Staff Development Policy


Staff Development Policy pdf(155 kb)



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Staff Development Policy


1. Context

2. Roles and Responsibilities

3. Development Processes

4. Resources

5. Evaluation of Success

6. Communication and Support

Appendix 1 - Staff Development Policy and Guidelines for Part Time Academic Staff pdf(66 kb)

Appendix 2 - DMU Skills Pledge Letter pdf(85 kb)




Staff Development Policy

1. DMU is committed to providing a learning environment for all staff which enables them to fully contribute to achieving DMU’s vision for success.  DMU’s future success depends on maximising the contribution and potential of every individual and team.

2. The University is committed to providing all its staff with appropriate training, developmental and educational opportunities that will enable them to acquire the skills and competencies that are needed by the institution and for their own development. The principles of equality of opportunity underpin the University’s commitment to life-long learning and are seen as fundamental to the policy.

3. The University is subject to a variety of statutory regulations and it must ensure that staff are trained to levels appropriate to their roles, in order to perform legally and effectively in the best interests of themselves, of others and of the University.

4. In order to achieve these aims the University undertakes to:

4.1 Support all staff to develop the skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes to perform their current roles efficiently and effectively.

4.2 Provide processes for the identification of staff development and training needs in the light of DMU strategies, statutory requirements, necessary professional standards of competence, innovation and personal aspirations.

4.3 Set annual priorities in the light of these needs, given resource constraints, seeking to create a realistic balance between the University’s training and development priorities and the needs and aspirations of the individual.

4.4 Produce annual costed training and development plans to ensure that these priorities are addressed.

4.5 Provide Corporate, Faculty and Directorate induction programmes that are comprehensive and mandatory for all new staff.

4.6 Provide appropriate and high quality training programmes for all staff groups which may be delivered within Faculty/Departments or centrally.

4.7 Promote a supportive learning environment in which continuing development is embedded into the culture of the organisation and therefore seen as a normal part of everyone’s work role.

4.8 Support networks for collaborative provision of staff development activities with other HE institutions regionally.

4.9 Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of induction, training and development programmes with a view to continued improvement.

4.10 Record the training received by each member of staff.

5. The University recognises that, for its staff development policy to be effective, those in managerial or supervisory positions must be held accountable for ensuring their staff have constructive, honest and timely reviews of their performance, and for developing plans for improvement, which should take into account both the goals of the institution and the relevant aspirations of the individual.

6. The University also recognises that staff must take responsibility for their own development. In addition to undertaking mandatory training required by law, they are expected to avail themselves of the opportunities provided and to make use of training and development to enable them to respond flexibly to change.

7. Staff training and development is the responsibility of the Staff Development Steering Group, chaired on behalf of Vice Chancellor’s Group (VCG) by the Director of HR. The SDSG includes a representative Dean and Director and has responsibility for co-ordinating the planning, provision, costing and monitoring of staff induction, training and development.

The attached management guidelines provide a context for this policy and support to managers in undertaking this critical part of their role.

The Director of HR will ensure that the policy and guidelines are reviewed annually.


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1. Context

In the increasingly competitive environment of the Higher Education sector, the university recognises the need to set strategic objectives that enable DMU to stand out from other universities. These include:

• Recruiting and retaining staff committed to achieving DMU’s goals.

• Delivering excellent quality in our learning, teaching, research and commercial activities in our areas of strength.

• Leading in achieving participation from under-represented groups.

• Supporting the economic development of our communities and regions.

Continuing staff development across all faculties and support departments is essential to both achieving these objectives and in realising our vision to:

• Be a university which extends opportunity, promotes inclusion and achieves high standards of learning, research and scholarship.

• Meet the aspirations of our diverse student body through a wide range of academic and professional programmes which build on our key strengths and broaden horizons.

• Support and empower staff and students to fulfil their potential and to take responsibility for our shared purpose and continuous improvement.

• Create a vibrant learning environment which enriches students and staff and, working in partnership, makes a difference to the communities of which we are a part.

The HR Strategy and the University Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy (ULTAS) are central to realising our vision of a high-performing, student-focused culture.

The ULTAS can only be successfully delivered by a high calibre academic staff who are working to the highest professional standards. We recognise the importance of supporting staff both on their initial appointment and by continuing professional development throughout their career. To this end, our policy ‘Recognising Teaching Excellence’ is designed to reward teaching excellence and to promote the development, collaboration and sharing of best practice throughout the university.

