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Enhancing Academic Workload Management

This event has concluded. Please contact us if you'd like to express interest for 2015.

**Note: content below is on our past program. 2015 information will be available soon.**

In Australia, increasing workloads — driven by larger classes, demands for demonstrable research productivity, occupational stress, increased numbers of female part-time academic staff and a desire for improved work/life balance — have seen workload management become a key industrial and management issue.

Surveys conducted over many years have consistently found academic staff are working 45–60 hours per week. Every enterprise agreement concluded with a university since 2000 has a clause on workload management, designed to establish principles through which the university will implement workload management systems at Faculty or School level.

The translation from principles to practice at Faculty/Departmental level has resulted in differences in outcomes between and within universities, which are not solely discipline based.

This one-day course will examine approaches to developing a fair and transparent process for allocating work, exploring best practice case studies from the sector. Presenters will speak on the basis of experience and lessons learnt.

Who should attend?

Designed for Heads of School or Department, HR Managers and other academic and professional staff involved in leading or supporting the development of academic workload models.

Course fee

$1,000 ($1,100 incl. GST)

Course content

Participants will examine approaches to developing a fair and transparent process for allocating academic work, exploring best practice case studies from the sector, including:

  • A centrally developed on-line system for specifying academic workloads, completed in part by staff themselves. Faculty/ discipline differences are managed through different weightings in the system, enabling a university-wide overview of work undertaken.
  • Departmental or Faculty developed ‘spreadsheets’, which involve detailed calculation of time spent on each task, built from allocating specific time weightings for each component of that task. For example, the model may include an agreed formula on the time allocated to advising each student, which is a factor for determining academic workload associated with teaching a course.
  • Workload allocation models linked to outputs, particularly research outcomes.

Download full program (pdf).

Learning outcomes

Participants can expect to:

  • develop a broad understanding of the industrial drivers for the development of workload models,
  • understand the differences in approach to the development of workload models,
  • learn from others’ experience in the implementation of different model types, and
  • discuss specific problems or issues they are experiencing in their institution with peers from the sector.

Program facilitator

Liz Baré commenced her working life in charge of a small specialist library in a government agency, supervising two other staff. There she learnt valuable lessons in management, supervision and working in complex organisations. She moved through a series of technical and line management positions in that agency, and in 1983 was appointed to head its 50 strong personnel branch. There she fell in love with human resources management and decided that this was her true vocation. Her next assignment was to create a a human resources function in one of the world’s largest volunteer organisations.

She has now headed the human resource function in three different organisations. Her longest appointment was as Vice-Principal (Human Resources) at the University of Melbourne. She and her colleagues developed the HR function at the University from a personnel function to a well regarded human resources division. In recent years, Liz has been Head of Administration at the University of Melbourne, where she was responsible for service delivery of IT, Finance, Research, Marketing, Property and Grounds, as well as overseeing a major restructure of administrative service delivery.

Liz is currently a Senior Fellow of the LH Martin Institute and also a Senior Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, at the University of Melbourne. Liz currently advises universities in Australia and overseas on management and human resource management issues.

Read Liz's 2011 article on The Administrative Burden on our blog.

Guest speakers

  • Professor Clive Baldock is Executive Dean, Faculty of Science at Macquarie University.
  • Dr Stijn Dekeyser obtained his PhD in 2003 from the University of Antwerp in Belgium having conducted research in the area of database theory and concurrency control for XML document stores. His current research interests also include educational technology and computer science education. Stijn is currently the Head of Department of Mathematics and Computing in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. In that capacity he led USQ’s academic workload allocations management system trial project. Read Stijn's recent article on teaching-only positions on our blog.
  • Professor Yoni Ryan is an Adjunct Professor of Higher Education at the Queensland University of Technology.
  • Dr Richard Watson is Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Southern Queensland.
  • Stuart Andrews commenced his appointment as Executive Director of AHEIA in May 2011. He is a qualified lawyer and was previously employed by AHEIA as its Legal & Industrial Officer between 1988 and 1993. For the intervening period of 18 years, Stuart was the HR Director at the University of Tasmania, where he was the lead negotiator for UTAS in five rounds of enterprise bargaining. Stuart gained his law degree from UTAS, and holds a postgraduate qualification in Arbitration/Mediation from the University of Adelaide. He is also a past President and Secretary of the Industrial Relations Society of Tasmania.


'I have taken many new ideas away from the seminar. Useful interactions with other participants/presenters.' (past participant)

'Excellent structure of case studies balanced with NTEU perspective. Great the way the speakers accumulated a significant pool of information.’ (past participant)‘

A good experience for me was getting a better sense of the field in Australia.’ (pastparticipant)

Enquiries & more information

This event has concluded.  If you have further queries regarding the program, please contact or call +61 3 8344 0756.

For further reference on the topic, please also read previous articles about academic workload management by Prof. Mike Ewing and Prof. Yoni Ryan on our blog.

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