Professorial Zoning

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In 2016, the University’s Executive Team and Staff Committee agreed that a zoning system for professorial staff would be introduced to deliver: 

  • A fair and transparent system that engages staff, recognises their relative contributions and provides a clear pathway for career development and succession planning
  • A framework that identifies and differentiates professorial performance levels and expectations
  • A focus on professorial activities, behaviours and contributions that are reflective of University strategy

This system was developed and piloted during 2015.  The Professorial Zoning Steering Group, chaired by the Vice-Principal and including cross-faculty representation, oversaw the development of the zoning framework and was involved in the implementation.   The detailed zoning criteria used to determine individual zone allocations were developed through four working groups.  These Working Groups comprised Vice-Deans and other senior academics from across the University. 

The implementation of Professorial Zoning commenced in February 2016, across all Departments and Schools within each Faculty, with all Professors being asked to complete online templates detailing their contribution against the zoning criteria during February and March 2016.  A matching process with input from Departments/Schools and Faculties then took place during 2016.

The outcomes from the matching process are being communicated to Professors during January 2017.  If you have not received your Professorial Zoning outcome letter by Friday 27 January, please contact profzoning-project@strath.ac.uk.

 

High-level Zone Descriptors and Appointment Protocols

The zoning framework has four zones which are described below.

Criteria Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4
Descriptor

Professors have a recognised international reputation for their contribution to their field of study and can demonstrate an established record of academic achievement.

Professors have an established international reputation in their field of study and a sustained track record of academic achievement and leadership. Professors have an internationally leading reputation for shaping and developing their field of study and can demonstrate a highly distinguished past and continuing track record of academic achievement and leadership. Professors will bring significant prestige to the University as universally acknowledged world leaders in shaping and developing their field of study. Professors can demonstrate an esteemed record of academic excellence and leadership at the highest international level.

Appointment

Protocol

Normal entry point for those newly promoted or appointed externally as a Professor.  Zone 1 allows for new professors to develop their academic standing. Core zone where most Professors will spend the majority of their career with the goal of progressing to zone 3.  External appointments can only be made where the appointee is able to demonstrate a sustained track record of high performance within another institution.  The step difference in contribution between zones 2 and 3 is assumed to be significantly higher than the difference between zones 1 and 2.  External appointments to this zone will only be made where a Professor can demonstrate a sustained track record at the highest international level. It is expected that only a small number of Professors will meet the criteria for zone 4. Professors may be appointed directly to this zone in exceptional circumstances.

There are also detailed Professorial Zoning Descriptors for each of the zones that lay out expected contributions for each of the criteria at each level.

Zoning Criteria

The Professorial Zoning Descriptors have been developed by working groups of senior academic staff from across the University, and endorsed by the Professorial Zoning Steering Group. There are ten criteria grouped under the themes of Research, Learning and Teaching, Knowledge Exchange and Citizenship. Further details of the criteria and indicators for these under each of the zones can be found in the Professorial Zoning Descriptors. 

Timetable

A high level timetable for the implementation of zoning is shown below.

Professorial Zoning Timetable 2016-17

 

Further details on the implementation process can be found in the Professorial Zoning Matching Process Guidance Note

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs have been developed by the project team and will be added to as the project progresses. If you have any additional questions email profzoning-project@strath.ac.uk, discuss this with your Head of Department/School or contact your HR Manager.

 

Q: Why is the University changing the pay arrangements for professors?

A: Professorial Zoning will deliver:

  • A fair and transparent system that engages staff,  recognises their relative contributions and provides a clear pathway for career development and succession planning
  • A framework that identifies and differentiates professorial performance levels and expectations
  • A focus on Professorial activities, behaviours and contribution that are reflective of University strategy

 

Q: How many zones are there?

A: There are four professorial zones within the Professorial zoning framework. Each of the zones are described using criteria related to research, learning and teaching, knowledge exchange and citizenship. These are outlined in the Professorial Zoning Descriptors.

 

Q: How will the zones be distributed?

A: Based on the pilot process and experiences of other Universities it is expected that the majority of professors will be matched to zones one and two. The exact distribution will not be known until the matching process is complete.

Zone 1

Normal entry point for those newly promoted or appointed externally as a Professor.  Zone 1 allows for new professors to develop their academic standing.

Zone 2

Core zone where most Professors will spend the majority of their career with the goal of progressing to zone 3.  External appointments can only be made where the appointee is able to demonstrate a sustained track record of high performance within another institution

Zone 3

The step difference in contribution between zones 2 and 3 is assumed to be significantly higher than the difference between zones 1 and 2.  External appointments to this zone will only be made where a Professor can demonstrate a sustained track record at the highest international level.

