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Conjoint Appointments Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

Purpose of Policy

(1) The purpose of this policy is to establish the processes for creating and renewing conjoint academic appointments at Western Sydney University. The policy is written specifically for the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Midwifery, and School of Science and Health (because of their particular reliance on such positions) but the policy framework may be used in similar circumstances for other disciplines, subject to approval.

Objectives

(2) To enable effective clinical teaching and/or research linkages between the University Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, and Science and Health and their teaching institutions such as hospitals and other clinical teaching settings. A further objective is to allow for cross-appointments of academic staff between a primary School or organisational unit within the University (which holds the budget for the position and within which the position primarily reports) and another School or unit, for the mutual research and/or teaching benefit of both Schools or units.

Background to Conjoint Appointments

(3) A typical purpose for such a linked appointment is to provide clinical teaching for the University's medical, nursing and health science students by non-University employees in hospitals and in other sites of clinical practice. In some schools, the majority of clinical teaching is done in this way. The teacher's substantive position may be as a staff specialist, visiting medical practitioner, hospital registrar, registered nurse, registered midwife, registered health professional or practitioner in a private practice setting. The conjoint nature of the relationship lies in the appointee's ability to carry out the teaching or research role for the University being dependent on their other, substantive, position.

(4) The appointment benefits the University as a result of the cooperation that it fosters with the other institution - by expanding the capacity for productive research and/or by providing teaching that is of high relevance to the University and generally not obtainable in other ways.

(5) When the policy is used to make a conjoint appointment to another School or unit, the appointment benefits the University by demonstrating and facilitating a substantive teaching or research linkage between the Schools or units. This may be of importance, for instance, to authenticate the linkage for external granting bodies or for bodies that externally accredit courses.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(6) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Junior Medical Officers - are newly graduated doctors (MBBS) who work in hospitals and general practices in positions providing patient care.
  2. Registered health professionals - are qualified health professionals registered to practice in their discipline area who provide patient care in public or private health care organisations.
  3. Registered Midwives - are expert clinical midwives involved in providing patient care or leading nursing research or clinical management developments.
  4. Registered Nurses - are expert clinical nurses involved in providing patient care or leading nursing research or clinical management developments.
  5. Registrars and Fellows - are trainee specialists in hospitals or teaching general practices (General Practice is now included as a specialty).
  6. Staff Specialists - are medical practitioners who provide care for patients in public hospitals on a full-time or nearly full-time basis under the Salaried Senior Medical Practitioners (State) Award. Performing medical research and teaching are generally included in their position descriptions.
  7. Visiting Medical Practitioners - are medical practitioners who provide care for patients in public hospitals on a part-time basis.
[NB. Registered refers to registration through the relevant national board as operationalised by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.]
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(7) The University will offer conjoint academic appointments where the appointee is to be attached to a unit of the University, on an entirely or predominantly honorary basis, and where the linkage to their substantive position in an external body such as a hospital or teaching practice or to another School or organisational unit within the University, is advantageous for the teaching or research performance of the University or both. Unlike an adjunct or visiting appointment, the linkage with the other institution, or School or unit, is essential to the success of the relationship.

(8) Duration of appointments will normally be for three years, but with a maximum of five years, (with the exception of Junior Medical Officers, whose appointments would be for the maximum of one year), but will be renewable following the procedures in Section 4.

(9) Levels of appointment are:

  1. Conjoint Professor
    1. The title is conferred when the person is recognised as a leading national or international authority, with a sustained and in-depth record in a designated area relevant to the University's interests, who is able to provide leadership in this area on behalf of the University. It would generally be considered that this position would demonstrate leadership in teaching, clinical practice and professional activity, community leadership or research.
  2. Conjoint Associate Professor
    1. The title is conferred when the person is recognised as a significant authority, with a sustained and in-depth record in a designated area relevant to the University's interests, who is able to provide leadership in this area on behalf of the University.
  3. Conjoint Senior Lecturer and Lecturer
    1. These titles are conferred when the person is recognised as a respected contributor in a designated area relevant to the University's interests, who is able to participate effectively in this area on behalf of the University. The proposed level of appointment is commensurate with that of a Level C or Level B academic staff member, although level of achievement in a profession may be an important consideration, as an alternative to achievements in teaching and research.
  4. Conjoint Associate Lecturer
    1. This title is conferred when the person is a valued but junior contributor in a designated area relevant to the University's interests. An example is a hospital or community medicine junior medical officer or registrar who undertakes some clinical teaching for the University. The normal duration of an appointment at this level is one year.