Our shared values underline the importance of staff development in the way in which we work together across the university.

Student focus - requires continuing staff development to place excellent teaching and student support at the heart of our commitment to education.

Quality enhancement - involves staff developing through identifying and sharing good practice across the university, and working collaboratively.

Open and honest communication – involves open and constructive discussions about development in a culture of learning from experience rather than attributing blame for mistakes.

Concern for and development of people – involves working together in a climate of mutual respect where individuals have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Empowerment – involves developing all colleagues so that they take ownership and responsibility of their work.


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2. Roles and Responsibilities

The primary responsibility for the implementation of this staff development policy is a partnership between the central professional development and training teams and each Faculty/Directorate to ensure the allocation of resources to meet identified needs.

Cross-university staff development needs (which are appropriately addressed or supported on a university wide basis e.g. leadership and management development, diversity, broad academic development, H&S, IT, customer service) will be led by the Director of HR. Central resources are provided to meet these cross-university needs.

2.1 University Level

The Vice Chancellor’s Group has responsibility for developing the policy and strategy for Staff Development. The institution’s responsibility in this is exercised through the authority of the HR Committee of the Board of Governors. The Director of HR is the relevant executive officer who has responsibility for the implementation of the overall strategy to integrate the various strands of the University’s policy.

The development and implementation of Staff Development policy is the principal responsibility of the Head of the Academic Professional Development Unit (APDU) and the Head of Training and Development (T&D).

The Head of APDU is responsible for professional development to support the ULTAS and the development of new initiatives to support the development of Academic Staff in relation to teaching & learning.

The Head of T&D is responsible for leadership and management development, and enhancing the effectiveness of individuals and teams in relation to DMU goals and shared values.

2.2 Faculty/Directorate Level

Deans and Directors have responsibility for implementing staff development policy in relation to their own faculty or directorate.

This involves:

• Creating a climate which encourages staff to develop through sharing their knowledge and skills and coaching others.

• Creating development opportunities whilst also encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own development.

• Setting up arrangements to identify and prioritise development needs, establish and implement staff development plans.

Key elements include assuring processes for:

  • Every member of their staff to have an annual appraisal/ review of their achievement of objectives and development needs.
  • All staff who are new to DMU or their role to have an effective ‘local’ induction as well as participating in relevant university-level induction activities.
  • All staff to maintain a record of their learning.
  • Acknowledging that agreed development needs form part of the individual’s workload.

2.3 School/Department Level

Heads of School/Department have responsibility for the development of their staff.

This involves:

• Ensuring that the development needs of each member of staff are identified through the appraisal/review process and appropriate personal development plans are agreed and carried out.

• Fostering a climate that encourages their staff to develop.

• Ensuring that staff new to their department are inducted effectively.

Line managers (the person the job holder reports to) have responsibility for:

• Encouraging the development of their staff through ongoing coaching and/or mentoring as well as appraisal/ review.

• Formulating development plans.

• Identifying resources for staff development.

• Ensuring that induction arrangements are in place for new colleagues.

Heads of Research Groups/Institutes and grant holders/principal investigators have a specific responsibility to support the career development of junior research colleagues in the early stages of their careers, including through the acquisition of transferable skills.

2.4 Individual Level

Each member of staff has responsibility for managing their own development. This includes:

• Keeping informed about their own area of expertise.

• Applying their specialist and technical knowledge, and sharing their expertise by collaborating with colleagues.

• Searching out opportunities to develop through innovation in the current role and pursuing activities such as projects and coaching others.

• Keeping a record of their learning.


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3. Development Process

The processes/ activities described in this section are intended to provide a systematic, consistent approach to the development of all staff across the university. Further details on part-time academic staff are available on the APDU/T&D intranet site (Resource Cupboard).

3.1 Induction

The induction process aims to ensure that anyone new to DMU, or moving to a different department or role, is able to work effectively as soon as possible.

Each new member of staff should receive:

• A local induction to help them settle into their department, tailored to the specific knowledge and experience of the individual member of staff with a nominated person guiding them through their first few days and weeks.

• An induction for academics to enable understanding of DMU and faculty procedures with regard to supporting the student learning experience.

 Within academic departments colleagues are appointed as mentors to ensure that staff who are taking up new roles are inducted appropriately.

• A corporate induction giving them an understanding of the DMU vision, values, structure, staff development processes, and sources of further information.

