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Local dispute (3): Academic Activity Profiles

January 27, 2011
University of Leeds academic activity profiles

Do you measure up?

The threat to introduce Academic Activity profiles at the University of Leeds has been looming for a number of years, but at no point has the University management clearly explained exactly what these might be for.

It is clear to the UCU that this decision to create a detailed profile of each member of academic staff using a series of metrics and records of activity will create data that can serve as a mechanism for pre-selection for redundancy of members. We are very concerned that, in approving these, Senate may have been mis-led, as there was no open declaration to Senators that staff had been ranked against one another in the pilot versions of these profiles.

The university Council and Senate have decided to implement ‘Academic Activity Profiles’, in order to manage academic activity at the University of Leeds. The profiles are based on ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs), which reduce a complex set of data to a single number. These KPIs have been aggregated together into a ‘basket’ which is then used to rank staff. One KPI is based on student feedback from NSS and even this has been used to rank some staff. This methodology can be used to pre-select staff for redundancy and consequently the UCU is totally opposed to their introduction.

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