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Academic Development Program (ADP) Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy outlines the principles and conditions associated with Western Sydney University's Academic Development Program (ADP), the application and assessment process, and the responsibilities of employees participating in the program.

(2) This policy should be read in conjunction with the Academic Staff Agreement 2022, the Professional Development Policy, the Code of Conduct, the Conflict of Interest Policy, the Travel Policy and the Academic Development Program Guidelines which are available from the ADP website.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(3) The definition of Academic Development Program is located in the Policy DDS Glossary.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) This Policy supports the Academic Staff Agreement 2022.

(5) ADP will generally involve working with colleagues at other institutions, either overseas or within Australia.

(6) The planned activities and outcomes of a Program are expected to relate closely to the goals of the University's Strategic Plan, to the needs of the applicant’s organisational unit, and to the objectives of the applicant’s Professional Development Review.

(7) An ADP assists academic employees to pursue one or more of the following activities:

  1. engage in individual or collaborative research or scholarship that will lead to the enhancement of the individual and the University's research profile
  2. remain up-to-date with significant developments in their academic discipline or community, and establish strong links with other key universities, industry and government bodies through collaboration and joint work with leaders in the field
  3. undertake a major scholarly activity (e.g. writing for publication, preparation for an exhibition or performance)
  4. undertake a major body of work on a new or existing research project
  5. investigate and develop innovative ways to enhance the quality of undergraduate and postgraduate student learning and teaching.
  6. acquire new skills and knowledge that can be applied to their teaching or research
  7. work collaboratively with industry and government bodies for the purpose of developing ongoing partnerships that will benefit the University
  8. undertake a postdoctoral period to complete the writing of articles or other research-related activities
  9. take up a prestigious fellowship or award
  10. undertake strategic curriculum development such as an approved special project with Badugulang, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and/or
  11. engage in other programs deemed relevant by the Vice-Chancellor and President, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Presidents, Provost, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Deans or Directors.

(8) Other than in exceptional circumstances, an ADP will not be granted to:

  1. undertake regular work such as that outlined in a School or unit work plan policy or a work plan
  2. pursue formal research higher degree studies
  3. staff located within University Research Institutes

(9) ADP applications will be assessed on the merit of the individual program being applied for and will be granted in accordance with the conditions set out in this policy and the ADP Guidelines. Non-traditional patterns of achievement will be taken into account in the process, such as may be demonstrated by part-time staff, women, Indigenous staff, people with disabilities and people from non-English speaking backgrounds. Particular consideration will be given to the impact that career breaks and part-time employment have had on applicants with carer responsibilities, and accomplishments determined relative to opportunity.

(10) The University sets conditions relating to applying for, granting and the taking of an ADP. These conditions may include but are not limited to:

  1. the number of applications approved
  2. the duration of the ADP
  3. eligibility to apply
  4. the amount of any financial support if applicable and
  5. the reporting requirements upon completion.

(11) The number of applicants approved in any year may be limited by the University's operational constraints.

(12) The ADP Committee has the authority to approve ADP applications, except where additional approval is specified within the ADP Guidelines. Financial delegation in relation to this policy is covered in the Delegations of Authority Policy.

(13) Employees on an approved ADP are considered to be on duty and must abide by the University's policies and procedures, and requirements of the Academic Staff Agreement 2022. Employees granted ADP who do not comply with the conditions of their ADP as set out in this policy and the ADP Guidelines may be required to repay the University some or all of the salary paid to them during the period of their ADP and any other travel assistance provided by the University, and/or be subject to discipline as outlined in the Academic Staff Agreement 2022.

(14) The Health Safety and Wellbeing Policy sets out the University's obligations to ensure a safe working environment for its employees, and this includes while on an ADP. Employees granted an ADP are covered by the University's workers compensation provisions. Therefore, ADP applications must be considered in terms of risk to the employee, including during periods of proposed travel. The Travel Policy outlines the University's position on travel risk management.

Eligibility to Apply for an ADP

(15) An academic employee is eligible to apply for ADP if:

  1. their employment is ongoing or fixed-term* and they have completed three years (36 months) continuous service (excluding periods of leave without pay which do not count as service**) by the commencement date of the proposed period of ADP, or since their return from a previous period of ADP; and
  2. they have a current work plan, have satisfactorily met all requirements of probationary and performance planning and development processes, and any requirements related to a previous ADP (where applicable).
* Note: where a fixed-term academic employee's application is successful, the ADP will only be granted if the employment continues (either fixed-term or ongoing) for a period equal to double the length of the ADP.
** Unpaid maternity leave will count for service for an ADP.

(16) An academic employee is not eligible to apply for ADP if they:

  1. have, as part of their contract of employment, an agreed period of study or professional development, or
  2. hold a senior appointment such as a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vice-President, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean, Director, Research Institute or Deputy Dean, or equivalent as determined by the Chief People Officer, noting that an application may be submitted prior to the conclusion of the appointment or
  3. are subject to processes relating to unsatisfactory conduct, unsatisfactory performance, or misconduct or serious misconduct as prescribed by the Academic Staff Agreement 2022.

(17) Recognition of prior service as an academic employee at another Australian university for the purposes of eligibility will be determined by the Chief People Officer:

  1. that a period of no more than two months has elapsed between the cessation of employment with the previous Australian university and the commencement of employment with Western Sydney University; and
  2. proof of the prior service and the date of any ADP taken during that period of service is provided by the previous employer.
Note: exceptions are where, as part of an employment contract, an academic employee has negotiated a date to apply for ADP.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(18) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(19) The guidelines that implement this policy are available from the Academic Development Program website.