A project run by universities, for universities to develop online performance enhancement
solutions right for the education and research sector.
solutions right for the education and research sector.
"Diamond Report" features a PFA Case Study
The PFA team are pleased to have been mentioned as a case study in the recent Universities UK "Diamond Report" on Efficiency, Effectiveness and Value for Money.
Thank you to all the universities and individuals involved in the project. Your contributions, thoughts and insights have resulted in a valuable project that "demonstrates how the sector is driving change in practices through autonomous decision making allied with a capacity for collaboration."
If you are not already involved and would like to be, click here.
Thoughts from Professor Threadgold on the PFA Academic Workload Management Working Groups
9 Feb 2015
In the last three months, in addition to attending the regular Performance For All Steering Group meetings around Academic Workload Management and Planning, and Performance, I have had the pleasure of Chairing the PFA working groups around Academic Workload Management and Planning. The Working Groups were hosted by the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, the University of South Wales. In Newport and City University in London. Over 30 universities have been represented across the three groups.
All three workshops were very well attended and have provided important opportunities for those currently grappling with workload issues to engage with others from the sector, ask questions,, share good practice and receive invaluable feedback from colleagues at similar or more advanced stages to themselves.
We were fortunate to have representatives from universities currently implementing or working towards implementing the PFA WAMS solution present along with representatives of PFA. Their depth of experience and ability to respond effectively to the groups’ many and varied questions was also valued by participants and produced very useful discussions around issues and good practice solutions.
Those that attended the working groups included post-92 and research intensive universities. They also represented just about every stage of academic workload planning and implementation from those that were just beginning to think about it, to those with many different models in schools or faculties that they need to consolidate by reaching agreement on consistent university-wide policies, tariffs and systems, to those who have passed this stage and are now looking at full TRAC compliance and auditing.
Despite this heterogeneity, there do seem to be a number of common issues which need clear answers if a workload project is to be successful. These include:
The working groups showed real interest in the Performance for All (PFA) ‘Workload Allocation Management System’ (WAMS), each group unanimously choosing to watch a demonstration in the lunch hour. It does seem then that many universities are now thinking of a university level IT solution as a way of pulling many current strands of activity together in a more consistent and transparent way. However, the stages and steps required between where they are at and this kind of solution are not always clear and for many of those we have been talking to, the question is: ‘Where to from here?’
To quote one senior academic who has been working in this area for a number of years:
‘I do kind of feel for those just setting out on the journey. A key message is that workload models touch on so many different issues of management, culture, communication etc. that it is inevitably a Pandora's can of worms if that is an acceptable metaphor ...’
Given this complexity, there is now a real need for another kind of workshop which would look not at broad general principles and common issues, but, using case studies, at the fine detail of workload modeling. `Much of the communication, consultation and cultural change that is required takes considerable time and needs to take that time. However when it comes to:
This issue emerged as part of the discussion at the third workshop at City University in London on 30th January. A number of those present expressed an interest in attending this kind of workshop and I indicated a willingness to develop a program to deliver it.
We agreed that this could be delivered in individual institutions, tailored to their needs, or by bringing a group of HEIs together in a single workshop.
I am now really keen to hear from any of you who would be interested in either of these two options. I would also like to know whether 1-5, as listed above, are the issues you would really like help with. If there are others, then please let me know. Once I have a clearer idea of what the need is and whether this would also be of interest to those who were not there on 30th January, I will begin to plan.
Former PVC Staff and Diversity
To find out more about these working groups, to become involved or to talk to Terry please reply to this e-mail or contact us here.
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About the project
Recent research suggests that up to 34% of time at work is spent on tasks that have limited impact on organisational goals. If it were possible to increase these productivity levels by just 2%, this would be an efficiency saving (in an average UK University) of £7.7 million per year, every year.
Performance For All is a sector-led project to test how web technology, built
and used successfully in the commercial sector, can be developed in order to have real impact in Higher Education.
It is a self-developed project, we do not seek, nor do we have, any central funding. A number of universities have simply come together, having examined what is already commercially available, around a need to develop practical solutions to the performance management challenge. We wish to create a tool that can meet some, or all, of the challenges faced by our diverse sector.
The project team
The Performance For All online solution is taking into account software capabilities, culture, change management and the specific implementation challenges universities face.
We are looking to deliver:
_Performance For All is working in partnership with Simitive to develop its suite of university tools.