Zone 4

It is expected that only a small number of Professors will meet the criteria for zone 4. Professors may be appointed directly to this zone in exceptional circumstances.

 

  

Q: How will professorial zoning help my career development?

A: Professorial zoning will enhance the clarity of senior academic career paths, through the publication of detailed criteria for each zone and through related performance and development discussions and feedback.

 

Q: Who designed the new system?

A: The final Professorial Zoning system has been developed as a result of the inputs of a range of academic staff across all of the Faculties. A Professorial Zoning Steering Group, with representation from the Faculties, Finance and HR, is overseeing the development and implementation of the new system.  The Steering Group established four Working Groups made up of a wide range of academic staff in order to develop the detailed zone criteria. During the implementation phase of the project, there will be regular communications with relevant stakeholders, e.g. current professors, Faculty management teams, Heads of Department/School.

 

Q: Is the University intending to achieve cost savings through this scheme?

A: The purpose of introducing Professorial Zoning is not to make cost savings but to ensure that our professorial population has an improved pay, reward and performance structure.  In the short term there may be additional cost to the University as a result of salary assimilation arrangements and in the longer term the exercise is expected to be cost neutral.

 

Q: Will my pay increase as a result of moving to the new pay arrangements?

A: Most staff will see no change to their salary.  It is expect that in a small number of cases there will be increases where an individual is matched to a zone with a salary range that is higher than their existing salary.  There may also be some cases where an individual is allocated to a zone with a salary range that is less than their current salary. Where this is the case salary protection arrangements will be put in place for a time limited period and this will be discussed on an individual basis with those concerned. 

 

Q: What is involved in the matching process?

A: The matching process to move staff on to the new structure will involve an assessment of every professor using the zoning criteria. Each professor will be able to provide evidence to inform this process through an online template. The template will also include relevant data from the Pure system from 1 January 2010 onwards which will also be made available to matching panels. Heads of Department, Executive Deans and appropriate panels will be involved in the process of reviewing professorial contribution and assigning zones. Further details on the implementation process can be found in the Matching Process Guidance Note.

 

Q: What criteria will be used to allocate professors to a zone?

A: Specific criteria have been developed by cross-Faculty Working Groups, using the key academic activity themes of research, teaching, knowledge exchange and citizenship. These were piloted earlier in 2015 and have been refined based on feedback from the pilot process. Further details are available in the Professorial Zoning Descriptors

 

Q: Have discipline specific criteria been developed?

A: The Working Groups sought to develop general criteria that can be broadly applied with due regard to academic discipline characteristics.

 

Q: Will I have to fill out additional paperwork?

A: Completion of an online template will be necessary as part of the initial implementation process but thereafter performance against zones will normally be covered by normal processes (e.g. ADR, SARD), as amended to fit with the new arrangements.  Where an individual is being considered for progression to a higher zone specific evidence will be required.

 

Q: Who will review my performance and development in the new system?

A: Heads of Department, Executive Deans and a University panel will each play a role in the review process, as is the case currently.  These arrangements will be updated to fit with the new zone structure.

 

Q: How often will my performance and salary be formally reviewed?

A: It is expected that the performance and development of professorial staff will continue to be formally reviewed on an annual basis through the ADR and SARD processes taking account of the Professorial Zone individuals are matched to.

 

Q: Is there scope for pay changes within a zone?

A: It is anticipated that each zone will have a salary range and that, similar to the current SARD process, salary adjustments will be selective and determined by an annual performance review process overseen by a University level panel.

 

Q: Is there any flexibility in the new system to pay higher where labour market forces may require a salary higher than the zone system may suggest?

A: It is recognised that there may be times where market forces dictate that a higher salary be paid than the zone system allows.  In these cases, Professors will be allocated to an appropriate zone based on their academic achievement and contribution. Additional market supplements may be paid dependent on the individual circumstances.  In these cases, any additional payments will be subject to a robust authorisation process and periodic review. 

 

Q: Does this mean that the ADR system is going to change?

A: The basic principles of ADR will remain the same. The online forms will be revised for future reviews to consider what changes may be necessary to fit with professorial zoning requirements. In 2015-16 the requirements for Professors will be reduced. In addition to the ADR meeting Professors will only be required to provide progress against objectives for the review year and set future objectives for the following review year within the ADR system. The remaining sections of the online form will be optional for reviews undertaken during 2016.

 

Q: Does this mean that the SARD system is going to change?

A: It is expected that the basic principles of the SARD process will remain the same but changes will be required to ensure that progress within and across zones is considered.

 

Q: How will the new system impact on current recruitment practices?

