4 The Birmingham Academic The University of Birmingham

4 The Birmingham Academic
The University of Birmingham, as a research-intensive university, is committed to carrying out
research that is world-leading in terms of its originality and distinctiveness, significance and rigour.
The University’s Research and Knowledge Transfer Strategy emphasises our intention to be
recognised internationally for research that is agenda-setting. The transfer of the knowledge and
technology generated from our research, and its ensuing impact on the economy, policy, society
and environment, is an embedded and natural component of our activity and is as important and
relevant as the knowledge generation itself
We envisage that all academic staff will undertake and produce research of a quality which will
meet international standards of excellence and that they will disseminate and transfer the results
of that research in modes and forms as appropriate to the discipline.
For individual academic staff, this would be demonstrated by:
1 Regularly publishing research material or producing other research outputs in a form eligible
for inclusion in the REF or for equivalent peer review and of a quality that is clearly recognised
as internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour;
2 Fully engaging with the research life of the University and their School and, in so doing,
help sustain a strong research culture. Contributions to the research environment will vary
between disciplines but may typically include: attracting research income, high quality doctoral
researchers and research studentships, winning externally funded research fellowships and
attracting distinguished overseas scholars to the School/department; delivery of research
seminars; engaging in knowledge transfer activity;
3 Demonstrating, as appropriate to career stage and discipline, the ability to manage research
projects/programmes and promoting the training and development of early career researchers
and/or research assistants, including mentoring of colleagues, thereby helping them to
develop their research skills and to realize their research potential;
4 Supervising doctoral researchers to the timely and successful completion of their research
degree studies;
5 Contributing to the development of their field(s) of research activity at national and
international level, through, for example, regular presentations at conferences, invitations
to give plenary/key lectures, membership of peer review panels, etc;
6 Seeking out and pursuing opportunities to engage directly with external organisations and
the public in ways that result in direct transfer of their expertise and knowledge to the benefit
of policy makers, businesses and the community, locally, nationally and/or internationally;
7 Ensuring at all times that, in undertaking and transferring their research, they adhere
to the highest standards of performance and ethical conduct and embed good practice
in all aspects of their work.
Section one:
Research and Knowledge Transfer
The Birmingham Academic 5
Teaching is an essential purpose of any university and is a particularly important mission for a
research-led university. It is through our teaching and learning that students acquire the skills,
approaches and modes of thought which characterise the Birmingham Graduate. These attributes
are developed through a curriculum which is innovative, challenging and engaging and which
broadens and deepens the students’ understanding of the nature of knowledge and their capacity
to interpret, evaluate and explain. The University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy is informed
by the research undertaken by its academic staff and is centred upon an Enquiry Based Learning
approach. The Birmingham Experience is intended to equip our graduates to become global
citizens who will shape the future through their active contributions to their chosen fields of
employment. Our teaching therefore will challenge, inspire and enthuse our students to fulfil
their potential.
We expect all our academic staff to undertake a teaching role within the University, thereby passing
on their existing and developing research knowledge and understanding to successive generations.
Such teaching would normally be delivered at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and
include research training and supervision.
For individual academic staff, this would be demonstrated by:
1 Undertaking teaching that is research-led, research-informed and also, where appropriate,
research-centred (ie, in which students undertake research), thereby ensuring both that
the curriculum is informed by current research practice and knowledge and that it adopts
approaches to learning that support the research ethos;
2 Contributing to a student academic experience that is intellectually challenging,
inclusive and that helps develop their qualities of leadership, global citizenship and
social responsibility and their employability skills;
3 Contributing to, and as appropriate leading, academic modules and programmes,
shaping and directing the students’ academic understanding and skills;
4 Providing academic feedback, advice and support to students in an appropriate and
timely fashion and form;
5 Contributing to assessment and marking and to the development of assessment
modes that challenge the abilities and creativity of Birmingham students;
6 Being innovative in the development of effective teaching and learning and in the use
of assessment methods, drawing upon advances in pedagogy, e-learning and emerging
teaching technologies to enhance the students’ learning experience;
7 Demonstrating critical self-reflection on their own teaching practice, undertaking and,
as appropriate, leading professional development and training in teaching methodology/
practice and developing and publishing pedagogic research.