(10) Conjoint appointees from organisations outside the University:

  1. Are accorded the normal rights and privileges of University staff (either academic or general), except that they may not become members of formal workplace committees except by decision of that committee, or vote in University elections (unless otherwise provided for in the University's bylaw or rules).
  2. Are entitled to nominate the University as host institution for the purpose of research applications, with the University administering any grants and associated staff appointments. Any publications resulting from the research must recognise the University.
  3. Appointees at the level of Conjoint Senior Lecturer and above are eligible to be co-supervisors of higher degree candidates.
  4. May represent the University in professional forums, conferences, and seminars, and are acknowledged in official University or other rolls.
  5. With respect to their university functions, are governed by the policies, rules and regulations of the University, and are responsible to the head of the appropriate University unit, where applicable.
  6. Are not eligible to undertake paid teaching for the University when the teaching activity is part of their normal responsibilities at their employing institution, but may receive remuneration for casual teaching under other circumstances if approved by the Dean or Deputy Dean of the School.
  7. Are not appointed as an alternative to normal competitive recruitment and appointment processes for academic staff. Thus, if paid employment with the university other than casual teaching is to be entered into by a conjoint appointee, it should rarely exceed ten hours per week and the appointee will be issued with a separate contract of employment, which will need to meet normal industrial and other requirements.
  8. May, however, receive non-salary remuneration (e.g. a living allowance or allowance for work-related expenses, as appropriate).
  9. Will have an identified academic 'supervisor' who will be a member of University staff and who will assist in identifying opportunities for contributions and assess the value of those contributions.
  10. May be eligible to have their appointment renewed at the end of an initial or subsequent appointment. Renewal is based on demonstrable, positive contributions during the preceding period of appointment.
  11. May terminate the association with the University at any time, upon mutual consent. The Vice-Chancellor and President may terminate the appointment at any time in writing.
  12. When engaged on University business are covered by the University's insurances for the following, public liability, professional liability, medical malpractice and clinical trials.

(11) Conjoint appointments from units within the University:

  1. May participate in advisory bodies within the host School but for the purpose of formal representation or election to workplace or academic bodies such as Academic Senate or its committees can only do so within their primary or home School.
  2. May undertake teaching in the host School in accordance with workload policies and principles and relevant employment agreements.
  3. May terminate the appointment with the host School at any time, upon mutual consent. The Dean or Deputy Dean of the host School may terminate the appointment at any time in writing.

(12) Conjoint staff members who are attached to a unit of the University may, upon approval of the Dean, have access to unit resources.

(13) Professional development progressions for conjoint academic appointments is encouraged especially where this allows the University to promote excellence and innovation in the areas of:

  1. Achievement in research;
  2. Experience and achievement in teaching;
  3. Contribution to Professional or Institutional leadership and governance;
  4. Contribution to clinical service in a relevant clinical arena.

(14) Evidence of the initiation, or undertaking of successful entrepreneurial activities on behalf of the University, and its relevant School, is admissible to support a case for progression.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Appointment and Renewal for Clinical and/or Research Staff Already Appointed to the External Body

(15) Appointments will be initiated usually by the head of the relevant teaching or research unit within the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Midwifery or School of Science and Health who will make a proposal to the Dean. The proposal will include:

  1. current curriculum vitae of the individual;
  2. a completed Application for Recommendation for a Conjoint Appointment form;
  3. details of current and expected contribution to the School;
  4. a recommendation for the level of appointment, in accordance with the guidelines in clause 9 above and other guidelines that may be provided currently by the School;
  5. proposed period of attachment to the University, including a termination date;
  6. statement about the ownership of intellectual property generated during, and as a result of, the appointment (ownership would normally be the University's but shared ownership with a Health Service may also be negotiated); and
  7. any special conditions.

(16) In the case of Conjoint appointments below the level of Professor:

  1. Appointments at level of Conjoint Associate Professor are approved by the School Dean, as recommended by the School, and the file forwarded to the Office of Human Resources (HR) for the appropriate letter to be issued by the Executive Director, Human Resources to the conjoint appointee.
  2. Appointments at levels up to Conjoint Senior Lecturer are approved by the School Dean, and the file is forwarded to HR as above.

(17) In the case of Conjoint Professor appointments:

  1. The School Dean will either refer it to the:
    1. Appointments and Progressions Committee (School of Medicine (School Med)), or an alternative suitable panel, who will
      1. reject the application;
      2. suggest that another category be considered;
      3. endorse it and refer it to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Academic or Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Research, Engagement, Development and International, as relevant; or
    2. The relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor with the recommendation that it be reviewed by the Visiting and Adjunct Appointment Reference Panel.
  2. The relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor will recommend professorial appointments to the Vice-Chancellor and President, who is the approving authority, following which the papers go to the Office of Human Resources as in clause 16.
  3. The relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor and President may (but is not obliged to) refer the matter to the Panel for evaluation. Where the matter has been referred to the Panel, the Panel then makes a recommendation back to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor and President and the latter then proceeds to determine the application.

