School of Humanities
Academic staff appraisal 2004-5
This document provides guidelines for the conduct of appraisal in the School of
Humanities for the academic year 2004-5. The first section provides parameters specific
to the School. The second section provides general guidelines laid down by the
University. The third section provides guidance on completing the appraisal form.
Section 1. Parameters for Humanities 2004-5
1. In addition to appraising the individual’s achievements in research, education and
management, appraisal should specifically address how far these contribute to the
strategic direction of the School, as expressed in strategic planning documents.
2. Appraisers should note that their role includes giving advice as well as listening to
appraisees. In particular, junior staff are entitled to expect expert advice on the
direction of their research and teaching development; and staff approaching a
promotion point should expect informed advice on the timing and presentation
of promotion applications.
3. Where possible, no member of staff should appraise more than ten people over a
two year period.
4. All permanent academic staff are entitled to appraisal, whether full or part-time,
and staff on fixed term contracts of more than one year’s duration should also
Section 2. Academic, Teaching and Research Staff Appraisal - general guidelines
These guidelines follow closely those provided by Human Resources
(http://www.hr.soton.ac.uk/PandP/ac_teaching_appraisal.asp#). They have been
modified where necessary to reflect arrangements within the School of Humanities.
The purpose of appraisal is to review periodically the work, development needs and
career aspirations of members of staff in relation to the requirements of their School and
the University’s strategic plan and to take appropriate steps to enhance performance.
This appraisal scheme is mandatory and will apply uniformly to all members of the
academic, other teaching and research staff of the University other than probationers
whose appraisal will be recorded in a separate log book. Academic Heads of Schools and
Deans will be appraised in that role.
The maximum period between appraisals should be two years. However, for less
experienced staff or those nearing consideration for promotion, annual appraisal may be
Contract Research Staff should have an end of year two and an end of year four appraisal
at least. This frequency would be in line with Academic Staff Appraisal. The end of year
four appraisal would provide a clear indication of non-renewal of contract, or the likely
period of continued fixed-term employment or in a minority of cases, a conversion to a
The Head of School will normally be appraised by the Dean of LASS Faculty; Deputy
Heads and Heads of Disciplines will normally be appraised by the Head of School. In all
of these cases, the appraisee may in addition seek an advisory meeting with a senior
colleague who has a direct relationship with the appraisee’s work.
All other academic staff will normally expect to be appraised by a suitably trained senior
colleague within their Discipline or Centre. If, with good reason, an appraisee wishes to
have an alternative appraiser he/she will be able to make alternative arrangements with
the consent of the Head of Discipline. If the difficulty remains unresolved the matter can
be discussed with the Head of School.
The Head of School may set broad parameters of direction and expectation prior to an
appraisal round to inform appraisers and so assist in the agreement of individual
What is said between the parties during the biennial appraisal interview should normally
remain confidential between the appraiser and appraisee, unless noted as part of the
outcomes on the appraisal form. The appraisal form (plus any documentation attached to
it, which should include an up-to-date curriculum vitae) when completed should be
treated as a confidential document referred to hereinafter as the Appraisal Record. The
Head of Discipline/ Centre should receive the appraisal record once completed, sign it to
indicate that it has been read. Where the Head of School is the appraiser, the signatory
should be one of the Deputy Heads as appropriate. The document should then be
forwarded to the Head of School for inclusion in the School record. The record may be
used in other employment matters concerning the individual.
In the event of any substantial dispute between the appraisee and appraiser, an outline of
the disagreement, together with the documentation, should be sent to the Head of
Discipline/ Centre (if not the appraiser), or Head of School (if not the appraiser) or the
Dean. The appraisal record or abstracts from it may be used in the written submission in
support of an application for promotion under the usual but separate procedures.
Appraisal is not a disciplinary process and should not be approached with that purpose.
The appraisal record may however be retrospectively sought as supporting evidence by
either party in any separate formal disciplinary proceedings subject to mutual agreement.
In the event of a dispute the constituted panel or officer will determine the matter after
considering the arguments for and against disclosure.
The final page of the appraisal record concerning the need for on-going professional
development will be noted and the Head of School will submit to the Training and
Development Manager an annual statement of training needs, accompanied by a list of
who has been appraised.
Cases of disagreement
Although in the vast majority of cases an appraisal will work well, there may be an
occasion when the person being appraised finds him or herself in such disagreement with
the appraiser that they are unable to agree on the basis for future action, or about
performance in the past two years. Such disagreement might come about because of
different views over appropriate workloads; disagreement about suggested tasks or
constraints; different views on suitable performance indicators or success criteria;
different perceptions of training and professional development needs, or for other
In such exceptional circumstances therefore, the person being appraised can ask their
Head of School (if not the appraiser) or Dean to resolve the difference. After
consideration and consultation with both parties the Head of School, or Dean, will
append his/her comments to the record. In the case of a Head of School being the
appraisee in dispute, a Deputy Vice Chancellor will act to resolve any difference.
