Vice-Chancellor's Review of Confirmation Progress Reports
The Vice-Chancellor has asked the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) to review on his behalf all Confirmation Progress Reports. If necessary, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) will draw the report to the Vice-Chancellor's attention. If either the Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) has concerns about the report they will draw these to the attention of both the staff member concerned and his/her Head of Department and/or Dean (where appropriate).
Except for Professorial appointments, the confirmation period shall be five years.
For Professors, the confirmation period shall be determined by the Vice-Chancellor at the time of appointment, taking into consideration the skills and experience of the appointee. The minimum period shall be three years.
Prior service within the University of Otago or any other University shall not be recognised as part of the confirmation path appointment.
The University expects that, subject to satisfactory performance in teaching, assessment and curriculum development, research and/or professional practice and service, the initial appointment for any person who is appointed to a confirmable position as a member of the academic staff in this University as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor or Professor shall normally lead to confirmation after the confirmation period.
Early confirmation for these staff may be granted, subject to the staff member meeting the performance expectations of the University in terms of teaching, assessment and curriculum development, research and/or professional practice and service. Early confirmation will be considered by the Staffing Advisory Committee if the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International) assesses that the matter should be considered and the Head of Department, Dean (if appropriate) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor support the recommendation.
Consideration of confirmation of appointment may be deferred for a period of 12 months beyond the agreed confirmation period when the University believes that an extension of time will provide the staff member with a reasonable opportunity to improve and meet the University's expectations regarding teaching, assessment and curriculum development, research and/or professional practice and service.
At the end of the confirmation period (or 12 month deferral period), and subject to proper process being followed, the University will decide whether or not to confirm the staff member as a permanent employee.
In cases of non-confirmation and subject to proper process having been followed, the employee will receive notice that their employment is terminated. The reason for the notice period is to give the employee time to arrange alternative employment.
Decisions relating to confirmation and non-confirmation will normally be notified to the staff member concerned at least three months before the end of the confirmation period, or, in the case of a staff member whose confirmation of appointment has been deferred for 12 months, three months before the end of the deferral period.
Staff appointed to a Confirmation path position must normally be employed for at least 0.4 FTE.
For various reasons, Heads of Department and staff members sometimes may agree to reduce the hours worked by a confirmation path staff member to less than 0.4 FTE. In such cases, the Head of Department and staff member must consider how to manage the confirmation path position.
If a staff member’s FTE drops below 0.4 for less than six months then the only effect may be to delay the next confirmation path report and recognise the possibility that final confirmation may need to be deferred for a few months to achieve the objectives and standards.
If a staff member’s FTE drops below 0.4 for more than six months it may be necessary to suspend the confirmation path appointment for this period.
Suspension from confirmation path positions means that staff members:
- continue to be employed by the University – either by being on reduced hours (below 0.4 FTE), on parental leave, on sick leave (paid or unpaid) or on leave without pay; and
- are considered to be on the confirmation path but with the requirement to provide reports suspended until up to 12 months after their return to 0.4 FTE or more; and
- normally have a return date set at the time of the suspension, or if that is not possible, a specified review date, as agreed by the staff member, the Head of Department and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International).
In the event that the staff member does not return to 0.4 FTE or more at the end of the suspension period, Heads of Department normally would need to consider alternative employment arrangements. In some cases, the suspension may be extended after taking into account the needs of both the University and the staff member.
In most circumstances it may be unrealistic to expect staff members to make significant progress towards achieving their objectives. However, any publications or other outputs which contribute to the achievement of these objectives will be recognised as contributing to the achievement of these objectives if the work is done at the University of Otago. Work done elsewhere while on leave without pay may be recognised.
When the staff member resumes hours equal to or great than 0.4 FTE, annual reporting would resume. Normally the objectives would not be changed.
In all cases where the hours change significantly, the Head of Department and the staff member must agree to the arrangements and advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International). If the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) becomes aware that a confirmation path appointee’s hours have been reduced below 0.4 FTE, he may ask the Head of Department to develop a suitable arrangement to deal with the situation.
Within the first three months of appointment the Head of Department (or Dean if applicable) will establish the performance standards to be met during the confirmation period.
During the confirmation period, progress reports will be requested from the respective Head of Department, Dean (where applicable) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at 6 months, 18 months and then 12 monthly intervals thereafter, with the final report being 6 months prior to the end of confirmation.
Confirmation of appointment will normally be considered at the time of the final report. Alternatively, the Head of Department may recommend at that time that consideration of confirmation be deferred for 12 months to allow for the achievement of the performance standards required for confirmation. Should this deferral be approved by the Staffing Advisory Committee, a further report will be requested six months before the extended term expires.
In the case of a staff member who has fully met the University's performance expectations prior to the end of the confirmation period, the Head of Department may recommend at that time that early confirmation of appointment be granted.
The policy for early confirmation is that:
- Standards and objectives must be set and formally approved in the 6 month report (if appointed on or after 1 December 2005) or in the 12 month report (if appointed before 1 December 2005); no consideration will be given to confirmation earlier than a 30 month or 36 month report;
- Early confirmation cannot be applied for and will only be considered by Staffing Advisory Committee on the recommendation of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) arising from a review of the achievement of objectives and standards by Human Resources and with the endorsement of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor;
- Early Confirmation will only be approved where the agreed objectives and standards have been fully met.
During the confirmation period, the notice period is not less than three months and thereafter six months.