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Teaching Fellows : Induction and Probation Procedure
- Scope and Purpose
- Probation Procedure
- Exemption from the PCTLHPE
- Fixed-term Contracts
- Extension of Probationary Period
- Probation Period and Discipline and Capability
- Appendix 1
- Review Forms
1This policy sets out the induction process for all Teaching Fellows new to UCL and guidance on their support, training and assessment within the probationary period. Separate policies exist in relation to the probation arrangements for academic staff newly appointed to a Lecturer role and new research and support staff, see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/prob_procedure_links.php
2 It is UCL policy that all staff including those on part-time and fixed term contracts who are new to UCL, undergo a probationary period during which they will be introduced to the main duties and responsibilities of their post, the performance standards expected of them, the colleagues with whom they will be working most closely and the context of their work within the department, division or UCL as a whole.
3 At the commencement of employment the Head of Department must clearly identify the academic or teaching member of staff to whom the new Teaching Fellow reports. If this is not the Head of Department s/he may delegate the managerial responsibilities in this policy to this person who is referred to as the manager in this procedure.
4 It is the manager's responsibility to ensure that Teaching Fellows new to UCL are furnished with the information necessary to enable them to commence work. As the job is explained to the new Teaching Fellow the manager must make clear any service standards relating to the work of the department or area within which the Teaching Fellow works and the performance standards related to their particular post in terms of the:
- quality and quantity of teaching, assessment and administration required which must be realistic in relation to the contracted hours and training requirements
- skills that must be acquired and the requirement to complete one of the mandatory training courses (see paras. 11 and 12 below)
- protocols that must be observed
- UCL's policies and procedures, in particular, relevant UCL regulations including plagiarism, relationships with students, the use of non-discriminatory language and health and safety procedures
- deadlines which must be met and how any changes to deadlines will be communicated
- working relationships to be developed with other staff and students
5 The manager must also make clear how these standards will be monitored throughout the probation period and the frequency with which they will be formally reviewed.
6 As part of the induction process, the manager should discuss the individual's training and development needs with them, particularly the requirement to complete two modules of the Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education (PCTLHPE), taught by the Institute of Education. Those who teach less than a half course unit (see paras. 11 and 12) should take the one-day CALT Short Course entitled "Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education". Managers should also book them onto any appropriate training courses, including the Organisational and Staff Development Unit's induction courses. New Teaching Fellows must also complete the online diversity training package within their first six weeks. See appendix 1 for an induction checklist.
7 Applications for a place on the PCTLHPE must be made using UKPASS (the UK Postgraduate Applications System), via their website at www.ukpass.ac.uk. Any initial queries can be sent to CALT (email@example.com).
8 During the probationary period the onus is on the manager to provide the necessary information and training that will equip the individual to undertake all aspects of their role at UCL and on the individual, to demonstrate their suitability for the post. Managers must ensure systems are in place to support and monitor the Teaching Fellow's work throughout the probationary period in order that s/he receives such assistance as is reasonable to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the post.
9 The Head of Department is responsible for assigning a mentor to the Teaching Fellow on their request. The role of the mentor is that of confidant and critical friend, an understanding and trusted colleague outside the probationary review system who assists in the development of the probationer's teaching expertise. Mentors must have a keen interest in the teaching role and a reputation as successful practitioners. They are expected to observe probationers teach each year in different student learning situations and provide formative feedback. The appointment of a mentor does not relieve the manager of the duty to provide the necessary information, training and support required by this procedure.
10 The probation period for Teaching Fellows will be 24 months.
Requirement to complete the PCTLHPE
11 If the Teaching Fellow has full responsibility for a half-course unit (or the postgraduate equivalent, including course design, preparation of sessions and assessment, and marking), they are required to sucessfully complete two 15-credit modules of the PCTLHPE during the probationary period, one from each Group. The modules are listed below:
Learning in Small Groups
Developing Supervisory and Professional Practice
Designing Courses and Curricula
Incorporating ICT into Teaching/Training Practice in Higher and Professional Education.
It is strongly recommended that they complete all modules in order to obtain the Professional Certificate.
12 Any Teaching Fellow who has a lesser teaching load than that defined in paragraph 11 is required to successfully complete the one-day CALT Short Course entitled "Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education" during the probation period.
13 Failure to complete the required course by the end of probation will result in the Teaching Fellow not having their appointment confirmed.
14 Probationary Teaching Fellows will be paid by their Department at their normal hourly rate of pay for the time required to attend the mandatory taught course sessions outside their working hours. Pay will be limited to 39 contact hours for the PCTLHPE module. Practical teaching time is included in the course hours.
