Hear it from those in the know: the following information and advice comes directly from conversations with heads of department, post-probation lecturers, new and established PIs and professional services staff from key areas around the College. 

At Imperial, the management of the probation process is devolved to Faculties and there is, necessarily, broad variation in expectations and benchmarks in different discipline areas.  It is inevitable, therefore, that for every newly appointed lecturer undergoing probation, there will be different expectations and processes.  The interpretation of probation criteria will be nuanced.  This can feel confusing, unsettling and potentially be a source of stress and overwhelm during probation.  With some initiative and good conversations, it needn’t be this way.  The best advice we can give you is to be proactive, ask lots of questions, seek clarifications and don’t wait to be told or nudged! We cannot give you exact answers that will be relevant to your personal circumstances.  What we do aim to do is to ‘teach you to fish’ so that you are equipped with all the questions to ask. 

We have pitched the concerns and questions of previous lecturers going through probation to heads of department, those who are experienced at conducting probation reviews and professional services staff from key areas around the College.   

Use their responses and our suggested resources and advice to: 

  • Discover insights and perspectives that will help you to demystify the process of navigating probation and establishing yourself as a new PI 
  • Curate your own checklist of questions and activities to design your own induction 
  • Make sure you are preparing effectively, and asking the right questions in a timely manner so that you can successfully navigate the perceived vagueness of probation 

Remember that many of the views expressed here are opinions from one person, service, or department – use them to understand the opinions and perspectives that are out there, then find your own answers and requirements for your specific circumstances.  No one newly appointed lecturer or PI is the same, and that’s how it should be!