(18) The process for approvals for renewal at existing levels will mirror the processes outlined above.

(19) In instances where an individual holding a conjoint appointment determines that they are unable to continue to contribute to the work of the relevant School, they will be invited to relinquish the appointment 'without prejudice' and be eligible to seek re-appointment at a late date.

Part B - Appointment of Conjoint Staff Simultaneously with their Appointment by the External Body

(20) In instances where an external body (usually a teaching hospital or a medical research institute) and the University wish to jointly advertise for a senior position in the external body, indicating that the successful applicant may be offered a conjoint position with the University, it may be possible to determine the likely level of conjoint appointment offered to potential applicant(s) prior to finalisation of the external body's recruitment process. The following procedure allows a fast-tracking of the process for awarding a conjoint title, available to be used when it advantages the external body in its recruitment efforts.

(21) In the case of potential Conjoint Professor appointments, the procedure is:

  1. Academic referees are sought in advance and the Dean is consulted.
  2. Appointments are made by selection panels constituted in accordance with the procedures of the external body but including the Vice-Chancellor and President (or nominee), the Dean (or nominee), a professor from the relevant School (nominated by the Dean) and the Chair, Academic Senate (or nominee). The University representatives on the selection panel should make up a minority of its total membership.
  3. Immediately after the selection panel has decided on its preferred candidate, the committee reconvenes under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor and President or nominee to determine the appropriate level of conjoint appointment to offer (or to recommend for approval by the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (for Level C and D) or the Vice-Chancellor and President (for Level E) if s/he is not present but represented on the committee by a nominee).
  4. The substantive position will then be offered by the external body, which may indicate in its letter of offer that the University has agreed to a Conjoint Professorial appointment.
  5. When the substantive (e.g. hospital or research institute) position has been accepted, the Dean or Deputy Dean of the School will forward the file to HR, who will write to the candidate as in clause 16 above.

(22) When the level of conjoint appointment is expected to be Conjoint Associate Professor, the selection panel will include the Dean or Deputy Dean of the School (or nominee) and two other academic members of the University at the level of Associate Professor or above. If the selection panel recommend appointment at this level, a recommendation is forwarded to the Dean of the School for approval to HR. If the Dean was on the selection panel (i.e. not a nominee), the recommendation is forwarded to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Academic.

(23) For appointments below the level of Conjoint Associate Professor, the selection panel should normally include at least one academic member (or conjoint member) of the School of Medicine. Once the position has been accepted, a request for Conjoint appointment can be dealt with expeditiously by the School Dean as in Part A above.

Part C - Appointment of Conjoint Staff Already Employed Within the University

(24) For appointments of staff already employed at the University in other Schools or units the procedures outlined above under Part A should be followed. In addition, the proposal for the appointment as provided for under clause 13 must include the endorsement of the Dean of the home School or unit of the staff member.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part D - Professional Development Progression

(25) As part of a conjoint appointment's continuing professional development, they will be able to apply for professional development progression. This allows conjoint appointments to continue to develop their relationship with the University and vice versa, over the course of their career.

(26) Professional development progression for conjoint appointments will be considered as part of a conjoint appointment's annual review or upon renewal of an appointment. Where a conjoint appointment wishes to be considered for professional development progression at that time, the following process applies:

  1. The applicant will provide an application of no more than one page that includes evidence relevant to Section 3, (13) above.
  2. Applications to Level B will be reviewed by the relevant Clinical Dean (in the case of Medicine) or relevant Director, Academic Program and a recommendation made to the Dean of the School within two weeks of the application being lodged.
  3. Applications to Levels C, D and E:
    1. will, in the case of the School of Medicine, go to the School Appointments and Progression Committee for consideration within four weeks. Academic references (two for level E) will be sought. The committee recommendations for Level C and D will go to the Dean of the School for approval.
    2. will, for other Schools, go to the Dean who will convene a suitable panel to consider applications within 4 weeks. Academic references (two for level E) will be sought. The committee recommendations for Level C and D will go to the Dean of the School for approval.
  4. The committee/panel recommendations for Level E will go to the relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor for endorsement. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President will recommend professorial progression to the Vice-Chancellor and President, who is the approving authority.
  5. Notification of approval is forwarded to HR for the appropriate letter to be issued by the Executive Director, Human Resources to the conjoint appointee.

(27) The relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor and President may (but is not obliged to) seek external advice to assist in evaluation.