The University has implemented a number of changes to address issues identified by staff feedback in the 2014 myVoice staff engagement survey. For example, 2014 survey results identified career opportunities as an area for improvement and a number of initiatives across the University are being implemented to address this need.
For example, the Faculty of Law and Business has implemented a Managing Excellence program to assist academic staff with planning for their career. Individual meetings were arranged for each academic staff member to sit with the Head of School and the Associate Dean Learning and Teaching and the Associate Dean Research to discuss their career plans.
“These conversations enabled staff to discuss their career aspirations, and to understand the University’s strategic direction and expectations and then plan their careers accordingly,” Associate Dean Learning and Teaching , Professor Kay Souter said.
“In research for example, there is a particular strategy that ACU is pursuing and it is working very well, but this has not always been fully understood by some staff members.”
“Also, a number of staff commented that they found the opportunity to go through the recently developed Teaching Standards and Criteria Framework really useful.”
Professor Souter said the document is a comprehensive matrix of the standards expected for each Academic level, and gives clarity to the evidence used to measure excellence in teaching. She said academic staff had previously have tried to work this out for themselves, and not always hit the mark.
“I know I’ve done that myself when I was a younger academic. I mistakenly thought I was doing all the right things, and it can come as a bit of a shock later when you realise that you haven’t hit the mark in terms of the University's strategic direction. So I think this program has been really useful in giving staff a very clear idea of what targets to shoot for.”
Career Planning Resources
Meanwhile, in the Corporate Services portfolio a focus group was formed to workshop career planning needs with staff, and then the University developed more resources to assist staff and supervisors during career planning conversations.
These resources for Professional Staff were launched last year through a series of information sessions, and feedback has been positive. Staff member Marta Balnaves, who works as an Administrative Officer in Graduations Team on North Sydney campus, says attending one of these sessions was very useful. She says the session provided the opportunity she needed to sit down and reflect on her career direction and future possibilities.
“I would highly recommend other staff attend an info session to learn about the new career planning resources. It gives you a different view,” Marta said.
“We’re all busy in our roles, but you need to find time to think about your future roles. I found the career self-assessment sheet really helpful. Being prompted to look at my interests, achievements and skills and write down my thoughts in this way was really helpful for figuring it out. It enabled me to be more open-minded about what I might like to do in the future.”
Marta said she believes that ACU provides a good variety of learning resources and development opportunities for staff.
“I’ve been using the online Lynda Library since I started here at ACU, and I’ve learned so much from the videos. Especially training courses on Excel which gave me confidence in creating and formatting spreadsheets and charts, sorting, filtering and analyzing data.
“It’s a really good tool, there’s hundreds and hundreds of videos on a lot of topics. I have even downloaded the Lynda Library app on my mobile phone also, so you can even watch a little six-minute lesson on the bus on the way to work.”
Marta said the increased training workshops being offered to ACU staff showed that the University was supportive of staff development.
Marta also appreciates that her supervisor supported herself and another colleague to attend a business writing workshop with an external facilitator recently. “That was a good course, we were both really pleased with it.”
“I think the work ACU has done in this area shows that it does support career development, and I find the ACU workshops are also good for networking with staff from other departments.”
Have your say
The 2017 myVoice survey will be open to all continuing, fixed-term, casual and sessional staff - look out for an email on 27 March which will contain your invitation and a hyperlink to the survey.
The myVoice survey collects staff feedback confidentially and ensures that individual responses are unidentifiable in the aggregated results that are returned to ACU. The University-wide results from the myVoice survey will be communicated back to staff mid-year.