New working group begins evaluation of academic workload



A working group has been established to review the academic workload and implement a workload allocation system that is fair, transparent and effective.

Following feedback from the last Staff Survey, the new Academic Workload Working Group (AWWG) will conduct a cross-university review of the current workload allocation models to gain an understanding of how the effort associated with tasks is estimated and how they are then allocated.  AWWG will also research how workload is allocated in other universities and determine whether Heriot Watt is effectively allocating resource to achieve its target of matching performance in research and teaching. 

Other key particular questions that the group will consider are: What constitutes workload? How workload works for different academic contracts?  How does the allocation system supports academic staff who work part-time, who are on a phased return to work or who have caring responsibility?

The Working Group is led by Professor Scott Arthur (Dean) and includes colleagues from a range of job contracts, Schools and Services and breadth of experience: Kathryn Waite (SoSS), Alex MacLaren (EGIS), Lee Miles (TEX), James Cameron (EPS), Tony Weir (Research Engagement), Lindsay Donoghue (HR), a UCU representative, and a member of staff from MACS. 

AWWG will report to the University Executive and will make recommendations on a workload allocation system that help us deliver Strategy 2025, excelling in research and enterprise, pioneering in education and a flourishing community.

Scott Arthur, chair of AWWG, said: “The recent staff survey put the issue of wellbeing front and centre, and I am proud to see that  the issue of student wellbeing is also a priority for the University and the Student Union. Day-to-day there is much we can do, however, to improve wellbeing by focusing not just on what we do, but also how we do it. A fair workload model should form the basis of that.”

The working group welcomes colleagues to come forward with their views and experiences either formally or informally. To learn more about the work of the group or to contribute to the discussion please contact Scott Arthur at