Working Group to review the Learning and Teaching and Research Terms and Conditions and the use of Fixed Term Contracts 


Terms of Reference

The purpose of the Group is to discuss and feed into the areas below, to inform Provost’s Board decisions on the following:

  • Review of the current Learning and Teaching role criteria, the promotion process, and the development of criteria for the new Level 7 equivalent role.
  • Review of the job titles within the Learning and Teaching and Research job families.
  • Review of the Research job family role criteria and the promotion process to identify any gaps that may impact on career progression, in addition to proposing options on how to approach these.
  • Review if the enhanced terms and conditions offered to academic staff could also be extended to all job families- these include recognition of previous HEI/NHS service for maternity/family leave; and for teaching and research staff, a percentage of time allocated for scholarship and sabbatical leave.
  • Review the use of fixed term contracts for all job families.

The above work will be informed by a review of the approach taken within the Russell Group, and other UK and global organisations as appropriate, in addition to relevant external bodies’ recommendations on best practice for employing teaching and research staff and the use of fixed term contracts.

As the group meets, updates on their meetings will be posted on this page. The Group will be co-chaired by Professor Emma McCoy, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Experience) and Professor Mary Ryan, Interim Vice-Provost (Research).

Meeting Summaries

Meeting One: 10:00-11:00, Monday 23 August 2021

The working group discussed the group membership and extended this to include a Professor of Higher Education and agreed a research representative should be invited to join the group.  The group reviewed and agreed a minor change to the Terms of Reference, and considered how, and in what order, the objectives should be taken forward.  The group agreed that a useful starting point was to form two workstreams, one to focus on the Learning and Teaching Job Family and the other to focus on the Research Job Family.  

The potential membership of each of these the workstreams was discussed, with actions set to request expressions of interest from staff within each job family. The group discussed the use of fixed-term contracts and agreed it would be useful to obtain data in advance of commencing a review of this area. 

Meeting Two: 10.00-11.00, Monday 20 September 2021

The group agreed that the terms of reference should be extended to include other UK and global organisations when reviewing best practice for employing learning and teaching and research staff, whilst being aware that some approaches from outside the UK may not transfer to a UK setting in terms of employment law and funding body constraints. 

The group discussed progress on recruiting staff to represent the two workstreams which is still ongoing. The group agreed that it would also be beneficial to have representation from a DUGS, DPGS, Director of Research or similar. 

The group agreed it would be helpful to start gathering data on the use of fixed-term contracts and to start pulling together the current role profiles for the Learning and Teaching and the Research job families. 

The group reviewed the working group webpage and agreed to provide any suggestions and feedback with a week. 

Meeting Three: 14.30-15.30, Friday 22 October 2021

The group discussed the progress on the outstanding actions. The group were updated that  data on the use of fixed term contracts would be provided November/December. It was confirmed that by the next meeting in November, the current role profiles for both job families would be provided.

The group assessed the applications for the Learning and Teaching workstream, and five individuals were selected to be invited to join the Learning and Teaching workstream.

A member from the Research job family was confirmed as a member of  the Working Group and another 5 individuals were confirmed for the Research workstream.

Emails were sent to Faculty Deans to request nominations for workstream representatives that have an overview of L&T and Research roles and the group will continue to await responses on this.

Meeting Four: 14.00-15.00, Tuesday 23 November 2021

The group discussed the progress with the organisation of the workstreams and it was confirmed that all of the successful and unsuccessful applicants for the Research and Learning & Teaching workstreams (including a few other staff members who had been nominated by their Faculties since the meeting) had been contacted.  The group were also given an overview of the intended role and format of the workstreams.  

The group were provided with an overview of the current role profiles for both job families and how the progression/promotion works for each family. The group were also provided with an outline of the Korn Ferry Hay methodology for Job Evaluation which is used to determine size of job and ultimately the appropriate grade for each role.

It was agreed that the successful workstream applicants would be emailed with the next steps and for monthly meetings to be set up for work to commence. It was agreed that based on the terms of reference for the group, the first task for the workstreams would be to review the current job profiles for each job family and consider where changes might need to be considered. 

The group were informed that obtaining the data on the use of fixed term contracts was still ongoing but would be provided soon.

Meeting Five: 10.00-11.00, Monday 24 January 2022

The group reconvened in the new year to have a brief catch up on the next steps for the workstreams.

Applicants for both workstreams had been contacted and monthly meetings were set up from January 2022. With the first workstreams taking place before this Working Group meeting, it was agreed that research (for both job families) would be carried out into career pathways, role profiles and the promotion process across Russell Group universities and universities outside of the Russell Group.

It was also agreed that indicative timescales would be added to the Group’s Terms of Reference document to provide an initial guide for the Group on when certain work and milestones should be achieved by.

Meeting Six: 11.00-12.00, Monday 25 April 2022

The group reconvened after a few months to discuss the progress made in both workstreams since they commenced in January 2022.

Research had been undertaken for both workstreams in addition to employment data being obtained from the HR Systems team to support reviews within both workstreams. It was mentioned that both workstreams are currently working on reviewing the current job descriptions for the job families in addition to drafting criteria for role profiles for each family.

For both job families, it was agreed that there would be a future discussion around job titles for each area. For Research, it was agreed that the next steps would be to review the pathway to becoming an independent researcher and ensuring the appropriate definitions are in place, particularly around what defines the Research Fellow job title. For Learning and Teaching, it was discussed that there may also be some reviews into how Clinical Teaching Fellows are aligned within the family.

The use of fixed term contracts was also mentioned, with further discussions aiming to take place in the Summer around this.