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Confirmation path

Reports on progress are required from Heads of Departments at regular intervals.

Confirmation path process

All new academic staff hired on a confirmation path (or "tenure track" as it may be known elsewhere), must prove they can successfully meet clear performance objectives in three key areas over the 5-year confirmation period.

The three key areas are:

  • Teaching, assessment and curriculum development
  • Establishing a research profile and being an independent researcher
  • Service contributions appropriate to appointment level

New staff will be advised of their performance objectives soon after their appointment; after which they will be given regular feedback in the form of discussions with their Head of Department and/or Dean and written confirmation reports.

Information for newly appointed confirmation path staff

This information sheet provides key information about the Confirmation Path for newly appointed staff.

Download the information for newly appointed confirmation path staff information sheet

Confirmation information seminars

Human Resources holds information sessions during the year to provide important information to new confirmation staff. These sessions support new academic staff by informing them of HR policies and processes that directly impact their role.

The major focus of these sessions is on the confirmation and academic promotion processes, but staff will also receive information on:
◦essential health and safety information
◦staff benefits
◦research resources available
◦conflicts of interest
◦the Otago Teaching Profile
◦services offered by the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC)

2017 seminars


Seminars are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday 30 August

For further information about the sessions please phone 03 479 9263 or email confirm@otago.ac.nz

When are confirmation reports required?

The following table summarises when reports are required after the appointment of staff members to Confirmation Path appointments:

Reminder by HR Report Due
First report 1 month after appointment 3 months after appointment
Second report 16 months after appointment 18 months after appointment
Third report 28 months after appointment 30 months after appointment
Fourth report 40 months after appointment 42 months after appointment
Final report 52 months after appointment 54 months after appointment

The first confirmation report

Heads of Department will submit the first confirmation report, on the appropriate form, to the Dean (in the Division of Health Sciences) or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, setting out the performance objectives required of staff members.

Reports must be discussed with and signed by the staff member. In the case of Joint Clinical staff members, Deans should consult with the relevant District Health Board.

The purpose of the first confirmation report is to:

  • state the performance objectives required for confirmation, and have these approved by the Vice Chancellor/Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
  • confirm that an orientation programme has been completed

Further notes on the first confirmation report:

  • Performance objectives should be determined as soon as practicable after staff members take up their appointments (ideally within the first 1 - 2 months).
  • Generic objectives for the confirmation of academic appointments have been developed for each division, and will form the basis of individual objectives.
  • Where making progress on, or completing a PhD is a requirement for confirmation, careful consideration needs to be given to ensuring that the objective is realistic within the five year time-frame. Other publication objectives should be achievable given a PhD requirement, and the workload should be realistic.
  • Staff members, Heads of Departments, Deans (in the Division of Health Sciences), or Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) should agree on the objectives as soon as practicable and the First Report should be the official confirmation of the objectives.

Resources

Checklist

  1. The completed confirmation report
  2. An up to date CV in the University's standard format

The second confirmation report

The Second Confirmation Report, on the appropriate form, will be submitted by Heads of Departments to the Dean Division of Health Sciences) or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

On this occasion it is expected that Heads of Departments will consult with appropriate senior colleagues who have been confirmed, about the performance of the staff members under review.

The purpose of the second confirmation report is to:

  • review staff members progress for each objective
  • identify staff members whose performance is satisfactory or better
  • identify staff members where Heads of Departments consider they are not making satisfactory progress with their objectives and raise these concerns with them**

** Staff members must be given the chance to respond to these concerns. They may have representation at any discussion and may seek independent advice. If, after discussion with staff members, their performance is deemed to be unsatisfactory in some areas then a plan must be put in place, with the staff members’ agreement. The University must provide appropriate support and action to staff members with the aim of facilitating improvement. For more information, see section 13 of the Confirmation Path Policy.

Resources

Checklist

  1. The completed second confirmation report
  2. An up to date CV in the University's standard format
  3. The Otago Teaching Profile which consists of:
  • a self evaluation statement
  • evaluations of teaching
  • context forms (optional - see 'Related Info' bar)
  • schedule of teaching responsibilities (see 'Related Info' bar)
  • list of documents on-call

The third confirmation report

The Third Confirmation Report, on the appropriate form, will be submitted by the Head of Department to the Dean (Division of Health Sciences) or Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

The purpose of the third confirmation report is to:

  • identify objectives which have been achieved (while noting that confirmation path staff will still be required to maintain or improve on performance in objectives listed as achieved)
  • identify objectives which are on track to be achieved within the five year confirmation period
  • identify where there are concerns that objectives will not be achieved within the five year period
  • identify staff members where Heads of Departments consider they are not making satisfactory progress with their objectives and raise these concerns with them**
  • specify which publications meet the quality standards expected in the Department or discipline, taking into account the staff members’ appointment level
  • contact the Human Resources Manager, Promotions and Remuneration, for advice on how to proceed if Heads of Departments conclude that staff members have no reasonable chance of achieving the confirmation objectives.

** Staff members must be given the chance to respond to these concerns. They may have representation at any discussion and may seek independent advice. If, after discussion with staff members, their performance is deemed to be unsatisfactory in some areas then a plan must be put in place, with the staff members’ agreement. The University must provide appropriate support and action to staff members with the aim of facilitating improvement. For more information, see section 13 of the Confirmation Path Policy.

