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DEMOS Project

Online Materials for Staff Disability Awareness
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Report on the interviews with representatives from Staff Development Units (SDUs) in the DEMOS Universities

24 January 2002

Mike Wray
Project Coordinator
DEMOS Project
HEFCE Disability Initiative 2000-2002


  1. Introduction
  2. Method
  3. Responses to questions
  4. Appendix 1
  5. Appendix 2
  6. Appendix 3 - Programme of Events Organised by SDUs

[This report can be downloaded as MS Word 2000 document (.doc, 54Kb) or Rich Text Format file (.rtf, 31Kb).]


We have been engaged in various activities from the start of the Demos project to ascertain the overall picture of disability-related staff development within the Greater Manchester universities. In order to obtain a clearer picture of the possibilities for embedding the project outcomes, it was considered relevant that current provision from within the Staff Development Units (SDUs) of the universities should be investigated.



A representative from each of the SDUs in each of the four DEMOS universities (see Appendix 2 for list of interviewees) was interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire (see Appendix 1).


Responses to questions

What sessions are run each year by the Staff Development Unit at your university?

Due to the extensive lists of staff development events available in each institution responses to question 1 are reported separately in Appendix 3:

3a - UMIST,
3b - University of Salford,
3c - University of Manchester,
3d - Manchester Metropolitan University.

Please note that most of the events listed are taken from the training 'handbooks' that are circulated to staff at the beginning of the year. These represent only a portion of the total number of events that are delivered during the year. Further events are organised as needs arise and requests are made.

How do you decide what course to run? Have you carried out an analysis of need?

A variety of approaches are used to decide upon a programme of events. The University of Salford have an involved process of development. For example, results from feedback forms are collated and themes identified, a focus group is facilitated by an outside consultant and section heads are interviewed.

All the universities use a network of formal and informal contacts from which to draw information, such as the Staff Development Forum at MMU.

UMIST has carried out a formal analysis of need in the past but this hasn't been repeated recently. All the universities remain aware of local and national policy issues so that events can be organised to disseminate relevant information.

There is little direct use of the appraisal systems due to sensitivities around this process. There are also difficulties collecting information and collating results.

Are events run in liaison with other departments?

All four SDUs liaise with other departments in the delivery of staff development. Information systems staff are widely used to deliver training on computer software packages. The disability units are also used to deliver specific disability-related training.

How are sessions advertised?

A variety of methods are used. Manchester, MMU and Salford publish programme handbooks. Programmes of events are published on websites and online booking is used. Email is used to remind staff of upcoming events.

How many academic staff attend staff development events?

The response to this question was varied. Academic staff do attend centrally organised events if the events are seen as targeted at them. For instance if they relate directly to teaching or have intrinsic value in them, such as information on Subject Review if they are about to undergo a review. Online technology related workshops appear particularly popular at the present time. The formation of Teaching and Learning Support Units means that more academic-focused events will now evolve across the universities.

Responsibility for academic staff development is often devolved to the departments, as departmental specific training can be expensive for central departments to organise. There are also events such as the Certificate in Teaching Practice which in some cases is compulsory for all new staff so high attendance is expected. Some events are more popular than others but demand varies from year to year so programmes have to be flexible and varied on an annual basis.

Participants often book onto an event then fail to turn up. However, this can be extremely costly; for example at the University of Manchester, the Certificate in Teaching costs approximately £500 per head to deliver and therefore non-attendance is significant if someone else is on a waiting list. The University of Manchester enters attendance on a database so that they can now actively chase up non-attenders if required.

How do you measure the effectiveness of staff development events?

'Happy sheets' are used across the universities. Some follow-up work is carried out, such as collation of results and feedback to session presenters. Effectiveness of events is fed back into the cycle of review and planning activities each year.

There is very little formal in-depth evaluation on areas such as return on investment (ROI) or behavioural change. These areas of evaluation are often difficult and resource intensive activities to carry out. However, other means of feedback such as appraisal were mentioned.

When and for how long are workshops delivered?

Events are often half-day or full-day workshops. Some series of events such as the disability-related workshops are run during lunchtimes where possible. Some courses are over a number of days such as management training.


Appendix 1 : Semi-structured questionnaire used in interviews with representatives from Staff Development Units in the Demos Universities

What staff development activities take place each year in your institution?
Please state number of sessions, length of sessions, approximate number of attendees, nature of event (workshop, lecture, induction talk), staff group, what areas where covered in each event?

Has an analysis of training needs been carried out? (How do you decide what courses to put on?)

Do you liaise with other departments?

How many academic staff attend staff development events?

How are the sessions advertised?

What events are planned for the forthcoming year?

Is staff development/training requested?

How do you decide what content is covered in each session?

How do you assess the usefulness of the sessions?

What guides/information have you produced? Booklets, websites, leaflets etc.


Appendix 2 : Names of interviewees


Appendix 3 : Programme of Events Organised by SDUs

Appendix 3a : UMIST

Autumn/Winter 2001

Further details can be found at : http://mulder.umist.ac.uk/staff/sdu/Default.htm


Appendix 3b : University of Salford

The Education Development Unit produces a programme of events brochure each academic year.

Almost 200 courses are listed in the schedule for 2000/01. These are a mixture of short sessions (1-2 hours) run during lunchtimes, am or pm sessions and full day sessions.

