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Academic Study Program procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 19 October 2018.

(2) This Procedure includes Schedule A: Research Development Academic Study Program (ASP) Funding Allowance.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure outlines requirements and processes for the Research Development Academic Study Program. Teaching Development ASP will be introduced by the University for staff who have generally had a research or scholarship allocation of no more than 10% for 12 months or more.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) The Procedure applies to Academic staff, other than casual Academic staff and Early Career Development Fellowship holders.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Staff Development policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) The University currently offers Research Development ASP. This program allows eligible academic staff a period of up to two trimesters to work with local and internationally renowned academics, professionals and industry leaders from other institutions, or to attend conferences and provides the opportunity for uninterrupted research activities.

(7) The University will shortly introduce Teaching Development ASP. This program will allow eligible academic staff a period of up to one trimester to develop their industry currency related to teaching through industry placements.

(8) As most academic work in faculties, this Procedure specifically refers to Faculty positions and responsibilities. Academics who work in other Institutes or Divisions should refer to the following equivalents

Faculty Institute or Division
Executive Dean Institute Director or Head of Division
Faculty ASP Committee Director or Head and other members of Institute or Division as determined by the Director or Head
Head of School or Department Head of Centre or Unit

Eligibility

(9) Research Development ASP is open to all Academic staff who:

  1. have obtained a PhD (non-PhD applicants may be considered under exceptional circumstances by the relevant Committee);
  2. have completed a minimum of three years’ service at Deakin University;
  3. are not on probation at the date on which the ASP commences;
  4. have an overall performance rating of 'performing' on their most recent performance review;
  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;
  6. have no break in service of more than two months between appointments; and
  7. in the case of a fixed-term staff member, have a minimum of one year remaining on their contract from the date on which they plan to return from ASP.

(10) The University will recognise prior, continuous, paid, full time service with other Australian higher education institutions in accordance with Clause 63.4 of the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017.

(11) Academic staff who have been absent from the University on approved ASP must serve a minimum period of three years from their return from ASP before being eligible to commence a further period of ASP.

(12) Where an academic staff member is part-time, the application should reflect a program of activity relevant to their part-time employment.

(13) Staff 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.

(14) Applications for ASP will not be considered in the next eligible round if an ASP Participant Report and a presentation regarding the ASP experience was not completed from a previous ASP opportunity within the prescribed timeframes.

(15) Executive Deans, Head of School (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 of ASP

(16) Research Development ASP is funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (DVCR) who will allocate yearly ASP funding to the faculties based on continuing headcount.

Application process

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

(18) Staff will apply for ASP by discussing and completing the Research Development Academic Study Program Application Form (available from the relevant Faculty/Area ASP website) and submitting it to their HoS/HoD who will complete the HoS/HoD section and submit the entire application to the Faculty ASP Committee, within the prescribed timeline.

(19) In preparing the Research Development Academic Study Program Application Form, staff 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 high standard while on ASP (e.g. supervision of post-graduate students).

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

  1. all eligibility criteria have been met (as detailed at clause 9, ensuring the intended research and/or scholarly work is aligned to University strategies);
  2. a research and PPR plan are in place and the application demonstrates how the proposed ASP research activities will contribute to these;
  3. demonstrated productivity in relation to teaching, research publications and attainment of external research funding (relative to opportunity);
  4. the ability of the work area to cover the absence;
  5. the total funding requested in the Research Development Academic Study Program Application Form;
  6. the total funding available for Research Development ASP;
  7. outcomes of any previous Research Development ASP;
  8. the University’s commitment to increase the participation of women as detailed in the Gender Equity Plan 2017-2020.

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

(22) Research Development ASP approval is not an automatic entitlement even when the applicant satisfies the basic eligibility requirements.

(23) Upon consideration of the above, 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) The Chair of the Committee (Executive Dean or nominee) will have authority to make the final determination.

(25) The Executive Dean or nominee will advise applicants, in writing, of the Committee's decision and provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

(26) The Faculty ASP Committee is required to provide a report to Human Resources Division at the end of each round outlining approved ASP and the associated leave requirements. 