Section two:
6 The Birmingham Academic
Academic citizenship takes many forms and is guided by the principle of conscientious and
responsible institutional involvement that extends beyond immediate colleagues, students,
discipline or university to include obligations to society at large. Good academic citizenship is
an essential facet of any successful career, and outstanding and selfless contributions warrant
due recognition. Academic citizenship takes many forms, both formal and informal. At a formal
level it involves the assumption of leadership and management at an appropriate level, from roles
such as examinations officer, admissions tutor and programme director, through to the Headship
of a School/Department. More broadly, it includes service as Chair or member of a University-level
Committee, Task Force or Working Group, Chair/member of a School Quality Review team,
College-level roles such as Director of Education or of Quality Assurance and Enhancement and
representing the University on external bodies and Committees. At an informal level academic
citizenship embraces responsibilities to colleagues, whether inside or outside the institution, such
as helping, nurturing and supporting their work, especially that of younger or newer colleagues.
It includes generous, mutually-respectful and supportive working relationships with academic,
administrative, technical and support staff. In all, the best acts of good citizenship demonstrate
personal commitment towards the best interests of the institution.
For individual academic staff, this would be demonstrated by:
1 Recognising that, in all circumstances, staff are ambassadors for the University of Birmingham
and should therefore endeavour, in all fora and personal interactions, to demonstrate the
highest standards of corporate responsibility in order to enhance our collective reputation;
2 Contributing to School/College activities such as open days, student welcome, graduation
and alumni events and undertaking roles of responsibility within their School and/or College,
such as conducting Staff Development Reviews, mentoring probationary staff, and leading,
serving on and assisting the work of committees, working parties and panels;
3 Assuming larger management roles within the School, College and wider University such as
by serving on committees, task forces, steering groups, working groups and appointment
panels as appropriate;
4 Participating in University processes, such as peer observation of teaching, quality assurance
and enhancement processes, including annual review and School Quality Review, and
preparation for research reviews at School, College and/or University levels;
5 Working in collaboration with professional staff in Colleges and Corporate Services to ensure
smooth and effective delivery of administrative processes;
6 Seeking out opportunities to represent Birmingham on national and international bodies such
as learned societies, academic and pedagogic journals, and funding bodies;
7 Contributing towards an inclusive community in which diversity is embraced and celebrated.
Section three:
Academic Citizenship
The Birmingham Academic 7
An effective and successful world-leading University is a partnership between the Institution
and its academic staff. Expectations placed on academic staff will be matched by the provision
of support to allow individuals to develop their expertise and capabilities and thereby realise their
potential, to the mutual benefit of themselves and the University.
The University of Birmingham will demonstrate its commitment by providing:
1 An outstanding intellectual and physical environment that is supportive of all aspects of
academic activity, including excellent laboratories, library resources and learning technologies;
2 Efficient, effective and responsive administrative and technical support which, in partnership
with academic staff, promotes the academic mission and is aligned to institution-wide
needs and priorities;
3 Effective support in the development of individuals’ careers, including provision of
appropriate training, mentoring and guidance, regular staff development and performance
review and feedback;
4 Purposeful professional development opportunities for academic staff in teaching practice,
student support roles, research exploitation and knowledge transfer, and in those academic
leadership skills which will enable future University of Birmingham leaders to acquire the
management capabilities required of them;
5 Opportunities and encouragement to participate in scholarly activity such as research
and teaching and learning conferences, editorial duties and learned societies;
6 Approaches to workload allocation which seek to balance appropriately contributions to
the full portfolio of academic duties (eg, teaching duties/student contact hours/knowledge
transfer/research time/academic management duties) and provision, where appropriate
of sabbatical leave, in accordance with institution-wide policies;
7 Promotion and reward processes which value excellence and ensure that all cases are
rigorously, transparently and fairly assessed against clear and consistent policies and
criteria which acknowledge and value excellence in teaching, research and other modes
of knowledge transfer, and significant contributions to the academic life of the University;
8 Fair policies on equal opportunities, harassment, grievance and disciplinary matters.
Section four:
Institutional Responsibilities
8 The Birmingham Academic
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