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Special Studies Program Policy

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The purpose of this policy is to define and establish the University's approach to its investment in Special Studies for Academic Staff.

Section 2 - Scope

(2) This policy applies to continuing and fixed-term academic staff and Heads of School of the University of New England. It should be read in conjunction with the Special Studies Program Procedures.

Section 3 - Policy

(3) The rationale for the University of New England's (UNE) Special Studies Program (SSP) is to strengthen and develop the University's profile and the priorities embedded within its Strategic Plan via the professional development of academic staff.

(4) SSP provides academic staff with the opportunity to engage in a special period of study for professional development, beyond that provided during their normal employment, including teaching-free periods provided for within the Collective Agreement and School workload policies.

(5) SSP will provide academic staff with the opportunity to:

  1. undertake a sustained period free from teaching and administrative duties for engagement with professional programs and development activities, research or scholarship to enhance their own research, teaching and administrative/service expertise, aligned with the strategic directions of their School and the University as a whole; and
  2. develop, maintain and improve professional networks nationally and internationally in order to contribute to the University's Strategic Plan.

(6) The right to apply for SSP is available to academic staff who meet the eligibility requirements provided in the Special Studies Program (SSP) Procedures, and is an investment in their professional development, consistent with documented discussions during their Performance Planning Development and Review (PPDR) process.

(7) The relevant Head of School's endorsement of an application for SSP is based on consideration of the application's academic merit, its alignment with the University's strategic priorities, the applicant's teaching and administrative commitments and PPDR outcomes, and the resource constraints of the School.

(8) Following endorsement by the relevant Head of School, an application for SSP is referred to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for approval. The decision of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be final.

(9) The Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor may convene an advisory group should s/he require an external view on any specific SSP applications.

Quality Assurance

(10) The Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor is responsible for ensuring that this policy is implemented effectively and consistently across all relevant academic and professional units.

Breaches

(11) While a staff member is on SSP they are required to comply with the University's policies.

(12) Any breach of the University's legislative obligations may result in legal action against the University. A breach by an employee may also result in disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions set out in the relevant Collective Agreement or employment contract.

Section 4 - Definitions

(13) Collective Agreement - means University of New England Academic Staff-Union Collective Agreement 2010 to 2012 or current workplace agreement as applicable.

(14) Head of School - also means Director of Centre, Head of Cost Centre or equivalent.

(15) Scholarship - means academic study or achievement; learning at a high level.

(16) School - means School and other organisational units such as Oorala, Learning Innovations Hub and UNE research centres.

(17) Staff - means a staff member, who is not a casual employee, and is covered by the University of New England Academic Staff-Union Collective Agreement 2010 to2012, or the replacement Agreement.