15 If a probationary Teaching Fellow on a part-time contract whose teaching load is less than one half unit elects to complete the two 15-credit modules of the PCTLHPE s/he will be paid for the number of contact hours required to complete these
16 If part-time Teaching Fellows increase their teaching hours to assume full responsibility for a half-course unit or the postgraduate equivalent at any time during their probation they will have to meet the requirement contained within clause 11 in order to be confirmed in post. In such circumstances the probation period may be extended to allow for the requirements of clause 11.
17 The Head of Department may consider whether there is a case for exemption from the requirement to complete two modules of the Certificate programme. Such exemption may be allowed if the Teaching Fellow has completed an equivalent programme in another HE Institution (i.e. accredited by the Higher Education Academy) or has extensive (more than 3 years FTE) teaching experience. The Head of Department should advise the teaching fellow to submit an exemption form to the Head of the Graduate School signed by the Head of Department.
18 In this case the Head of the Graduate School will be advised by CALT and will assess whether the previously completed programme or teaching experience is sufficient. CALT will inform the HR Division, the Head of Department and the candidate of the decision. If appropriate, HR Division will re-issue a letter of appointment.
19 Teaching Fellows appointed on a fixed-term contract, e.g., maternity leave or sabbatical cover for a member of staff, will be invited to attend the one-day CALT Short Course "Introduction to Teaching in HE" if possible. If, at any stage of their employment, they are appointed on an open-ended Teaching Fellow contract they will be required meet the above formal training requirements and the probation period may be extended to permit this.
20 As part of providing teaching support and development the manager is responsible for regular observation of the Teaching Fellow in various student-learning situations and for giving constructive and confidential feedback. The manager and the Teaching Fellow should agree appropriate occasions for this purpose and how such observation can be managed as naturally and unobtrusively as possible. Any performance issue identified must be raised as soon as it is noticed. Problems must not be held over for discussion at the formal reviews.
21 Heads of departments and departmental administrators will be reminded of the requirement to complete these reviews by the Human Resources Division and in the case of fixed term Teaching Fellows with a contract shorter than the length of the relevant probation period, the probation process will be followed for the period during which the individual is employed with UCL. The department must pass these reminders to the appropriate manager for action.
22 There may be some flexibility in the timing of the three reviews to accommodate the varied teaching patterns that Teaching Fellows may have. Each review should take place after the completion a term's teaching. At the first review the manager will formally discuss the Teaching Fellow's performance with him/her and summarise their discussion on the relevant form. The Teaching Fellow will add his/her comments to the written assessment.
23 For Teaching Fellows with full responsibility for a half-course unit or the postgraduate equivalent the first review will take place before five months. The second review will take place before the twelve month stage and the final review will take place by the twenty-one month stage.
24 Where performance is satisfactory and subject to their successful completion of the first module of the PCTLHPE, or the short course entitled "Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education", probationary Teaching Fellows will be confirmed in their post on completion of their probation period and the HR Division will write to the individual (copied to the Head of Department) to confirm this. Following the satisfactory completion of probation, the Teaching Fellow's performance will be reviewed in line with the Appraisal, Review and Development Scheme. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/staff_review_development.php
25 If the first review is not satisfactory in any way the manager must discuss with the Teaching Fellow the aspects of performance which need improvement and should set clear objectives and timescales within which they will be reviewed. The Teaching Fellow should be asked if they consider that any further assistance and/or training is necessary to enable them to complete tasks to the standards expected of them. The Teaching Fellow should sign the review form and receive a copy of it to confirm that they have been made aware of the improvements required.
26 If insufficient improvement has taken place by the second review meeting, the manager must discuss with the Teaching Fellow the aspects of performance which need further improvement and should set clear objectives and timescales within which they will be reviewed. The Teaching Fellow should be asked if they consider that any further assistance and/or training is necessary to enable them to complete tasks to the standards expected of them. The Teaching Fellow must be informed that failure to meet the required standards may result in the termination of his/her employment. S/he should sign the review form and receive a copy of it to confirm that they have been made aware of the improvements required.
27 If at the final review meeting, insufficient improvement has taken place, the manager must arrange a further meeting; the probationer should be given 5 working days notice of the meeting and be given the right (in writing) to be accompanied by a work colleague or a trade union representative. It is advisable to ensure that a senior manager is present at the meeting, in addition to the manager who conducted the previous reviews. If termination of the appointment is likely, advice should be sought from the HR Consultancy team prior to the meeting, to ascertain whether an HR Consultant should be present. At this meeting a full review of progress should be held and a decision made to either extend the probationary period, or alternatively, to terminate the appointment at the end of the probationary period. Any decision as a result of such meeting should be confirmed in writing to the individual (in consultation with the HR Consultant).