Resources

Checklist

  1. The completed third confirmation report
  2. An up to date CV in the University standard format
  3. The Otago Teaching Profile which consists of:
  • a self evaluation statement
  • evaluations of teaching
  • context forms (optional - see 'Related Info' bar)
  • schedule of teaching responsibilities (see 'Related Info' bar)
  • list of documents on-call

The fourth confirmation report

The fourth confirmation report, on the appropriate form, will be submitted by the Head of Department to the Dean (Division of Health Sciences) or Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

The purpose of the fourth confirmation report is to:

  • identify objectives which have been achieved (while noting that confirmation path staff will still be required to maintain or improve on performance in objectives listed as achieved)
  • identify objectives which are on track to be achieved within the five year confirmation period
  • identify where there are concerns that objectives will not be achieved within the five year period
  • identify staff members where Heads of Departments consider they are not making satisfactory progress with their objectives and raise these concerns with them**
  • specify which publications meet the quality standards expected in the Department or discipline, taking into account the staff members’ appointment level
  • contact the Human Resources Manager, Promotions and Remuneration, for advice on how to proceed if Heads of Departments conclude that staff members have no reasonable chance of achieving the confirmation objectives.

** Staff members must be given the chance to respond to these concerns. They may have representation at any discussion and may seek independent advice. If, after discussion with staff members, their performance is deemed to be unsatisfactory in some areas then a plan must be put in place, with the staff members’ agreement. The University must provide appropriate support and action to staff members with the aim of facilitating improvement. For more information, see section 13 of the Confirmation Path Policy.

Resources

Checklist

  1. The completed fourth/final confirmation report
  2. An up to date CV in the University standard format
  3. The Otago Teaching Profile which consists of:
  • a self evaluation statement
  • evaluations of teaching
  • context forms (optional - see 'Related Info' bar)
  • schedule of teaching responsibilities (see 'Related Info' bar)
  • list of documents on-call

The final confirmation report

Heads of Departments will submit the final confirmation report, on the appropriate form, through Deans (Division of Health Sciences) or the Pro-Vice-Chancellors. Comments are required on the performance and progress of staff members concerned.

Head of Department recommendations

Heads of Departments may recommend that it be:

  • a final report if the performance objectives have been met
  • a final report if the performance objectives have not been met and non-confirmation is warranted at the expiry of the confirmation period
  • an interim report and that staff members be given one further period, normally of not more than twelve months, to achieve the performance requirements expected for confirmation

Appropriate senior colleagues who are confirmed may be consulted and their views taken into account.

If Heads of Departments have concerns that the objectives have not been met and that it may be appropriate to defer the decision to confirm or it may be appropriate not to confirm, they must discuss these concerns with staff members and ensure that every opportunity is given to them to contribute to and comment on the report. Staff members may have representation at any discussion and may seek independent advice.

Where staff members are Joint Clinical, the written endorsement of the appropriate District Health Board must accompany the recommendation.

Recommendations will be considered by the Staffing Advisory Committee, which may decide to either:

  • approve confirmation
  • defer consideration of confirmation for one further period only, normally of not more than twelve months
  • decline to confirm the appointment, in which case staff members will be informed that their employment will be terminated, with notice

Appeals

Should staff members decide to appeal against the decision to not confirm them, they must notify the Human Resources Manager, Promotions and Remuneration in writing within one month of receiving the decision letter.

For more information about appeals, see section 19 of the Confirmation Path Policy.

Resources

Checklist

  1. The completed fourth/final confirmation report
  2. An up to date CV in the University standard format
  3. The Otago Teaching Profile which consists of:
  • a self evaluation statement
  • evaluations of teaching
  • context forms (optional - see 'Related Info' bar)
  • schedule of teaching responsibilities (see 'Related Info' bar)
  • list of documents on-call

Further confirmation information and resources

Academic staff may wish to better understand aspects of the Confirmation Path Policy not directly related to the confirmation process.

The table below contains aspects of the policy that we receive enquiries about, and the appropriate section of the policy for more information (if relevant).

Early Confirmation Early confirmation will only be approved where the agreed objectives and standards have been fully met and at least 3 reports have been submitted and approved.

The Staffing Advisory Committee makes the decision about early confirmation.

Section 14 of the confirmation path policy
Minimum hours Staff members appointed to a confirmation path position must normally be employed for at least 0.4 FTE. Section 4 of the confirmation path policy
Suspension of confirmation period The confirmation period may be suspended if staff members have an extended break of more than three months because of:
  • parental leave
  • sick leave
  • leave without pay
  • a reduction of FTE to below 0.4
Section 5 of the confirmation path policy
Interim reports The University may ask for interim reviews and reports.

Heads of Department must provide clear feedback to staff members about their performance and whether or not progress is satisfactory.

Section 13 of the confirmation path policy
Deferral of confirmation Consideration of confirmation may be deferred for up to 12 months beyond the agreed confirmation period.

This decision is made if the University believes that an extension of time will provide the staff member with a reasonable opportunity to improve.

Section 16 of the confirmation path policy
Prior service Prior service with the University of Otago or any other university is not normally recognised as part of the confirmation path appointment. Section 3.2 of the confirmation path policy
Staff member concerns Staff are encouraged to use the 'Staff Members' Comments' section of the confirmation reports to identify concerns or alternative views. Section 7.2.4 of the confirmation path policy

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