• A health and safety induction to understand the roles and responsibilities at DMU for maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

3.2 Probationary Process

It is normal for staff new to a role or DMU to have a probationary period in their contract of employment. This is to ensure that the line manager supports and encourages the new member of staff in acquiring and demonstrating the required knowledge and skills. The employee is expected to be proactive in identifying what they need to learn in their new role and to ask for help and support.

Managers are expected to fully engage in the probationary process for all new staff and to ensure that these agreed needs/support are acknowledged in the workload. Details of the probation policy can be found on the Human Resources intranet site.

3.3 Achievement and Development Review (ADR) Processes

‘ADR’ is used in this section and elsewhere as a generic term covering the various schemes in place at DMU. The university’s ADR processes provide the main mechanism by which staff gain clarity over their objectives for the year ahead, are encouraged to reflect on their performance and how to enhance it, and agree plans for their personal development.

Currently, there are three schemes are in place:

• Appraisal Scheme for academic staff.• Staff Development Review (SDR) for support staff.

• MAX plan for senior management.

Whilst different, the schemes share some or all of the following benefits:

• Providing a clear link between the individual and the strategic objectives of the university.

• Assisting two way communication in the university.

• Providing clarity about standards of performance.

• Providing clarity about objectives for the year ahead.• Identifying opportunities for staff development.

• Providing the basis for formulating personal development plans.

• Helping to focus the allocation of staff development resources.

• Providing a formal opportunity to discuss any concerns and aspirations for the future.

• Promoting dialogue between colleagues.

3.4 Recognising Teaching Excellence

DMU’s policy on Recognising Teaching Excellence promotes the development, collaboration, and sharing of best practice in teaching throughout the university, by recognising and rewarding Teaching Excellence as set out below:

Teacher Fellowship awards both reward excellent teaching but also promote development by disseminating excellent teaching and allowing Teacher Fellows to take a leadership role in teaching and learning.

Research Informed Teaching awards are to reward an individual or team to enable a distinctive research project into innovation in learning and teaching and/or curriculum development to be undertaken. These awards ensure that pedagogic research is recognised at DMU and that the research is used to inform teaching improvements.

Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching awards are for excellent teachers who are nominated by students for their outstanding contribution to student learning over the previous 12 months.

It is the responsibility of Deans and Academic Heads to support and encourage participation in these schemes.

3.5 Career Development Framework (CDF) For Support Staff

The university is initially developing a CDF for support staff. Its purpose is to enable support staff to identify potential career paths more clearly and to have greater clarity about the competencies, experience and knowledge they may need to acquire in order to be well-placed to apply for relevant vacancies as and when they occur.

3.6 Peer Observation Scheme

The main purposes of annual peer observation at DMU are to:

• Share and disseminate good classroom practice among colleagues.

• Address any staff developmental needs.

• Improve the student learning experience.

3.7 Talent Management and Succession Planning

In order to open up opportunities to a broad range of DMU staff and to increase the number of potential applicants for senior and hard to fill posts a framework for talent management and succession planning will be developed to ensure retention and the creation of a pool of internal applicants for key roles in the University.

3.8 External Accreditation

Professional accreditation by external bodies ensures that individual members of staff meet the appropriate standards of their profession.

• All staff new to teaching will be supported to gain the PG Cert HE which is accredited by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

• Members of the professions are expected to meet the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements of their professional body and to ensure their professional knowledge and skills are kept up-to-date. Membership fees and subscriptions are the responsibility of the individual but relevant learning needs identified via appraisal will be supported through development and training activities.

Faculties/ Departments/Teams are encouraged to gain external recognition (such as Investors in People) for the contribution staff development makes to creating a culture of excellence and innovation in our academic provision, our management processes and in the delivery of the student experience.


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4. Resources

The University will seek to maximise the resources available for training, development and education exploring all avenues to supplement that which is available in the University. Where training is required the University will assess that which it is capable of delivering effectively and efficiently in-house and that which it might obtain from external sources.

4.1 Internal Resources

4.1.1 Within the University there are three teams which are dedicated principally to staff development:

• Academic Professional Development Unit (APDU) is responsible for professional development to support the University’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy and the development of new initiatives to support the development of Academic Staff in relation to teaching & learning.

• HR Training & Development (T&D) gives support and guidance on leadership & management development, promoting diversity awareness, and enhancing individual effectiveness.

