I think this update is mostly for information, or for confirmation of things that were expected or some reminders. I’m happy for any or all of this to be shared with colleagues. It’s always difficult to get the balance right in terms of filling people’s in-boxes with lots of messages that may not always be directly relevant, so if you want to simply point them to something they can consult, then the UEO web pages at:
So onto the information/confirmation/reminders:
The University Professorial Promotions Committee meets next week for the first stage review of Professorial Promotions Applications, and Academic Staff Committee will subsequently start reviewing other applications. Some data on the numbers of applications can be found here in case it’s of interest. It’s worth noting that applications are significantly up in this round at 200+ compared to around 150 in the previous round. We did have a good take-up on the informal promotions adviser scheme and the gender balance in applications is improving. Whether the higher number of applications is a genuine increase or a reflection of the longer cycle time, I don’t know but I think it is at least reassuring that numbers look strong despite the difficult circumstances.
Covid-Related Career Support Scheme
This will go live later today via Insite. As ever there is a balance to be struck between being flexible to recognise the diversity of circumstances that face individuals and being fair. One area of fairness that some of you have raised is that this doesn’t help those colleagues who have taken on extra work to ease the burden on others with particular caring responsibilities. This scheme doesn’t give us a direct way to address this issue, but I hope you may able to find ways to recognise that extra work and collegiality when considering future workload allocations, etc. And happy to discuss any concerns you have on this matter.
In terms of the operation of the scheme itself, we will be looking for a quick turnaround, we will be flexible and, in judging applications, will be looking particularly at evidence that Covid-related factors have impacted on the individual in career development terms and that they proposed mitigations will have a positive impact in that area.
Workload, STP Budgets, etc
Sorry – this is one of those bits of repetition/reminder; as part of the dispute resolution agreement we have been discussing with UCU, some of the issues relating to the management and resourcing of workloads for next year, in the context of the continuation of elements of blended delivery. So the two reminders (one on STP and one on workload) are (from one of my earlier messages):
“More generally, in anticipation of the planning round and as we look forward to more blended delivery (and the return of study leave), you will need to look at STP budget lines. We will need to continue to manage costs carefully but we must be sensitive to workload pressures on colleagues. So, as things stand, I think we’d ask for sessional teaching spend to be sensible and appropriate and we’d also recognise that the cuts we asked for last year were for one year only (and have already been reinstated); for the coming year, I would hope we will be able to work to budgets that reflect your Department’s needs.”
“….its also going to be important to think about what materials development and potential reusability might mean in terms of workload management. I can’t offer any guidelines on how to do this just yet (but we do need to think about how we support you in this). But I suspect it’s the need to recognise that when material for repeated and asynchronous delivery is developed, there is significant preparation time and more so than would be the case with the traditional lecture. But this initial investment might be expected to make things easier in subsequent years where there is the opportunity for reuse. I don’t think there are any easy answers here in the short term, but there have been some real workload challenges and I think its probably as much as anything about trying to acknowledge the different workload profiles that blended learning might generate.
More on International Working
HR, and specifically the International Working Group (IWG), have been working on detailed guidance for HR Business Partners on managing current international working cases (both those that are Covid-specific and those that reflect longer standing arrangements). The cases that are known about have been looked at centrally and your HR Business Partner will meet you shortly to review all of your known cases to ensure that they fully understand the situation. They will also discuss possible costs of cases that are to be ‘regularised’ and agree next steps for cases to be worked on. This will be an important piece of work as it will help clarify the situation and also to identify sensible ways forward. Regularisation can be expensive and, of course, you will not have budgeted for those costs – where such costs have to be incurred we will need to find a solution. The priority is, of course, to find the best way forward given business needs, individual circumstances, costs and risks.
Its also worth noting that the information on what constitutes a business trip will be made clearer in the next set of guidance from the International Working Group. Business trips (archive access, access to research facilities, field work, institutional visits etc) that are 1 month or less will not need approval and they are looking at a very light tough process for business trips that are still short term but longer than 1 month. And study leave overseas does not require IWG approval but we will ask anyone who is to be out of the country for more than 6 months to contact IWG to ensure they understand any tax implications.
International Students and Immigration Deadlines
The Home Office has announced that it has pushed back the deadline by which international students have to be in the country in order to qualify for the new graduate immigration route. Under immigration rules now laid in Parliament, applicants who began their studies in Autumn 2020 will now have until 21 June 2021 to enter the UK (updated from 6 April 2021) in order to be eligible for the Graduate route. Students who began their studies in January or February 2021 will need to be in the UK by 27 September 2021.
And finally, earlier this year we provided input to Centre for Social Justice’s Disability Commission based on some of our experiences at Warwick. If this is of interest, there is a short blog on this at:
Thanks everyone- really appreciate all that you’re doing – its been another tough term for all of you but everyone is doing amazing work and as a result we’re in good shape as an institution. Lots still to do and lots to be sorted out, but still in good shape!
Professor Christine Ennew OBE