A: The zone structure will enable recruiting managers to clearly determine the level at which a professorial appointment will be made. It is intended that vacancies will not normally be advertised on a particular zone but as appointment decisions are made, consideration will be given to the zone that the candidate best fits and salary placement will be in line with this.

 

Steering and Working Groups

Professorial Zoning Steering Group

Remit 

  • To establish appropriate methods of consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders to shape the design and implementation of Professorial Zoning.
  • To oversee the design and development of an effective system of Professorial Zoning which is appropriate for the professorial population and aligned to the strategic direction and values of the University of Strathclyde.
  • To oversee the successful implementation of Professorial Zoning within the University of Strathclyde
  • To report recommendations to the Executive Team and to Staff Committee as appropriate. 

Membership

The Professorial Zoning Steering Group comprised the following members:

  • Professor Scott MacGregor, Vice-Principal (Convener)
  • Mr David Coyle, Chief Financial Officer                          
  • Professor David Hillier, Executive Dean                                                   
  • Professor Robert Martin, Vice Dean (Research)
  • Dr Anja Lowit, Vice Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange)
  • Professor Lisa Woolfson, Professor of Psychology
  • Mr Gordon Scott, Deputy Director of Human Resources           

 

Professorial Zoning Working Groups 

Four Professorial Zoning Working Groups met during the spring of 2015 to develop draft zoning criteria.  

Remit 

  • To develop detailed criteria for the assigned theme area of Research, Teaching, Knowledge Exchange or Citizenship.
  • To ensure that cross-cutting aspects are captured, e.g. internationalisation, values
  • To make recommendations in the form of a proposed set of criteria for the assigned theme area shall be reported to the Steering Group

Membership 

There were four working groups across the themes, Research, Teaching, Knowledge Exchange and Citizenship as follows:

Research Teaching Knowledge Exchange Citizenship
Walter Johnstone (Chair)
Robert Martin
Ian Wooton
Robert Thomson
Gail McConnell
Rebecca Lunn
Lisa Woolfson (Chair)
Andrew McLaren
Christopher Prior
Mark Ellis
Helyn Thornbury Gould
David Nash
Sara Carter
Tim Bedford (Chair)
Tony Mulholland
Anja Lowit
Branka Dimitrijevic
Patricia Findlay
Anthony Gachagan
Alex Duffy (Chair)
Linda Harvey
David Hillier
Ashraf Salama
Andrew Kendrick

  Each working group was supported by the Human Resources Team.

Pilot Process

A professorial zoning pilot was carried out in the summer of 2015 involving a representative sample of 35 professors from across all faculties. The pilot tested the validity and reliability of the draft zoning criteria, documentation, governance and process. It also assessed ease of use and appropriateness of the supporting data gathered from the Pure system.

Following the pilot process, the Steering Group set up a Sub-Group to consider the feedback in order to further enhance the zoning framework and ensure that the zoning framework was Strathclyde centric. In particular the Sub-Group considered refinement of the zone allocation principles and amendments to the zoning criteria. The proposed matching process was also reviewed in light of the pilot feedback.

The following changes and refinements to the Professorial Zoning framework were made as a result of the pilot and feeback received  through engagement sessions.

  • Two of the Knowledge Exchange criteria were combined  to cover external engagement and reach.
  • The teaching criteria were refined to ensure that active contribution through high quality research-informed-teaching can be more fully recognised along with the impact of formal leadership roles.
  • The zone allocation principles were enhanced to ensure they were Strathclyde centric and to reflect that Professors were unlikely to contribute equally across all ten of the criteria.
  • Greater time was added to the process to allow completion of templates and quality and consistency checking within Departments and at Faculty level.
  • An online template has been developed that integrates Pure data to make completion of the template easier.

The guidance for the matching process, template completion and the FAQ's have also been developed to incorporate lessons learned and feedback from the pilot process.

Briefings

Faculty briefing sessions for Professors were held in January/February 2016:

Two open briefing sessions were previously held for professorial staff in April 2015 prior to the pilot being undertaken. A copy of the presentation slides can be found below for information:

Key Contacts

Should you have any questions regarding the implementation of Professorial Zoning please email profzoning-project@strath.ac.uk.

Alternatively you can discuss these with your Head of Department/School, Executive Dean and/or your HR Manager.

Zone Distribution

The distribution of professors within zones is summarised in the pie chart below. 

Prof Zoning Distribution Chart      

Zone 1 (22%) - International reputation and established track record of achievement.

Zone 2 (53%) - Established international reputation and sustained record of academic achievement and leadership.

Zone 3 (22%) - International leading reputation and highly distinguished continuing track record of achievement and leadership.

Zone 4 (3%) - Recognised world leaders with an esteemed record of academic excellence and leadership at the highest international level.