28 It may be appropriate to extend the probationary period if, through the Teaching Fellow's authorised absence e.g. maternity leave, it has not been possible to assess performance. In cases where the Teaching Fellow only teaches for one term in an academic year it will be necessary to extend the probation period to accomplish the review process.
29 In all cases where probation is extended the following must be discussed between the manager and the Teaching Fellow and confirmed in writing:
- The reasons for the extension.
- Any assistance/training that will be given in the extension period.
- The period of the extension, the performance standards expected and the way in which performance will be monitored.
- That if performance still fails to meet expectations at the end of the period of extension, employment will be terminated.
30 The probationary period may not be extended by more than six months except where the only incomplete requirement is the successful completion of the PCTLHPE module. In such cases probation may be extended by the Head of Department in consultation with CALT to allow sufficient time for completion.
31 Teaching Fellows will have the right to appeal against a decision to terminate their employment for failure to satisfactorily complete their probation period. An appeal must be lodged in writing with the Human Resources Director within 5 working days of receipt of confirmation of termination. The appeal will normally be heard by a senior manager not previously involved with the case. At such an appeal the Teaching Fellow has the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague.
34 This policy on Induction and Probation applies in cases of under-performance throughout the probation period.
35 In the first year of their probation period in circumstances involving alleged misconduct, the Teaching Fellow will receive written notice of a disciplinary interview which will set out the details of the alleged misconduct. The Teaching Fellow will have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague and will have the opportunity to state his/her case before any decision is taken. Any case of misconduct during the first year of the probationary period may lead to dismissal and gross misconduct may lead to summary dismissal without notice. The Teaching Fellow will be informed of their right to appeal against a decision to dismiss them on the basis of misconduct and any appeal would be considered by the manager's line manager or Head of Department.
36 In the second year of their probation period the Disciplinary Procedure applies in matters involving alleged misconduct. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/disciplinary_procedure.php
37 During the probationary period Teaching Fellows may terminate the appointment by giving one month's notice. UCL will also give one month's notice to terminate the appointment.
HR Policy and Planning
N.B. Prior to taking up their post at UCL the Teaching Fellow's Line Managers should liaise with the Teaching Fellow to ensure that they submit an application for a place on the Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education timeously. There are enrolment windows in October, January and the summer term (April/May). The actual dates should be checked with the IoE. Failure to submit an application timeously may mean that the Teaching Fellow is unable to take the modules until the following year.
On the first day a new Teaching Fellow should be provided with information on the following:
- Instructions regarding the emergency evacuation arrangements for the building(s) in which they will be based.
- Health and safety policy of the department, names and locations of first aiders and the procedure for reporting accidents and hazards.
- Details of working hours (including any flexibility and cover arrangements) and local arrangements regarding lunch and other breaks.
- Arrangements for obtaining security passes, identity and entry cards, library card, computer access codes etc.
- Arrangements for contacting the authorised departmental contact in the event of unforeseen absence, sickness etc.
- An up to date copy of the job description for reference throughout the probation period, together with an explanation of the work of the department from the manager.
- Details of how and when salary/wages will be paid
- Where to find facilities such as toilets, kitchen, refectory etc.
- Rules regarding personal use of computing facilities and telephone
- Security arrangements of the building(s) in which they work
Within the first week
- An explanation of the key aspects of the job including important contacts, the provision of teaching support must commence immediately
- An explanation of how the job fits within the rest of UCL and copies of all relevant policy and procedure notes either departmental, faculty, UCL wide and from other relevant partner organisations e.g. NHS Trusts.
- Details of key UCL wide policies including Equal Opportunities, Race Equality and the Induction & Probation Policy
- Arrangements for booking annual leave - including any restrictions on planning leave etc.
- Be booked onto the corporate UCL Induction Course and Safety Induction Course and where appropriate receive a departmental induction to computing systems and contents of the intranet etc.
- Explicit discussion of performance standards and any objectives to be achieved within the probationary period.
- Information on how performance will be monitored and when it will be reviewed informally and formally.
- An explanation of the UCL facilities available - catering outlets, sports facilities UCL shop, libraries etc.
Within the first month
- Discuss training needs and identification/booking of relevant courses
- Review of initial induction period and early feedback on performance
Within the first six weeks
- have completed the online diversity training package at http://ucl.marshallacmtraining.co.uk/