(27) The Faculty ASP Committee may offer an applicant the opportunity to submit a revised application if it is satisfied that there are compelling grounds for doing so, having regard to the applicant’s productivity, achievement and the value and relevance of the Research Development 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 offer to resubmit. The Faculty ASP Committee will have 14 days to reconsider the application and advise the applicant of their final decision.

(28) If an applicant believes there has been a breach of this Procedure in the assessment of their application, the applicant may appeal in writing to the DVCR. The decision of the DVCR will be final.

(29) Unsuccessful applicants will not be eligible to submit a new application for two trimesters.

(30) Successful applicants who plan to take outside employment during the Research Development ASP must seek approval, well before the commencement of Research Development ASP, from:

  1. the DVCR through their 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; and
  2. their supervisor in accordance with the Conflict of Interest procedure.

Variations to Academic Study Program

(31) Where staff wish to vary any part of their approved ASP, they must seek approval from their HoS/HoD and from their Executive Dean.

(32) 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 Executive Dean or nominee.

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

Payroll

(34) 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 paid during ASP.

Travel and expenses

(35) Staff with an approved period of Research Development 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: Research Development ASP Funding Allowance).

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

(37) Staff must keep all tax receipts for travel and other expenses. Where any part of the ASP funding is unsubstantiated, the University will seek reimbursement from the staff member.

(38) Staff may use their corporate credit card during the ASP period only if the funding has been pre-approved by the Faculty and clearly outlined on the Application Form, and only for the types of expenditure that are allowable using the corporate card. The corporate credit card (or pre-approved 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 ASP Committee.

(39) Where a staff member's partner is employed by the University and receives approval for a concurrent period of ASP, the two staff members 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.

(40) Staff who apply for Research Development 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 ASP Committee - see Schedule A: Research Development ASP Funding Allowance.

(41) Any additional funding to be provided for ASP related expenses should be clearly outlined in the Application Form including 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.).

Staff obligations during ASP

(42) ASP is conditional upon staff agreeing to and signing an Academic Study Program Letter of Offer that includes the terms and conditions governing their ASP.

(43) Staff remain employees of the University during ASP and:

  1. must conduct all activities in a manner consistent with relevant University policies and procedures, including the Code of Conduct, and
  2. will be subject to the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017.

(44) Staff must keep regular contact and engagement with their HoS/HoD during ASP and provide reports on how their ASP is progressing in line with expected outcomes as stated in the application.

(45) If some or all ASP is to be performed at a staff member's residence, a Teleworking Agreement may be required in accordance with the Flexible Work Arrangements procedure.

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

(47) If staff breach the terms and conditions of their ASP, the University may:

  1. suspend or terminate the ASP; and/or
  2. require the staff member to refund to the University all or part of the ASP funding; and/or
  3. commence unsatisfactory performance or misconduct proceedings in accordance with the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017.

Staff reporting following completion of ASP

(48) Within three months of completion of ASP, staff are required to submit an ASP Participant Report.

(49) The ASP Participant Report must be provided to the Chair or the Faculty ASP Committee and must include detailed outcomes aligned with the ASP application, such as:

  1. publications
  2. conference and seminar presentations
  3. invited talks and institutions/within industry
  4. any participation or involvement in projects
  5. new skills acquired and/or expanded networks and linkages.

(50) In the ASP Participant Report the staff member must also identify how outcomes have been disseminated within or beyond their own area, within three months of ASP completion.

Faculty Reporting following completion of ASP

(51) Faculties are responsible for monitoring the completion of ASP reports and dissemination of outcomes.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(52) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Research Development Academic Study Program (ASP) enables Academic staff to pursue research outside the University and collaborating with leading researchers or professionals. The research 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, provides value to the University, and develops the Academic staff member. ASP is not a form of leave, but a component of academic work with and for the University.
  2. dependent: a partner, child or other immediate family member living with the staff member and who is dependent on the staff member during ASP.
  3. productivity relative to opportunity: guides the Faculty ASP Committee to consider specific factors that may have adversely impacted the applicant’s output in the period relevant to the application. These might include caring responsibilities, illness or disability, part-time appointments, unusual teaching commitments, and planned or unplanned absences.