Roles, Responsibilities and Authority of Heads of Schools and Major Centres - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this policy is to articulate the role and responsibilities of the Heads of School and Heads of major Centres at The University of Queensland.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Head – Head of School or major Centre

Major Centre – Large centre within a faculty or institute

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to Heads of School and a limited number of major Centres at The University of Queensland.

4. Policy Statement

Heads are responsible to their Executive Dean or Institute Director for the management of staff and resources and for the delivery of shorter form credentials and courses in programs offered by the faculties or institute. The Head is expected to exercise appropriate leadership and management skills within the collegial culture of the University, ensuring that legitimate academic freedom is preserved and fostered.

The relative emphasis placed by Heads on the different aspects of their role, and the time devoted to each, will vary between schools or centres and from time to time within the one school or centre. Heads are required to consult with their Executive Deans or Institute Director and agree appropriate strategic priorities for the near and medium term, and to review these priorities at the annual review discussions.

5. Key Responsibilities

The prime roles of a Head are to provide academic and administrative leadership to the School or Centre, and to engage with external organisations on behalf of the School or Centre and the University. This will involve the following general responsibilities:

  • Governance of the School or Centre and the establishment and development of its strategic direction;
  • Guidance and development of teaching and research;
  • Guidance and development of staff and the management of staff-related issues;
  • Management of finances and infrastructure through effective planning, revenue generation, budgeting and expenditure control; and
  • Internationalisation of the School or Centre.

Specific responsibilities within each broad area of the role of a Head are listed below.

5.1 Academic leadership

  • Encourage the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning and in research;
  • Promote collaboration with other schools or centres where appropriate;
  • Maintain personal academic standing, including the pursuit of research and scholarship;
  • Represent the interests and needs of the University to the School or Centre and to the external community; and
  • Represent the interests and needs of the School or Centre in the University through membership of the Academic Board, Faculty Board(s) and other University groups and committees.

5.2 Governance

  • Establish and maintain a suitable organisational and committee structure;
  • Consult with relevant committees and staff;
  • Develop and maintain the strategic and academic planning functions including the setting of goals and targets in the context of University and Faculty or Institute Strategic and Operational Plans, and initiate and revise academic offerings, in line with the Program Approval Procedure (PPL 3.20.08) and the  Curriculum and Teaching Quality Appraisal and Academic Program Review Policy (PPL 3.30.03);
  • Develop and maintain quality assurance processes, particularly in relation to teaching, research and the supervision of students;
  • Allocate duties to staff in an equitable manner to ensure the effective and efficient performance of the teaching, research and service functions, using the Workload Allocation for Academic Staff - Guidelines (PPL 5.41.07c);
  • Promulgate and implement University policies; and
  • Provide information to relevant University authorities.

5.3 Staff guidance and human resource management

  • Manage human resource issues, including the recruitment and selection of staff, staff appraisal by the conduct of annual reviews for relevant staff, performance management issues and staff grievances;
  • Comply with the University Enterprise Agreement and policies;
  • Support professional development of staff; and
  • Establish mechanisms to ensure that equity and workplace health and safety policies are observed.

5.4 Financial and infrastructure management

  • Manage finances including budgeting and planning for equipment and other infrastructure expenditure, and monitoring expenditure against allocations;
  • Pursue opportunities to increase revenue, especially by attracting full fee-paying students, developing links and partnerships with business and industry and commercialising the results of research and intellectual property;
  • Manage and maintain school or centre space and infrastructure resources; and
  • Protect intellectual property.

5.5 External relations

  • Maintain effective links with government departments and authorities, and ensure that the relevant Executive Dean or Institute Director and the Vice-Chancellor's office are informed of the contacts;
  • Contact business, commerce and industry organisations relevant to the School's or Centre’s research and develop research partnerships;
  • Maintain effective links with graduates and alumni;
  • Maintain links with employers of graduates;
  • Nominate appropriate appointees as Adjunct or Honorary Professors and involve them effectively in the life of the School or Centre; and
  • Set up and maintain productive links with offshore sources of international students.
Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury


Roles, Responsibilities and Appointment of Heads of Schools and Major Centres - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of these procedures is to outline the processes for appointing, remunerating and supporting Heads of School and Heads of major Centres at The University of Queensland.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

Head – Head of School or major Centre

Major Centre – Large centre within a faculty or institute

Relevant VCC Member - A member of the Vice Chancellor's Committee to whom the Head of School/major Centre ultimately reports

SSP - Special Studies Program

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to Heads of School and a limited number of major Centres at The University of Queensland.