Areas of coverage :

Other activities include :


Appendix 3c : University of Manchester

The Staff Development Programme contains each year's information. Courses were offered during 2000/01 on the following topics.

Table 1. Teaching and Learning course for new academic staff - three x three-day course that has to be completed to fulfil probationary requirements.
Course titleLength
Large group teaching skills3 hrs
Small group teaching3 hrs
Handling personal problems in academic tutoring and supervision2 hours
Voice management30 minutes each person
Graduate teaching assistants/demonstrators7 hours
Computers for teaching, learning and assessment3.5 hours
Handling student complaints3 hours
Teaching and learning in groups1x 2-day plus a 1x 1-day course
Seminars on preparation for ILT1.5 hours
The e-university1.5 hours
The way forward project with information systems1.5 hours
Learning and teaching strategy1.5 hours
Problem based learning3 hours

Table 2. Research Development
Course titleLength
Research student supervision6.5 hours
The PhD oral examination3 hours
Writing research grant applications1.5 hours
Research funding opportunities1.5 hours
EU funding/framework v1.5 hrs
Research contract negotiation1.5 hrs
Ethical aspects of research1.5 hours

Table 3. Quality Enhancement
Course titleLength
QAA quality assurance - the new approach1.5 hrs
Peer review1 hr
Disability awareness1.5 hrs
Staff mentoring1.5 hrs

Table 4. Student support and guidance.
A series of stand-alone events take place in this area but staff who attend a number of different events can gain a Professional Development in Higher Education (PDHE) award recognised by SEDA.
Course titleLength
Understanding student support and guidance roles within the institution4 hrs
Key issues experiences by first years2 hrs
Maintaining students' motivation2 hrs
Different styles of teaching and learning2 hrs
Implications of the new QAA code of practice for disabled students2 hrs
Meeting the needs of specific groups of students2 hrs
Implementing personal and academic programmes in the curriculum2 hrs
Maximising use of student support services2 hrs
Handling student complaints2 hrs
The skilled helper2 hrs
Handling personal and academic development issues2 hrs
Supporting students transition from HE to employment2 hrs
Addressing the needs of distance learners2 hrs
Reviewing of student support and guidance roles2 hrs

Table 5. Disability Awareness
Course titleLength
Departmental disability coordinators1.5 hrs
Dyslexia and the student experience in HE1.5 hrs
Welcoming disabled people and improving access1.5 hrs
Disability support at the University of Manchester1.5 hrs
Enabling technology used by disabled students1.5 hrs
Making information and teaching materials accessible1.5 hrs
The DDA and provision of goods and services1.5 hrs

Table 6. Management and supervisory training
Course titleLength
The DDA and Accommodation services1.5 hrs
Managing professional teams7 hrs
Basic supervisory skills7 hrs
Certificate in Administrative/management studies (BTEC/NVQ award)4 hrs per week for a year
Recruitment and selection seminars3 hrs
NVQ assessor training7.5 hrs
Training in equality and diversity issues3.5 hrs
Time management skills6 hrs
Stress management3 hrs
Team-working7 hrs
The essential guide to successful interviews45minutes
The essential guide to successful CVs and application forms45mins
How to win at the CV and application game3 hrs
How to win at the interview game3 hrs
Dealing with difficult and aggressive behaviour3 hrs

Table 7. Appraisal
Course titleLength
Staff appraisal training6 hrs
Appraisee awareness2.5 hrs

Table 8. Business and Finance
Course titleLength
Introduction to purchasing skills6 hrs
Understanding contracts6 hrs
Competitive tendering6 hrs
Marketing your department or services8 hrs
Paper management7 hrs
Customer care6 hrs
Departmental accounting officers7 hrs
Reception and telephone skills7.5 hrs
Getting things done in meetings2 hrs
Commercial negotiating skills6 hrs
Dealing with sales people1.5 hrs
The data protection act1.5 hrs

Table 9. Health and Safety
Course titleLength
Fire extinguisher practicals2.5 hrs
Lifting and Handling in safety2.5 hrs
Safety in offices3.5 hrs
Safe use of centrifuges3 hrs
High pressure gases3 hrs
Scaffolding and platforms8 hrs
Dealing with violence and aggression7 hrs
Personal protective equipment2 hrs
Managing safely8 hrs
Departmental safety advisors3 hrs
Portable electrical equipment testing6.5 hrs
Principles of risk assessment3 hrs
COSHH assessment3 hrs
VDU assessment3 hrs
Manual handling risk assessment3 hrs
Guidelines for dept. safety self inspections3 hrs
Emergency First Aid8 hrs
Safety on filed trips and work placements2 hrs
Minibus training 
Safe use of genetically modified organisms2 hrs
Safe use of ladders and steps2.5 hrs
PUWER 19983 hrs
Accident investigations3 hrs
Confined spaces awareness for responsible persons7 hrs
Vessel/enclosed space entry7 hrs
Design and print7.5 hrs
Introduction to camcorders6.5 hrs
Introduction to non-linear video editing7 hrs

Table 10.
Course titleLength
Induction4 hrs
Pre-retirement course7 hrs


Appendix 3d : Manchester Metropolitan University

The handbook 'University Staff Development Programme for 2001' lists the following :