The University is dedicated to supporting personal, professional and career development of its staff and postgraduate researchers. Professional development opportunities are provided by a number of different Professional Services who provide workshops, courses, online and bespoke training for all staff (academic, technical, professional services, manual and support) and postgraduate researchers.

Courses and workshops can be viewed and booked via the online course booking system. Our suite of professional development opportunities has been designed from consultation exercises, participant feedback, senior management, advisory and steering groups and national policies, concordats and benchmarking.

Staff Development

Staff development supports the University's Human Resources Strategy. The aim of the strategy and its supporting policies and procedures is to provide a positive working environment which enables staff to optimise their performance, commitment and contribution.

Annual Review

The Annual Review process was introduced in February 2014 to replace the previous appraisal scheme. This process was developed in partnership with a Working Group consisting of representatives from all categories of staff and areas within the University, and there was also representation from all the Campus Trade Unions.

The Purpose of Annual Review

Annual Review enables individual members of staff to review and reflect on their performance over the previous 12 months and to obtain some feedback.

In addition it provides the opportunity to set objectives so that members of staff are clear about what is expected of them for the next 12 month period. Annual review also takes into account career aspirations and provides the opportunity to link with the separate promotion procedures.

Training and development requirements should be identified as part of the review. There is also an opportunity to provide upward feedback.

Annual Review Documentation 

Two sets of Annual Review forms have been produced which contain detailed guidance for the completion of the review form.

One form has been designed and is recommended for use by staff in Grades 1 to 4 and the other form is recommended for staff in Grades 5 to 9.

Detailed guidance on the completion of the forms is also provided.

The job description should be considered as the initial step in annual review and updated if necessary.

Please note, the annual review process in the College of Life Sciences and Medicine has been revised for Academic Staff (Grades 6 and above only).
Annual Review Discussion 

The quality of the discussion between the reviewer and the member of staff who is being reviewed is the key factor which will determine the effectiveness of the Annual Review process.

Completion of the form provides both the reviewer and the member of staff being reviewed with a framework for the discussion.

We recommend that both parties consider what they wish to achieve through the review process and plan the discussion accordingly.

Annual Review is a two way process and it is expected that the person being reviewed will do most of the talking

Follow Up Meeting

It is good practice to have a brief follow up meeting after 6 months to ensure that progress is being made in relation to the objectives which have been set and to make any changes which may be required.


We have a commitment to evaluate the Annual Review process and members of staff are encouraged to complete the Evaluation Form which is included as the final section of the Annual Review Documentation.


A video is available which was produced for the previous appraisal process. This video provides guidance on how to conduct a successful review discussion and also the things to avoid which might prove helpful.

Annual Review Training

This PowerPoint presentation used at the training sessions provides some more information.

If you wish to arrange a training session for Annual Review please contact Staff Development (E: or T: +44(0)1224 273963) for further information. 
Accredited Programmes
Professional Development Providers
  • Business Improvement
    The Business Improvement Team provide training in Lean methodology as it applies to the Higher Education sector. The aim of providing this training is to develop a cohort of staff (both academics and administrators) with the knowledge and expertise to support a culture of continuous improvement at the University of Aberdeen. Courses on offer include a lunchtime taster session and a two-day ILM endorsed development programme. 
  • Centre for Academic Development
    The Centre for Academic Development brings together expertise in learning and teaching and in researcher development to support staff and students from across the University in their professional development. The Centre works in partnership with academic staff to tackle complex issues in teaching, learning and assessment. We provide advice on funder expectations and good practice in researcher development for funding proposals. We facilitate professional development through accredited programmes and a range of workshops and events.
  • Human Resources
    The Department of Human Resources offers a range of services aimed at supporting managers and staff with both operational and strategic matters. The HR team provide support and guidance for all staff through workshops, bespoke sessions, through an online handbook and one to one guidance. 
  • IT Services
    IT Services is responsible for the management, operation and support of the University’s IT infrastructure. IT training opportunities for staff and research postgraduate students are administered and coordinated by the Training and Documentation (TaD) Team. TaD offer a year round programme of IT courses and workshops, covering a range of topics and supported software.
  • Library
    The Library, on four sites over three campuses, is one of the largest and best equipped in Scotland, offering excellent resources to support students and staff in teaching, learning and research. The Library Service provides a range of information skills support and other workshops to support the student and academic community in the effective use information resources for research and teaching. We provide support through a range of workshops and information sessions and through individual guidance appointments.
  • Public Engagement with Research Unit
    The Public Engagement with Research Unit is available to help you generate ideas, and provide advice for your public engagement activities. Many of our festivals and events are endorsed by the major UK and EU research funders, helping to enhance the impact of being involved as a researcher or research team. We work closely with the Centre for Academic Development to provide training courses and workshops and can work with you to develop and deliver bespoke guidance for you and your research team.
  • Researcher Development

  • Staff Development
    The Staff development team is here to support your personal and professional development. We run a continuous programme of skills workshops – from minute taking to feedback skills – to ensure that there’s always an opportunity for you to build on your existing skills. We will also work in partnership with you to develop and deliver bespoke sessions or to discuss coaching and mentoring.
Association of University Administrators

The Association of University Administrators (AUA) is the professional body for higher education managers and administrators, with around 4,000 members in the UK and worldwide. They have in the region of 180 branches based in universities and higher education colleges as well as HE-related bodies.

The AUA is committed to:

  • promoting excellence in higher education management through our professional development scheme, annual conference, specific training events and publications
  • advancing a code of professional standards
  • providing information networks through newsletters, e-bulletins and personal networking
  • developing international links with appropriate organisations and with individuals
  • enhancing the profile of the profession nationally and internationally

The University of Aberdeen currently has 23 members drawn from a variety of levels and areas across the institution. Membership of the AUA is open to all those members of staff within the University who are involved in management, administrative or clerical activities and are committed to promoting excellence in their work.

Have a look at the AUA webpages below and remember to visit the webpage regularly to stay up-to-date with AUA events within the University!


For more information, contact the University AUA Advocates Emma Fowlie or Ashley Powell at or visit the AUA Homepage

How to join us

If you are a member of staff at the University of Aberdeen and you have, or aspire to taking on, managerial or administrative responsibilities, you are eligible to join the Association of University Administrators as a full member. Visit the AUA site for full details on securing membership, or contact the University's AUA Advocates, Emma Fowlie and Ashley Powell, by emailing

UK members can claim tax relief on their membership subscriptions as a professional fee.

There are many benefits of being a member, including:

  • Receive the regular Newslink newsletter, Perspectives, a quarterly international journal, as well as regular AUA Updateswith news and information to help you to keep up to date with key developments in HE management
  • Receive good practice guides
  • Annual 3-day conference in the UK - educational and a great networking opportunity
  • Join the AUA LinkedIn Network
  • Join various AUA email lists in your area of expertise
  • Various online tools on the AUA website to support you in your work
  • Opportunity to complete the AUA’s Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice
  • International links, study tours and travel awards
  • Discounts on professional development courses
Links and Supporting Documents