We recognise that a supportive and developmental probation process is vital in providing the appropriate level of support and training for new members of staff.

Probationary procedures differ for the following staff categories:

Academic Staff

The University recognises that all new Academic Staff (defined as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer) require a period of planned induction, training and appropriate support to ensure that there is a smooth transition from being a new member of staff to becoming an established member of the University.

The probationary period for new Academic Staff is normally for three years, with a possible extension for a fourth year in exceptional circumstances.

Previous Probation Procedure

Please note that staff who are currently on probation will continue with the existing process, the new policy will only apply to staff commencing employment after 30 June 2015.

Please Contact HR for advice or if you require any of the previous documentation.

Policy and Forms

For full details please read the following Policies:

The following forms should be completed as required:

Guidance for Employees

Please click below to download Academic Probation Process Flowchart which provides a useful summary of the key stages of the procedure:

Responsibilities

The Probationer is responsible for:

  • Taking responsibility for her/his own work and agreeing a structured plan with his/her Head of School/Academic Line Manager, in consultation with his/her Mentor, detailing specific and clear objectives for his/her probationary period, together with details of the training/development and guidance which will help achieve these objectives. This plan will thereafter form the basis for probation review discussions.
  • Keeping in touch with the Mentor and seeking advice when necessary.
  • Ensuring that the Mentor is given appropriate access to the Probationer’s activities including, as appropriate, research, teaching and administrative activities.
  • Developing a career in research, teaching and administration in line with the requirements of the School and as outlined in the strategic plan agreed with the Head of School/Academic Line Manager and Mentor at the beginning of the Probationary period and also taking account of the agreed annual objectives set at the beginning of each year.
  • Working closely with the Head of School/Academic Line Manager and colleagues to meet the School's and the University's research, teaching and administrative objectives.
  • Providing a report at the agreed intervals to the Head of School/Academic Line Manager and, at the end of the process, the Probationary Review Panel.
  • Ensuring that his/her Mentor is informed about the objectives and feedback provided to the Probationer by the Head of School/Academic Line Manager so that informed support can be given throughout the remainder of the probationary period and beyond.
  • The University offers a wide range of courses designed to develop skills in teaching and tutorial work, research planning, preparing publications, applying for research grants, managerial skills etc and Probationers are required to source and utilise these, discussing with the Mentor which of the courses are most relevant to his/her learning needs. There is also a requirement to complete the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education course at the University of Aberdeen.
  • Ensuring that where areas for improvement are identified, he/she works with the Head of School/Academic Line Manager and Mentor to agree what actions are required to facilitate the improvements suggested and the timescales for achievement.
  • Raising any problems or concerns about probation as soon as possible with the Mentor and/or Head of School Academic Line Manager.
Guidance for Managers

Please click below to download Academic Probation Process Flowchart which provides a useful summary of the key stages of the procedure:

Responsibilities

Head of School/Academic Line Manager

  • Arranging for induction to be provided for the Probationer, commencing on or before the start date of his/her appointment.
  • Ensuring that the Probationer fully understands his/her role within the School whilst ensuring that the Probationer is not given an unreasonable amount of teaching and administration, that may be detrimental to his/her research efforts in the early part of his/her career.
  • Appointing a suitably experienced Mentor. In the event of the assigned Mentor leaving the University or being absent for 3 months or more, the Head of School/Academic Line Manager shall appoint a replacement and ensure that the Probationer is kept informed of any change and the reasons for this change.
  • Meeting with the Mentor and the Probationer within six weeks of the Probationer’s start date to complete the Overall Strategic Plan form and the Agreed Annual Objectives form.
  • At appropriate intervals, undertaking review meetings with the Probationer and the Mentor to gather relevant information to complete the Annual Report form. 
  • Completing the Final Report form to be submitted to the Probationary Review Panel at the end of the probationary period. 
  • Informing the Mentor about the School's and the University's research and teaching objectives. This will ensure that the Probationer has ready access to a Mentor who is properly informed about the relative priorities within the School and can give appropriate advice.
  • Ensuring equity of treatment of Probationary staff within the School.
  • Reviewing the annual reports and progress of each Probationer and providing feedback to the Academic as appropriate.
  • Convening the Probationary Review Panel at the end of Year 3, or exceptionally before year 3, and deciding whether or not the appointment will be confirmed or extended.

