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FAQs on Academic Probation

  • If, having successfully completed probation elsewhere, does a new lecturer still have to undertake a period of probation at Queen’s?

    Where probation has been successfully completed within an equivalent post requiring similar skills sets, and they also already hold PGCHET accreditation, a new lecturer may only be required to undertake a 9-month probation period. However, if the appointments panel feel that a longer period to acclimatise the probationer to QUB would be appropriate, then a 1, 2 or 3-year academic probation period may be recommended. Early confirmation in post may then apply.

  • Would any prolonged absence result in a probation period being extended?

    An extension may not always be necessary to support a successful confirmation of appointment and will depend upon when the absence falls, in relation to the review period and outstanding objectives. Some employees may not require an extension if they are on course to complete within the original timescales. Probation may be extended due to extended periods of sickness absence. If probation is extended due to sickness absence, effective date of confirmation in post would be the day after the extension date.

    In relation to maternity absences, such an issue should be discussed in any planning discussions following the notification of maternity leave. If probation is extended due to maternity absence, this is termed as re-scheduled. The duration of the extension is the length of ML absence. If probation is extended due to maternity absence, effective date of confirmation in post would be back-dated to the original probation end date. In both cases, permission has to be sought from the Chair of the Central Probation Committee (via HR).

  • What is underperformance?

    Underperformance is a failure to perform the duties of the role or where the level of performance achieved by an employee is below the standard of performance required within the role. This may be in terms of skill, aptitude and/or application.

  • Whilst on probation, would a staff member also be able to access mentoring support?

    Within one month of the Probationer’s employment, the Head of School will appoint a mentor and confirm in writing to the Probationer the standards to be attained based on probation profile. Mentor shall meet regularly with Probationer to provide support and guidance during the academic probation process.

  • If a Head of School plans to recommend non-continuation/non-confirmation when should they do this?

    The Central Probation Committee meets 5 times per year and approximately 8 weeks before each meeting the Heads of Schools are invited to nominate staff for early confirmation or termination. However, this is at the stage when 3 years are nearly completed. Ideally, if a probationer is not progressing and there is no possibility of them meeting their objectives by the end date, then the Head of School should recommend as soon as possible and can do so at any stage in advance of each of the 5 meetings per year.

  • What information should be provided if an extension of a probationary period is recommended?

    Any such request should be considered in liaison with HR. Where an extension has been recommended, the Central Probation Committee will meet with the HOS and Probationer prior to making a decision. Advice is available from HR on managing issues of under-performance.

  • Is time allocated to enable probationers to undertake key development activity?

    Any key development activity a probationer is required to complete in order to be confirmed will be taken into account, e.g. induction, PGCHET completion and Supervising Research Students course (1-day course to be completed within the 3-year probation period) etc.