Academic Workload Engagement Exercise

Academic Workload Engagement Exercise

Information for staff on Focus Groups taking place next month as part of the Academic Workload Engagement Exercise

Dear Colleagues,

The Staff Survey 2023 highlighted that reported concerns about workload pressures continue to persist, despite previous efforts to address this issue. 

In response to these ongoing concerns, the Senior Management Team agreed that an Academic Workload Engagement Exercise be undertaken with a view to identifying the key factors which underpin workload pressures. 

All members of academic staff are invited to participate in the Academic Workload Engagement Exercise.  To gather feedback from individual members of Academic staff on the key factors which underpin workload pressures, a series of Focus Groups will take place on the following dates:

Tuesday 2 May

9.30am – 11am

Online via Microsoft Teams

Register here

Tuesday 2 May

3pm – 4.30pm

Conference Room 402, Suttie Centre, Foresterhill

Register here

Thursday 4 May

12pm – 1.30pm

Online via Microsoft Teams

Register here

Thursday 18 May

2pm – 3.30pm

Flat Floor Space (0.001), Science Teaching Hub

Register here

To participate in one of the Focus Groups, please book your space via the relevant link beside each session detail.

The Focus Groups will consider the following questions:

When thinking about (i) the provision of education, and (ii) conducting research:

  • what are the key factors that impact on workload and how could they be overcome?
  • what are the key systems/process barriers you face and how could they be overcome?

We fully appreciate that not everyone will be able to participate in a Focus Group discussion.  Therefore a dedicated email address ( has also been established for members of Academic staff to submit written comments, reflections and views in a secure and confidential manner.  This mailbox is now active so submissions can be received with immediate effect, and it will remain open until Tuesday 2 May.

The work of academic and professional services colleagues is of course connected, as we all work towards shared objectives.   In considering any changes to systems or processes, we also need to address workload pressures on Professional Services colleagues and to avoid simply moving pressures around the University.   The Professional Services Directors and Lead School Administration Manager will engage with their teams to identify their pressure points and potential changes to processes or systems that might help to address those workload issues.   This work will iterate both across Professional Services and with the outputs from the Academic Workload Engagement Exercise.

In order for the Academic Workload Engagement Exercise to deliver meaningful outcomes, we need to capture as broad a range of perspectives as possible.  Therefore, we strongly encourage you to provide us with your feedback and we look forward to engaging with you over the coming weeks as this process gets underway.

The outcomes from the Exercise will be analysed and a report, including findings and recommended next steps, will be presented to the Workload Review Group and the Senior Management team for consideration in early June.  We recognise that change cannot happen overnight - actions identified will have to be taken forward through a process of prioritisation and not all suggestions will be able to be easily addressed.  Nevertheless, we are committed to managing and addressing workload pressures and this Exercise forms an important part of our response to the concerns which have been raised.

The Academic Engagement Exercise will provide us with a valuable opportunity to make tangible enhancements to how we operate on a day-to-day basis which will be to the benefit of us all and will ultimately release academic staff time to focus on delivering core education and research activities.

Please be assured that all feedback received as part of this Exercise will be treated in a confidential manner and will not be attributed to any individual(s).  If you have any problems in accessing any of the feedback mechanisms, please contact Heather Crabb, Senior Governance & Executive Support Officer (

Best wishes

Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education)

Marion Campbell
Vice-Principal (Research)