• IT Training provides training courses for both staff and students in PC software applications – Windows, Explorer, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Front Page.

In addition each of these teams provides resources for self directed learning.

4.1.2 In addition there are a number of departments that provide specialised training in their own areas of expertise. These are listed in the current edition of Staff Development Matters, which can also be viewed on the T&D intranet site.


Some examples include:

 Department Subject areaSpecific training  
Health & Safety Occupational Health & Safety H&S Induction, Occupational Health & Safety
Business Systems Group (ISAS) Information systems incl. student database WebFocus & Ariel reports, QLe student database , QLS student database
Academic Registry Enrolment process Enrolment, admissions
Academic Quality Quality Assurance & Quality improvement External examiners, Monitoring, e-Learning
Procurement Services Procurement cards Procurement cards
Curriculum Planning Office Academic Planning Academic planning, programme suspension
Financial Information Systems (FIS) Finance & Purchasing Purchase orders , QL-x Financials



4.1.3 Another important internal resource arises when individuals take on development roles to assist colleagues in developing through their current work. Examples of these roles include:

a) Coaching - a structured approach to help a colleague develop a specific skill or attitude, or deal effectively with a specific issue, situation, or opportunity.

b) Mentoring – particularly to help a new member of staff adjust to their new job.

c) Observing – particularly for academic staff to receive feedback on their teaching.

d) Teacher Fellow – to assist colleagues by disseminating excellent teaching practice; to work with colleagues on particular projects aligned to the University Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy and the Faculty Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.

4.2 External Providers

External providers will be used to deliver training where it is decided that this is more effective and efficient than using in-house resources.

Continuing Professional Development is a requirement for all professional staff at the University which will involve regular contact with their professional body.

The University subscribes to the Higher Education Academy (HEA), whose mission is to help institutions, discipline groups and all staff to provide the best possible learning experience for their students. Information can be found here.

The University is a member of two regional staff development bodies:

• Midlands Staff Development Partnership (MSDP) which arranges a wide range of personal development sessions such as coaching, mentoring, conflict handling, and de-stressing (please click here to visit the web site)

• M1/M69 Link which provides another source of continuing professional development for professional academics via a Regional network of HE institutions. (please click here to visit the web site)

4.3 Funding Of Development and Training

Funding comes from the following sources internally.

• Faculty/Directorate funds for individual and team needs within the Faculty/Directorate including external activities where appropriate.

• University wide funds for cross-university needs.

The University will explore all possible avenues of external funding to supplement the financial resources. This would include on occasions requesting that staff fund attendance at conferences by presenting a paper, or covering the cost of a secondment by application to an external body.

In specific cases the University will centrally fund the fees on a DMU course where this provides the opportunity to develop a member of staff’s knowledge, skills, and professional competence in an area where the goals of the individual and the university coincide.


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5. Evaluation of Success

The University will measure the effectiveness of staff development at a number of levels; staff reactions to their development activities, the impact on the individual in terms of knowledge, skills, and professional competence acquired and applied to their jobs, and the impact on their department and the university in terms of achieving it’s goals and values.


Level 1 Reactions

This level is concerned with reactions of learners to a development event in terms of their satisfaction with course content, tutors, style of delivery, and overall effectiveness.


Level 2 Learning

This level is concerned with the extent to which the learners have developed specific knowledge, skills, and professional competence.


Level 3 Job performance

This level is concerned with the extent to which the learners change their work behaviour and job performance.


Level 4 Teams

This level is concerned with the impact on achieving changes or improvements at team, department or programme level.


Level 5 Organisation

This level is concerned with the impact on achieving the University’s goals; or reinforcing the University’s high performing student focused culture.Whilst all levels of evaluation are important in measuring the effectiveness of development activities, the higher levels show more clearly the impact of development activities on the achievement of DMU’s goals and Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.


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6. Communication and Support

Communication of development opportunities is provided through the following:

• Staff Development Matters (published quarterly).

• The APDU and Training and Development Intranet sites provide information on programmes, tools to assess need and methods of accessing support.

• The Development Teams, HR Partners and Chairs of Faculty Learning and Teaching Committees provide additional sources of guidance and expertise.



Appendix 1 - Staff Development Policy and Guidelines for Part Time Academic Staff pdf(66 kb)

Appendix 2 - DMU Skills Pledge Letter pdf(85 kb)


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