant executive member responsible for the organisational unit in all other cases as per the Conflict of Interest procedure.
If the outside employment is known at the time of submitting the ASP application, details must be included on the application form.

(31) Any projected income received by a staff member in connection with a period of ASP which is additional to their University salary and ASP allowance, may be taken into consideration when assessing the financial level of ASP support granted.

Period of absence and variations

(32) ASP will normally involve an absence of no more than two trimesters. Where a staff member uses other forms of paid leave (recreation and/or long service leave) in addition to ASP, the total period of absence will not exceed twelve months.

(33) Where a staff member wishes to vary any part of the approved ASP, they must seek approval from the relevant HoS/HoD and approval from their Faculty Executive Dean.

(34) The University may, on giving not less than 30 days' notice in writing, cancel a staff member's ASP or reduce the program period for operational reasons. If this occurs the staff member must return to their place of work and resume normal duties on the date specified by the Faculty Executive Dean or nominee.

(35) The University may suspend or withdraw ASP approval if a staff member becomes subject to unsatisfactory performance or misconduct processes.

Finance and travel

(36) Staff with an approved period of ASP may be given an ASP allowance as a contribution towards travel and other expenses, excluding meal allowances. Such allowances will be received prior to departure on ASP (see Schedule A: ASP Funding Allowance).

(37) The staff member's salary and superannuation contributions will be maintained and paid in the normal fortnightly pay cycle for the duration of the ASP. Any temporary allowances (e.g. higher duties or responsibility allowances) will not be included during ASP.

(38) Staff members must ensure they comply with the requirements of the Travel policy particularly in relation to travel bookings, the use of the approved travel management consultant and travel insurance (including using approved Recreation Leave or Long Service Leave for leisure travel whilst on ASP).

(39) Staff members must keep all tax receipts for travel costs and other expenses and may be requested to produce tax receipts on return. Where any part of the ASP grant is unsubstantiated, the University may seek reimbursement from the staff member.

(40) Staff members may use their corporate credit card during the ASP period only if the funding has been pre-approved by the Faculty/Institute. This should be clearly outlined on the ASP Application form, including the types of expenditure that are allowable using the corporate card. The corporate credit card (or pre-approved employee reimbursement) is not to be used to pay for expenses which have been covered in the ASP grant awarded or which have been specifically excluded by the Faculty Committee as being applicable to the staff member's ASP.

(41) Where a staff member's spouse or partner is employed by the University and receives approval for a concurrent period of ASP, the two employees will be treated separately for the purpose of assessing the amount of financial assistance. Dependents will only be considered in respect of one of the applications for assistance.

(42) Staff members who apply for ASP of at least three months may be eligible for financial assistance for dependents. A case for dependent assistance must be made in the application and approved by the Faculty Committee - see Schedule A: ASP Funding Allowance.

(43) Any additional funding to be provided for ASP related expenses should be clearly outlined in the application form including any School or Faculty funding, research funds (consistent with research agreements) and funding provided by other institutions (e.g. to cover airfares, accommodation, conference fees etc.).

ASP Agreement and reporting

(44) The commencement of an approved period of ASP is conditional upon the staff member agreeing to and signing an Academic Study Program Letter of Offer which includes the terms and conditions governing their ASP.

(45) The staff member is on duty as an employee of the University during their period of ASP and will during this time:

  1. conduct all activities in a manner consistent with relevant University policies and procedures, including the Code of Conduct, and
  2. be subject to the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2013, including the provisions relating to unsatisfactory performance and misconduct.

(46) The staff member is to keep regular contact and engagement with their direct supervisor or HoS/HoD during the period of ASP and if necessary provide reports on how their ASP is progressing in line with expected outcomes.

(47) If ASP is performed at the staff member's residence, consideration must be given to the home office including ensuring the work environment complies with all University standards including Manual Handling and Ergonomics requirements.

(48) Within three months of their return from a period of ASP, staff members must submit an ASP Participant Report to their Faculty ASP Committee and present a seminar to their Faculty/School/Department (as appropriate) on the outcomes of the program.

(49) Should circumstances arise that prevent or that are likely to prevent a staff member from meeting the objectives of their ASP in the approved period, they must notify their HoS/HoD and the Chair of the Faculty ASP Committee in writing, and including any supporting documentation, at the earliest possible time. The Chair of the Faculty ASP Committee may at their absolute discretion, agree to revise the approved ASP or may suspend or terminate the ASP.

(50) If the staff member breaches the terms and conditions of their ASP, the University may require the staff member to refund to the University all or part of the ASP funding and may face other disciplinary action.

(51) If the staff member fails to abide by the terms and conditions of their ASP the Faculty Executive Dean may at their absolute discretion suspend or terminate the ASP and/or, where relevant, institute unsatisfactory performance or misconduct proceedings. Such a failure will also prejudice any further application by that staff member for ASP.

(52) The Faculty ASP Committee will provide a summary report to the DVCR at the end of each round of applications and a yearly report summarising ASP activities, outcomes and budget by the end of February each year. Any funds not used by the Faculty would be returned to the DVCR for redistribution.

(53) The DVCR will provide a report to the Academic Board in April each year that includes statistics on ASP applications, approvals and funding during the preceding year.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(54) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Academic Study Program (ASP): enables Academic staff members to pursue research and/or scholarly work outside the University. This may be for the purpose of collaborating with other leading scholars, researchers or professionals at other institutions or organisations, for fieldwork or internationally-related research. The research or scholarly work undertaken during the ASP should support a stream of activity that forms part of a research plan and/or a Performance Planning and Review (PPR) plan and provides value to the University and develops the Academic staff member. ASP is not a form of leave but rather a component of academic work that a staff member is engaged in at the University.
  2. dependent: a spouse, de facto partner, child or other immediate family member living with the staff member and who is dependent on the staff member at the time of the ASP taken.
  3. productivity relative to opportunity: guides the Faculty ASP committee to consider the productivity of work, while considering the applicant's record in the context of the specific factors that may have adversely impacted output in the period relevant to the application. These might include family or carer responsibilities, illness or disability, part-time appointments, unusual teaching commitments, and planned or unplanned absences.