Developing, supporting and engaging our sessional academic staff
About UON Academy
The UON Academy, initiated under our NeW Directions Strategic Plan in 2014 and continued under NeW Futures, aims to engage, support and recognise the key role that sessional academic staff play in the delivery of a world-class education.
The foundation of the UON Academy is about recognising how central our sessional workforce is to the functioning of the university and providing systematic support for this cohort. Being an organisation-wide initiative, the UON Academy relies on input and support from all faculties and divisions.
The UON Academy has initiated a number of improvements across UON to enhance the staff experience for our UON Academy members.
Sessional academic staff can now take greater control of their financial future, with an amendment to the UON Salary Packaging Policy that allows all staff to make pre-tax contributions to their UniSuper superannuation. Read more.
We created a section of the UON website dedicated to UON Academy to ensure easy access to key resources and links to Centre for Teaching and Learning development opportunities.
- Recruitment: We developed a standardised recruitment process that provides Schools with a best practice framework that ensures a quality assured, merit-based and consistent approach to the recruitment, selection and appointment of sessional staff.
- Appointment: we have implemented a new procedure for the appointment of sessional staff which simplifies the employment process, particularly for staff on multiple contracts.
- Access to services: we addressed the issue of continuity of Academy members’ access to key services like the library, parking and IT systems.
- Orientation: we refreshed the University orientation resources for new sessional staff to meet their specific needs and linked them to employment letters.
Infrastructure and facilities
- In the School of Education, a large section of the central School office was refurbished to include a UON Academy 'hot desk' area fitted with a computer, a meeting space and secure storage. Professor John Fischetti, Head of School of Education said the investment in a dedicated, quality space for UON Academy members aims to enhance their sense of community and belonging to the School.
"Our sessional staff are a critical part of our School's fabric. We are delighted to be able to improve their experience," John said.
- Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Wollotuka Institute also introduced dedicated work spaces with computer access for their UON Academy members at both the Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses.
- The School of Psychology refurbished a meeting room and lunch room to provide a more social space for their UON Academy members to network with other staff in the School.
Have UON Academy improvements been made in your area? We'd love to hear about them.
- Providing an optional performance feedback and discussion process specifically designed for sessional academic staff.
- Continue to work on consistency of payment for sessional academic staff and the development of a guideline in consultation with all Schools.
- Continued partnership with CTL to provide tailored and relevant professional development opportunities for sessional academic staff.
- Maintain visibility of the UON Academy as strong supporters of sessional academic staff to ensure they are a valued part of the UON community.
The UON Academy hold numerous networking events, which provide the opportunity for sessional academic staff, colleagues, heads of school, executive officers and course coordinators to network and to recognise the efforts of our sessional academic staff, as well as the efforts of all the staff that support this critical cohort.
See below the achievements of our sessional staff, as well as UON Academy networking events:
- Academic turns fiction into an award-winning reality
- UON Academy shines a light on sessional excellence
- Uniting to shift the culture
- Brilliant career lands miles franklin shortlisting
- UON Academy leads change in supporting sessional academics
- Inspiring teacher wins $1000 prize
- Investment in people and culture pays off
- UON Academy 2016 program launch
The Your Voice survey has been providing valuable insight into the employment experience at our University and informing workforce strategies and actions since 2003.
This group provides a centralised hub for all information relating to sessional/casual academic staff. Here you will find links to resources, tool kits, event details, as well as colleagues achievements, newsletters and University announcements.