4. Procedures Statement

Given the key role played by Heads at the University, suitable processes must be followed to appoint and remunerate Heads appropriately and equitably. Furthermore, the support provided for Heads is paramount to the successful operation of the organisational unit.

5. Appointment of Heads

A Head of School will be appointed for each school listed in the schedule to the Senate Rule - Schools.

The relevant VCC member will consult with the relevant Executive Dean or Institute Director on the merits of whether an internal or external recruitment process should occur. Issues to be considered in determining which process to be followed include:

  • Succession planning discussions to date and the identification of any school members with the required leadership capability or potential leadership capability to perform the role, as well as the level of interest/expectations from existing staff to perform the role;
  • The need or preference for regeneration of the leadership and direction of the school;
  • The likelihood of attracting a high quality applicant pool for the position; and
  • Financial sustainability of an additional appointment.

The Executive Dean is to consult with senior academics within the Faculty/School on the preferred approach and rationale.

The Executive Dean will then seek the approval of the relevant VCC member of the recommended approach.

Where an internal recruitment process is approved, an expression of interest process confined to staff at academic level D and E would be initiated. The Head of School selection committee will have the same membership as a professorial selection committee.

Heads of Schools are appointed on a fixed-term appointment for a period up to five years. Heads of School will not normally be appointed for more than two consecutive five-year terms.

6. Remuneration of Heads

The position of Head of School will normally attract payment of a management loading in addition to base salary to form a total remuneration package appropriate to the management responsibility of the role. Further information on the payment of management loadings is available in the Salary Loadings policy at http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/5.50.01-salary-loadings

7. Support for Heads

7.1 Support from staff

Heads are not expected to carry personally all of the administrative responsibilities within their School or Centre. Heads will ensure that senior academic staff, in particular professors, are assigned significant roles such as Chairs of School committees (e.g. Teaching and Learning, Postgraduate Studies or Research Committees) or Program Directors. Senior academic staff are expected to accept such roles, when requested, as their contribution to the collegial leadership of the School or Centre.

7.1.1 Deputy Heads

Where the size of the School/Centre or other relevant considerations indicates the need, a Deputy Head can be appointed to assist the Head in the leadership, governance and administration of the School or Centre, and to act in the Head's absence. Generally, the Deputy will fill an identified functional role in the School or Centre. The decision to appoint a Deputy Head will be made by the Authorised Officer. The position of Deputy Head can function as an effective preparation period for a senior academic to assume the role of Head, however appointment as a Deputy Head will not automatically guarantee promotion to the role of Head.

7.1.2 Acting Heads

For absences up to six months, the Authorised Officer will determine the appointment of an Acting Head after consultation with the Head. For absences of longer than six months, the Authorised Officer will appoint an Acting Head after consultation with the relevant Executive Dean or Institute Director and the Head.

7.1.3 School/Centre Manager

Each school or centre should have a competent and experienced School/Centre Manager who can oversee the administrative functions, assist the Head in the management of finances and resources and supervise professional staff.

7.1.4 Research support

Where required by the Head, research assistance should be appointed at an appropriate level. This will be paid for jointly by the School/Centre and the Faculty/Institute.

7.2 Training and development support

Because of the demanding nature of their role and its crucial importance to the success of the University, Heads will be offered support and opportunities for development including, but not limited to, the following:

7.2.1 Internal and University sector leadership and management development programs

These will include the "Staff Management Issues Workshop" or other in-house development opportunities offered through the UQ Staff Development Program. Attendance at an executive program conducted by a leading University in Australia or overseas is recommended for each Head.

7.2.2 Commercial and business development programs

To assist Heads and Deputy Heads to deal with revenue generation and dealings with the business and commercial world, attendance at suitable programs conducted by external organisations is encouraged. A relevant course(s) should be completed relatively soon after assuming the role.

7.2.3 Special Studies Program

The Head will not normally take SSP during the course of the Headship. However, at the expiry of their term, the Head will be entitled to proceed immediately to an SSP to enhance their research program. If the Head is appointed to a second successive term, they will remain entitled to an SSP in the first semester of the new term as Head.

7.2.4 Development plan

Generally, in the first year of their term as Head, each Head may complete a 360 degree feedback exercise and discuss the resulting development plan with the Executive Dean or Institute Director, to ensure that they receive necessary assistance in implementing it.

7.2.5 Formal review

Each year the Executive Dean or Institute Director will conduct a formal review of the Head's performance and forward the written report to the relevant VCC member, or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). The Executive Dean or Institute Director should discuss the review with the relevant VCC member, or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) before the review meeting.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury
Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury