History of workload model at UWE Bristol

UWE Bristol first started working on a unified academic workload model in 2008.

The start of the model

Definition and values of the model

It started with the definition of what the workload model was intended to achieve. The definition was based around values such as transparency, parity and equity for staff, and centred around a comparable student entitlement. These values were captured as part of the aims and objectives of the overall project, but the barriers around the introduction of a WLM, issues with transparency and belief systems around workload and actual experiences of workload made the outcomes very complex to manage.

Policy development

The workload model policy was a large part of the project, and there was much debate about how much time would be put into teaching.

A workload model based on different teaching allocations based upon fee bands was initially discussed. However, it was believed at the time that this approach would have put the UWE management team in a potentially indefensible position over time, because the fee bands did not differentiate around staff time, but overheads.

The introduction of a new flat fee of £9,000 per annum may have caused the University to rethink the whole model. Students became entitled to a comparable experience at UWE, and unless faculties and departments could prove a significant difference, the whole of UWE’s academic staff had to fit within a unified model.

The project was very much around the academic workload model rather than focussing on the financial aspect.

A Workload Model Governance Group (WLMGG) was created. Their role is pivotal to the existence of a workload model within an institution.

Tools to support the model

As part of this project, UWE started to design a spreadsheet to support the UWE Workload Model in 2009 in order to allocate staff resources to activities in “bundles” of teaching, research, management and other administration related activities. Departmental spreadsheets were in use until July 2013.

Workload Allocation Management System (WAMS)

Whilst operational, the spreadsheets had significant shortcomings. Therefore, in the spring of 2012, UWE embarked on a new project, WLM-SAPI (System and Process Improvement), to improve the system to support the workload model by implementing a web-based database solution (WAMS). Find out more about the Workload Allocation Management System.

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