|Monash home | About Monash | Faculties | Campuses | Courses | Contact Monash|
|Staff directory | A-Z index | Site map|
Suggestions for preparing relevant personal circumstances (achievement relative to opportunity)
In support of the University's Global Equal Opportunity Policy, the University’s Staff Development Procedures - Academic Promotion for Candidates provide an opportunity for candidates to include details of personal circumstances, working arrangements and career histories in their application for promotion and to comment on their academic achievements relative to opportunities available to the candidate.
The following is a suggested format and some examples to assist candidates in developing a statement of achievement relative to opportunity. Please note that these are suggestions only and that candidates should tailor their statements to their own particular experiences and opportunities.
1. Identify any relevant personal circumstances which have impacted on opportunities for achievement
Relevant personal circumstances or arrangements can include:
Provide only a brief summary of the circumstances. Candidates are not required to describe specific details (such as the tasks undertaken as a primary carer).
Candidates are also not required to describe specific details about sensitive issues such as a medical illness. If it is important for specific details to be shared, a short and private discussion with the Chair of the committee will suffice.
2. What is achievement relative to opportunity?
Achievement(s) relative to opportunity is an evaluative framework in which the overall quality and impact of achievements is given more weight than the quantity, rate or breadth of particular achievements. Assessing achievements relative to opportunity involves giving consideration to personal characteristics (e.g. primary carer, disability), working arrangements (e.g. part-time work) and career histories (e.g. periods of leave and part-time work). Assessing achievement relative to opportunity therefore, gives consideration to the overall time available to the staff member. This in turn allows appropriate evaluation of achievements in relation to:
Achievement relative to opportunity is a positive acknowledgement of what a staff member can and has achieved given the opportunities available and is not about providing “special consideration” or expecting lesser standards of performance.
3. Enabling an assessment of achievement relative to opportunity
Candidates who would like a promotion committee to assess their achievements relative to opportunity should:
Candidates may wish to compare their own career achievements to benchmark data if this is available, on a pro-rata basis.
Candidates may also wish to provide a table within their statement of achievement which demonstrates clearly the years of full-time equivalence worked during any given period.
If you have been employed for ten years but had a career break of two years to be the primary caregiver of a child or children, the promotion committee should consider your achievements over an eight year period. Demonstrate your achievements relative to opportunity available during this time.
You might like to add any opportunities or invitations to speak at key note conferences you have not been able to take up because of carer responsibilities. This provides tangible evidence particularly if you provide details of the conference.
If you have had periods of leave or worked part-time in the period under consideration for promotion, provide a calculation of the effective full-time equivalence. For example, if between August 2006 and December 2011 you worked at 0.6 FTE, then your FTE for this period (5.25 years) was 3.2 years.
You could then compare your opportunity for achievement against that of a full time staff member (100% opportunity) and accordingly demonstrate your achievement on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you worked at .5 FTE and produced 1 paper, this would be equivalent to a full-time worker producing 2 papers during the same period.
It would be advantageous to then include the difference in the relevant academic performance standards in that academic area (eg. quantitative research targets) to show what would be expected at your average service fraction, over the years under assessment for promotion.
If you have worked full-time but your opportunity to achieve has been affected by factors that prevent you from engaging in afterhours activities (for example, attending international conferences), you may wish to demonstrate that rather than attending international conferences, you supervised a greater number of postgraduates or increased collaboration with colleagues. Provide details of your career progression.
5. Can I reference my overall career?
Unlike other areas of the promotion application form, in this section you may refer to your overall career history and trajectory to clearly demonstrate your achievements over time, beyond just the period since your last promotion.
6. Detailed Case Study
The following case study provides a practical example of a successful application for promotion at Monash University which contained a statement of relevant personal circumstances outlining achievements relative to opportunity.
Following a period of full-time academic work in which K was highly active in all three areas of academic activity, K had the first of three children and began using the University’s maternity leave and part-time work provisions. In total, K took three periods of maternity leave totalling 2½ years, and 6 months long service leave. She worked part time at 0.5 for a large part of this time, and at 0.75 for some later periods. In her application for promotion K included a Statement of Relevant Circumstances where she outlined her role as the primary carer for three young children, the working arrangements she had utilised and a calculation of the number of effective full-time years that she was employed during this period.
In the twelve years since her last promotion, she worked the equivalent of 5.75 years full time. In her application, K was able to demonstrate that after adjusting for her fractional status, her publication rate was well above the average benchmarked level for an academic from her discipline. She was also able to demonstrate that her fractional appointment included success at winning and completing large research grants.
K stated in her application that her role as primary carer made attendance at overseas conferences difficult for a number of years, and even conferences in Australia were limited for a number of those years. This made it difficult to develop her networks and expand personal contacts outside the University environment, although more recently she had been able to attend and give papers at conferences both in Australia and overseas.
In her application, K was able to provide evidence of the high quality contribution she had made to each area of academic work, including teaching innovation, research grants and publications, management and leadership through committee work, and professional and community service. Her statement included both quantitative and qualitative information to assist the committee with its assessment.
The promotion committee assessed K’s application for promotion on the basis of the time she actually had available to devote to academic work. The committee was satisfied that K had sustained a high level of performance at her present level and had the capacity to perform satisfactorily at the level to which she sought promotion. K’s application included clear evidence of having developed a track record of research, education and service and that she had made a significant and valuable contribution to her discipline, faculty and the University.
6. How the information is used
Promotion committees will be in a better position to make fair and valid judgements and assess achievements relative to opportunity if it is aware of the particular circumstances relevant to a candidate’s career achievements and progression The promotion committee will evaluate the achievements of the candidate in light of the opportunities available whilst ensuring that the indicators of quality and impact of achievements have been demonstrated.
Further information regarding assessment of achievements relative to opportunity is available on the Equity and Diversity website.
The information is collected for the primary purpose of assessing the candidate’s application for academic promotion. Information contained within the application may also be disclosed to University-nominated external assessors for assessment purposes. Note: this will occur only if you are applying for promotion to levels D and E (see Staff Development Procedure - Academic Promotion for Candidates Levels C - E). If you wish to inquire about the handling of your personal information, please contact the University Privacy Officer at email@example.com.