Future workforce – a chapter of the 2014 Annual Report of the University of Newcastle, Australia. Includes information about WHS and equity.

Building the future - people

Throughout 2015 we continued to invest in our workforce and our physical and digital environments as we delivered the strategic objectives of our NeW Directions Strategic Plan.

In most organisations the capability, composition and culture of the workforce are critical determinants of whether organisational objectives are achieved. UON is no exception and has invested significantly in the attraction, development and retention of its workforce throughout 2015.

2015 key figures

Key figures - our people.jpg

2015 highlights

  • UON was one of only 90 organisations across Australia to receive the Employer of Choice for Gender Equity citation.
  • UON was selected to participate in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Initiative as a pilot institution.
  • Research Advantage Program (RAP) developed to build research capability in all levels of research staff.
  • Staff leadership programs developed to support the Leadership Framework capabilities.
  • Academic Women in Leadership Program coordinated for senior academic women participants.
  • 101 staff awarded Vice-Chancellor's Staff Awards for Excellence
  • 755 staff attended wellness programs
  • 7,618 job applicants

Strategic performance

The Future Workforce Plan strategic priorities for 2015 were:

Staff development

Leadership development and enhancement of research capabilities were particular areas of focus for staff development during 2015.

UON’s suite of leadership programs were further developed to support staff to demonstrate the Leadership Framework which describes the capabilities required of leaders at all levels. This included the launch of the Emerging Leaders and Managers Program (e-LAMP), which in its inaugural year had 50 staff participants, and the introduction of Mind Tools, an online self-directed learning system.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning delivered UON’s flagship professional development program for new teaching academics. This introduction to UON and to contemporary and engaged teaching practice is supplemented by two professional certificate programs:

  • Fundamentals in University Teaching, which introduces sessional academics and Research Higher Degree students to teaching. Over 40 participants received their certificate in 2015.
  • University Assessment, which is designed to promote best practice in assessment design at a practical level. Over 65 staff registered to participate in single modules offered within the certificate program in 2015.

Work health and safety

UON’s work health and safety framework and procedures were revised in 2015 to ensure a greater focus on practical guidance and clear expectations for leaders. Managers and supervisors led a focused campaign to emphasise the importance of safety in the workplace resulting in a significant increase in proactive hazard and near-miss reporting by staff.

Health and wellness

UON places great importance on the wellness of staff and students. The Healthy University Steering Committee oversees the activities and programs offered to encourage physical and mental health. In 2015, these activities included a popular Health Fair with health and wellness providers invited to run stalls promoting their services.

Mental Health Day in October was supported across UON campuses by promoting the mental health and wellness programs on offer, which include mental health awareness training for managers, aggression minimisation training, managing change, grief and loss, mindfulness meditation, an employee assistance program and workplace ergonomics.

Staff engagement

The UON Academy creates a culture of recognition by providing targeted support in the areas of recruitment, career development, performance management and professional support for sessional, conjoint and casual academic staff. In 2015, the Academy implemented improved access to IT and library systems as well as piloting a streamlined casual appointment process.

Valuing diversity

Throughout 2015, we continued to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and equity for staff of different backgrounds. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Committee was formed to support UON’s goal of further increasing the proportion of staff from Indigenous backgrounds. A range of strategies and opportunities were identified and implemented including Indigenous cadetships for students, modified recruitment processes to support Indigenous applicants and retention initiatives for existing staff. UON continued to support female staff to progress their careers with the Academic Women in Leadership (AWiL) program. In 2015, an AWiL network of all previous program participants was established to provide ongoing support, mentoring and development.

We continue to show success in attracting and retaining outstanding staff and leaders who have the appropriate capabilities to meet the challenges of the changing Australian tertiary education sector. Twelve key senior staff appointments were made in 2014 with the majority of employment offers coming from first-round recruitment processes, indicating that the University continues to be an attractive place to work for high-quality candidates. We also show great success in staff retention and engagement with the 2014 Your Voice survey reporting a higher than average result for Employee Engagement, compared with our benchmarked Australian universities.

Throughout the year we embarked on a broad range of organisational change processes to achieve alignment with our strategic goals. These changes resulted in the achievement of increased capability as well as desired efficiencies and streamlining in work areas.

Enterprise bargaining was another important focus with our staff voting overwhelmingly in favour of three new enterprise agreements for academic, teaching and professional staff – a strong endorsement of the positive outcome for the University and for all staff. The new enterprise agreements provide some increased flexibility for the University to support a performance culture and the required staffing model into the future, whilst also providing competitive conditions to attract and retain staff.

Senior Staff Appointments

  • Andrew Boyle Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Head of Discipline
  • Sally Chan Professor of Nursing and Head of School, Nursing and Midwifery
  • Peter Davis Professor of Construction Management
  • Paul Dunn Chief Financial Officer
  • Kevin Hall Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
  • Deborah Hodgson Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
  • Sanjay Kalra Chief Information Officer
  • Jennifer Martin Professor and Chair of Clinical Pharmacology
  • Eileen McLaughlin Pro Vice-Chancellor (Interim), Faculty of Science and Information Technology
  • Kate Morton Director, Business Process Improvement
  • Peter Radoll Professor of Information Systems and Dean, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Research
  • Geoff Whitty Global Innovation Chair for Equity in Higher Education

UON continues to attract leading researchers and outstanding leaders from around the world. Senior appointments made in 2015 included:

  • Professor Morris Altman Dean and Head of School, Newcastle Business School
  • Professor Penny Jane Burke Global Innovation Chair of Equity and Co- Director Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education
  • Professor Catharine Coleborne - Head of School, Humanities and Social Science
  • Professor Shin-Chan Han - Professor of Surveying/Geodesy
  • Professor Alan Hayes - Distinguished Professor of Family Studies and Director Family Action Centre
  • Mrs Elizabeth Horbach - Director, Marketing and Communications
  • Professor Shelly Lane - Professor of Occupational Therapy
  • Professor Ravi Naidu - Global Innovation Chair and Director Global Centre for Environmental Remediation
  • Professor Brett Ninness - Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment
  • Professor SueAnne Ware - Head of School, Architecture and Built Environment

Looking forward

During 2016, UON will continue to build on its successful staff management strategies. Particular areas of focus include:

  • Building five-year workforce plans to support the NeW Futures Strategic Plan outcomes.
  • Continuing to improve health and safety performance through leadership workshops, risk reduction and staff engagement.
  • Shaping UON culture to align to the NeW Futures Strategic Plan focus on agility, change orientation and delivering the best outcomes possible for our students, partners and communities.