Learn how academic workload modelling can work for you

Academic workload modelling is an approach to understanding how members of academic staff spend their time when they are at work, from teaching and research to management, administration, academic citizenship and other activities.

It’s one of those things that universities and other higher education institutions and providers frequently feel that they should be doing, without really being sure why. And when they have a model, they’re not always entirely sure what to do with it.

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This is why I’ve written the Sockmonkey Guide to Academic Workload Modelling.

This how-to guide seeks to lift the lid on the workload modelling process, to consider what a workload model can – and cannot – achieve and to explore how an effective workload model can be developed in practice.

It also, critically, looks at how institutions can use their workload models to improve what they do, to be more efficient in how they work and to bring about positive change for their people.

The guide is free to download in PDF form.

I’ve also developed a basic workload model template in Microsoft Excel format, which institutions can use to get a feel for how a model might work. You can download the template here.

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I’ve released it under a Creative Commons license, so you can also play around with it and tailor it to your own needs.

And I’ve developed a suite of support packages for individual academic departments, faculties or institutions, too, which help them to design, develop and implement robust workload models. You can read about these packages and how they could help you in this brochure.

Please do let me know if you find the guide and/or the template useful. And if you’d like to discuss workload modelling in more detail, or to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Evidence, evidence, evidence

I’m a big fan of evidence-based decisions. But the number of people who feel the same way I do appears to be on the wane. Whether it’s fake news, dubious think tank reports or unsubstantiated political claims, the idea of being able to support what we say and do with actual facts seems to have lost its appeal. Well, that’s not how we roll here at Sockmonkey HQ. And here’s what I’m doing about it. Continue reading

Supporting diversity in higher education

I was delighted to have the opportunity recently to support a student-run event at the University of Bristol, designed to promote diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The ‘Diversity in STEM’ event, which took place on Wednesday 7th March, attracted students, potential students and members of academic staff from across the UK and sought to identify ways to overcome barriers to progression and to increase awareness of career opportunities for STEM graduates. Continue reading

Supporting our communities

It is my firm view that companies should operate ethically and that they should seek to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they operate.

And I put my money where my mouth is (quite literally) by donating each year 10% of Sockmonkey’s pre-tax profits to charities who are doing great work in the communities where I live and work.

I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to support two amazing organisations in 2017: the Farming Community Network and the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team. Continue reading

Exploring efficiency in higher education

Efficiency can be a challenging concept. We accept that it’s a good thing, but we struggle to define it. We may recognise it when we see it, but the factors that drive it frequently remain elusive. And just when we think we’ve finally pinned it
down, we find that it can mean different things to different people.

Which is why I’ve been delighted to work with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education to research and prepare ‘Getting to grips with efficiency’, a guide aimed at those with governance responsibilities within UK higher education institutions.

The guide covers a broad range of efficiency-related topics, from the history of efficiency in organisations to how it is approached in today’s universities, and from how governors can help to promote efficiency to what institutions are already doing to make more efficient use of the resources available to them. In short, if you want to learn about the efficiency agenda and its impact on the UK higher education sector, this is the guide for you.

The guide can be downloaded from the LFHE website. If you don’t have a MyLF account, you can set one up for free.