What is Staff Learning and Development all about and what do you do?
The Staff Learning and Development Team support the professional and personal development of all staff at SOAS. We do this by:
- Providing an internal programme of courses
- Providing a shared programme of courses with the Bloomsbury Colleges
- Allocating funding for attendance at external seminars, workshops, courses, briefings and conferences
- Maintaining training records for all staff members
- Administering and monitoring various SOAS development schemes eg. Staff Development and Review (SDR), Peer Observation of Teaching (POT), mentoring for academic staff
- Maintaining the first aid and fire warden networks
- Setting up coaching and mentoring
- Facilitating Away Days
- ERASMUS Staff Mobility Scheme
Who are your target audience at SOAS?
We provide a service to all staff at SOAS whether academic, research, teaching, administrative, full or part-time. If you would like to find out what provision there may be for you in particular, please search this website or contact us for further information.
What do you offer academic staff at SOAS?
Academic staff are encouraged to join any event on our general programme, and some events are specifically designed for academic staff. The ADD offer a programme to support the development of classroom-based practice.
For new academic staff in particular, there is the SOAS New Staff Orientation Programme, a mentoring scheme, and access to an accredited ADD course for new lecturers with less than two years teaching experience (a requirement of probation).
Where are you located?
We are located in room 472 on the fourth floor of College Buildings, Russell Square.
Who should I contact for further information?
To contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 4131 or visit our office in room 472.
Why do I have to complete a booking form to attend an event?
The Section receives many enquiries during a working day, however, all formal bookings must be made on a formal booking form for the following reasons:
- We have confirmation of your booking which is now bound by the terms and conditions of the Staff Development Policy
- Cancellation charges may now be incurred by your department (for cost-recovery purposes). We have your full contact details
- We know why you want to attend and what you hope to gain from attending - this is passed on to trainers to ensure your needs are met We can judge if the course is suited for you
- We can ascertain any catering / other special requirements you may have for which we can make arrangements
- In case of health & safety emergencies, we know where you are
- Your line-manager has approved the event and feels it is appropriate, a worthwhile time commitment and good use of the School's funding.
How do I find out what events are running and when they are taking place?
The best place to look is on this website under Course Calendar. This will give you up-to-date information on courses available, dates and times. Alternatively, see the staff noticeboards or watch out for all-staff e-bulletin detailing events.
What specifically do you provide funding for?
We will accept applications for funding for training and development activity that is work-related in line with the Staff Development Policy, September 2002. Applications must be supported by line-management or Head of Section signature in the case of longer courses. Examples of funding include knowledge of latest legislation, latest software updating or may be funding to pursue a course in learning and teaching. Our funding comes from three sources: SOAS Training Budget HEFCE 'Rewarding and Developing Staff' Funds SOAS Health & Safety Training Budget All of our internal events are run from our HEFCE grant (including management development) and all external events are funded by the SOAS Training Budget.
Do you fund all applications?
No. Occasionally it is necessary to decline applications where it is deemed that an activity is inappropriate, where the staff member concerned has undertaken much previous activity or where more than two staff are applying for the same course. Under our policy, we will only fund two staff members to attend the same course. We aim to ensure that funding is spread across all School departments fairly.
What is SDR and how does it work?
Staff Development & Review (SDR) is a staff review process that usually takes place annually. For more information, Click on the Review tab in the menu above.
There are four SDR schemes in operation at SOAS:
- SDR for Academic Staff
- SDR for Research Staff
- SDR for Teaching-only Staff
- SDR for Administrative Staff
SDR is an opportunity to meet formally with your line manager to discuss: a review of your performance over the past year; performance planning; and staff development issues for the coming year. Many staff report SDR as a positive experience and have good development outcomes to act on for the forthcoming year. This data is then fed into our annual planning in order that we can provide appropriate events.
What provision is there for new staff?
All new staff are now invited to visit the section of this website for fuller information to help support them in their first few weeks at SOAS where you will find information, resources and details for forthcoming events.
I have started an accredited course but am having difficulties. What should I do?
Please contact us - in confidence if required. Undertaking an accredited course can be daunting. We want you to succeed and can guide you to appropriate resources. Please do not feel inhibited to ask for support. We have a wealth of knowledge, and resources, which will be able to help.
I have recently been promoted/ taken on a new role. Help!
Some staff at the School can experience sudden promotion or job enlargement due to restructure or successful recruitment. Heads of Department rotate every three years and often come to us asking for support in order to perform their role effectively. Please contact us in confidence to discuss your needs. We can offer advice, course information and 1-2-1 coaching once we have identified areas that most concern you.
I haven't undertaken any training and development for years. I'm worried about pursuing anything now.
If you have not undertaken any training, learning or development activity for some time, it can seem daunting. Please do not let this dissuade you from attending courses or events. If you are anxious or worried about attending any event, please get in touch. There are numerous ways to access development opportunities (please see below) and we may well be able to cater for your needs in other ways. Staff who are now attending courses and hadn't studied for many years, will be very happy to talk to you and share their experiences. We are happy to pass these names on too.
Is training just about attending courses?
No. Training, learning and development can take place in many ways e.g. on-the-job; job-shadowing; mentoring; 1-2-1 coaching; brainstorming with colleagues; reading; joining professional associations; away-days; networking. We are also able to design tailor-made events for departments or teams where appropriate.