The role of the Head of School (or Dean) will be to decide whether the conclusions of
the appraiser were reasonable in the circumstances, particularly in relation to standards
applying across the School or Faculty as a whole. In the event of any appraisee still being
dissatisfied with the decision, the University’s grievance procedure may be invoked.
In all such circumstances the relevant Personnel Officer should be informed.
When both an appraiser and appraisee believe the appraisee is nearing the next stage of
promotion, a promotion application may be discussed in preparation for the normal
review process. The appraiser (if not the Head of Discipline/Centre) should discuss any
such outcome with the Head of Discipline/Centre. Every lecturer retains the right to
submit their own personal promotion application for a senior lectureship if they wish.
The School Steering committee will be responsible for ensuring all eligible academic and
research staff appraisals are completed on at least a two year cycle, and will make an
annual report of which staff have been appraised, confirming or otherwise the
satisfactory operation of the scheme.
Human Resources Department is responsible for co-ordinating appraisal training
programmes, and for giving guidance and advice to appraisers and appraisees on the
scheme and issues emerging from its implementation. A programme to meet those staff
development needs identified as a result of the operation of the appraisal scheme has
been developed by the Staff Development and Training Unit and this will be regularly
updated and extended.
Section 3. Guidelines for completing the Appraisal Form
The following guidelines are intended to help colleagues to complete the Academic,
Teaching & Research Staff Appraisal Form specific to the School of Humanities.
Please note that while space on the form is limited, you may if you wish to continue onto
a separate sheet. The appraisee should complete the relevant parts in draft form prior to
the appraisal interview, and submit it with a Standard University Curriculum vitae to the
appraiser a week before meeting with them.
Assessment of key achievements for previous year
The topics for discussion under this section are likely to include:
• the achievement of last year’s (and/or any subsequently revised) key objectives
including any factors which have helped or hindered their attainment;
• action taken in response to last year’s agreed training and professional development
• fulfilment of delegated health and safety responsibilities.
The appraisee may be asked to provide evidence (written or oral) to substantiate
responses in these areas. The appraiser may have access to RAE, QAE, student feedback
or other relevant data to inform the appraisal interview.
Other relevant factors
This section should be used to record the appraisee’s views on wider issues and
contribution beyond the objectives covered in the first part of the form. These might
• any additional specific achievements or problems which should be recorded;
• contributions to other areas of the university (committee work, working parties, interest
• contributions to external agencies (professional bodies, external examining etc);
• responsibilities in relation to staff or students (line management, Mentoring, informal
support of colleagues etc).
In responding to the question about division of effort, please include as administration
only duties over and above that involved in normal teaching and research, eg admissions
tutor, examination officer, member of Discipline committee.
This provides an opportunity for the appraiser to support or qualify the appraisee’s
comments and highlight where performance can be improved.
This section should be completed by the appraiser after discussion with the appraisee.
Realistic objectives should be clearly identified together with any constraints and how
you will be able to demonstrate that the objective has been met. If possible these should
Agreed actions including training and professional development needs
In this context actions, including training and development needs, should be interpreted
in their widest sense and might encompass:
• Study leave/conference attendance
• Preparing research proposals
• Supervising research students
• Writing up research for publication
Teaching and Learning
• Increasing student participation in large classes
• Curriculum design
• Observation of teaching
• Student assessment
• Leading and building teams
• Health and Safety
• Staff management
• Chairing meetings
• Appraisal training
The ‘Training Opportunities’ brochure published each Semester shows the programmes
currently available internally in the University.
The appraisee should identify those areas which they believe would assist their
development and, in conjunction with the appraiser, distinguish those which the
University can support. The University has limited resources and those areas which will
contribute to personal effectiveness or to the overall aims and objectives of the
department will to have priority. For any areas which have low institutional priority the
appraisee may be able to negotiate some flexibility in working practices in order to enable
access to the identified programme.
The agreed training and professional development should be recorded on the final page
of the form. This should also include a reference to who is expected to provide the
training and when it will be required. It is only the information on the back page of the
form which will be reported to the Training and Development Manager.
Given the broad nature of ‘training and professional development’, it should only be in
exceptional circumstances that no record of any development or training need is
Space is provided here for the appraisee to identify any other issues they would wish to
raise in the appraisal discussions.
MHK, 17 Jan. 05