Mentor

  • Reviewing the Probationer’s progress on a regular basis, including carrying out regular teaching observations, during the probationary period.  These informal reviews should take place at least once a term.
  • Guiding, supporting and encouraging the Probationer throughout the period of his/her probation to plan, set and achieve objectives and targets and to confirm that he or she understands the procedures governing his/her probationary period and understands the criteria for successful completion.
  • Maintaining regular contact with the Probationer to discuss progress and address any issues or difficulties as and when they arise.  It should be noted, however, that the Mentor’s role is to act as an adviser who should try to empower and encourage the Probationer to solve the matter him or herself.
  • Focusing discussions with the Probationer to highlight, to the Head of School/Academic Line Manager, areas where the Probationer is doing well and also, if necessary, identify areas for improvement. Should any problems arise, the Mentor should raise these, as appropriate, with the Head of School who is responsible for addressing any such problems with the Probationer, taking advice where necessary from the Human Resources Section.
  • Ensuring the Probationer is aware of the research, teaching and administration objectives within the School and the University and the role within that of the probationer’s contract of employment.
  • Accompanying the Probationer to review meetings with the Head of School/Academic Line Manager; giving advice to the Probationer when requested and offering advice when he or she believes it appropriate.
  • Offering to observe the Probationer’s full range of teaching (lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes etc.) and providing constructive feedback and advice.
  • Discussing any evaluation of teaching through feedback obtained by the Probationer, e.g. student questionnaires, peer or Head of School/Academic Line Manager observation of teaching.
  • Regularly discussing research plans and other activities appropriate to the discipline (e.g. discussions, group meetings), assisting in drawing up grant proposals, commenting on draft publications etc. and providing constructive feedback.

 

Academic Related, Research and Teaching Staff

A new probation policy has been introduced which now requires all new Academic Related, Research & Teaching (Grades 5-9) appointees to undergo a probationary period of twelve months.

During the probation period staff are required to demonstrate their suitability for employment in the University of Aberdeen with particular regard to standards of:

  • Performance of Duty;
  • Attendance;
  • Absence;
  • Conduct.
Policy and Forms

For full details please read the following Policies: 

This form should be completed by the Head of School/Section and (where applicable) line manager: 

Guidance for Employees

Responsibilities

During your probationary period you are responsible for:
 

  • Demonstrating your suitability for the post for which they are appointed 
  • Participating as required in your induction 
  • Meeting any reasonable objectives within deadlines set 
  • Identifying to your line manager at the earliest opportunity any difficulties you are experiencing 
  • Raising with your line manager any training, development or support which you believe to be necessary in order to fulfil the requirements of your role 
  • Letting your Head of School/Section or Line Manager know as soon as possible if you are absent for any reason
Guidance for Managers

Responsibilities

During a new employee's probation, the line manager is responsible for:

  • Establishing the standards of performance consistent with the requirements of the position, in line with the job description
  • Communicating the required standards, responsibilities and objectives to the new staff member 
  • Ensuring the new employee is inducted locally
  • Making sure that the employee is aware that records of induction activities may be used to support the probation process
  • Maintaining induction records which will provide complete and documented evidence to support the probation procedure
  • Providing training and guidance as necessary
  • Monitoring the performance of the employee using the Probationary Monitoring Form (link)
  • Holding regular one-to-one meetings with the employee in order to ensure a good working relationship and provide feedback on the employee’s progress
  • Arranging and conducting formal probation review meetings at the intervals prescribed in the probation procedure
  • Providing appropriate supervision to monitor progress or identify difficulties and provide opportunity for resolution
  • Timely conduct and documentation of probation reviews
  • Advising Human Resources of the outcome of the probation period including any extension of or difficulties during the probation period
  • Confirming verbally whether or not the employee has completed their probationary period successfully at the final review meeting
Support Staff

All new Support Staff (Grades 1-4) members are required to undergo a probationary period of six months. During this time Support Staff are required to demonstrate their suitability for employment in the University of Aberdeen with particular regard to standards of:

  • Performance of Duty;
  • Attendance;
  • Absence;
  • Conduct.

Previous Probation Procedure 

Please note that staff who are currently on probation will continue with the existing process, the new policy will only apply to staff commencing employment after 30 June 2015. Please Contact HR for advice or if you require any of the previous documentation. 

Policy and Forms

For full details please read the following Policies: 

This form should be completed by the Head of School/Section and (where applicable) line manager: 

Guidance for Employees

Responsibilities

During your probationary period you are responsible for:

  • Demonstrating your suitability for the post for which they are appointed 
  • Participating as required in your induction 
  • Meeting any reasonable objectives within deadlines set 
  • Identifying to your line manager at the earliest opportunity any difficulties you are experiencing 
  • Raising with your line manager any training, development or support which you believe to be necessary in order to fulfil the requirements of your role 
  • Letting your Head of School/Section or Line Manager know as soon as possible if you are absent for any reason 
Guidance for Managers

Responsibilities

During a new employee's probation, the line manager is responsible for:  

  • Establishing the standards of performance consistent with the requirements of the position, in line with the job description
  • Communicating the required standards, responsibilities and objectives to the new staff member 
  • Ensuring the new employee is inducted locally 
  • Making sure that the employee is aware that records of induction activities may be used to support the probation process 
  • Maintaining induction records which will provide complete and documented evidence to support the probation procedure 
  • Providing training and guidance as necessary 
  • Monitoring the performance of the employee using the Probationary Monitoring Form (link)
  • Holding regular one-to-one meetings with the employee in order to ensure a good working relationship and provide feedback on the employee’s progress 
  • Arranging and conducting formal probation review meetings at the intervals prescribed in the probation procedure 
  • Providing appropriate supervision to monitor progress or identify difficulties and provide opportunity for resolution
  • Timely conduct and documentation of probation reviews 
  • Advising Human Resources of the outcome of the probation period including any extension of or difficulties during the probation period
  • Confirming verbally whether or not the employee has completed their probationary period successfully at the final review meeting