Probation for academic staff 


DATE OF APPROVAL: 5 May 1992 (Minute C-3/92.32)

AMENDMENTS: Approved by Council 8 June 2005

REFERENCE AUTHORITY: Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture

Applicable industrial instrument (refers to the applicable Collective Agreement, Award, Australian Workplace Agreement, contract of employment or legislation)
Performance Management Guidelines and Procedures
Procedures on Probation (Academic Staff)

Policy statement

The purpose of this policy is to provide a guide to the management of probation for Academic Staff and be applied in conjunction with the procedures on probation - academic staff and the applicable industrial instruments.


Probationary period - a period of mutual assessment during which a decision about the continuation of employment can be made.

Confirmation of employment - formal acknowledgement that a staff member ceases to be on a probationary period.

Termination of employment - notification that the staff member ceases to be an employee of the University of South Australia.

Performance and Development Plan - document which describes the outcomes, indicators and performance expectations of the position and a development plan for the staff member.

The supervisor - the person to whom the academic staff member reports, generally the Head of School/Director of Research Institute/Director of Unit/ Director: Centre for Regional Engagement/Dean: Whyalla or a member of the Senior Management Group.


1. Academic staff appointed to continuing or fixed term contract positions will normally be subject to a probationary period. The length of the probation period for continuing and fixed term appointments is specified in the procedures on probation for academic staff. However, the probation period may be varied with the approval of the Vice Chancellor or nominee.

2. The length of the probationary period shall be included in the Letter of Appointment and/or Contract of Employment.

3. The manager shall be responsible for monitoring and reviewing the performance of each staff member during the probationary period in line with the following:

Performance plan

The manager will establish a performance plan with the new academic staff member in accordance with the Performance Management Guidelines as they relate to probation. The plan should contain clear outcomes and result areas and address development needs of the staff member including, completion of s staff development program on teaching in higher education where specified in the staff member's Employment Agreement.

The Formal review

The performance plan will be reviewed on a regular basis throughout the probation period, in line with the performance management cycle, with formal reviews being carried out annually as a minimum.

The manager will conduct a formal review of performance during the final year of the probationary period. The review may be held earlier than the year if required.

The manager, in consultation with appropriate staff (for example, the relevant Program Director) will recommend to the relevant Pro Vice Chancellor/Executive Director whether the appointment should be confirmed or terminated.

The academic staff member shall be advised of, and given an opportunity to respond to, any adverse material about the academic staff member which the University intends to take into account in a decision to confirm or terminate employment.

Confirmation of employment

The academic staff member will be notified when their employment has been confirmed and their probationary period has ceased. Where employment has been confirmed the performance management process will continue according to the Performance Management Guidelines.

Termination of employment

If a staff member is deemed unsuitable for a position for reasons of performance or conduct, the probationary period may be terminated on the giving of notice on either side. The required notice period is specified in the Procedures on Probation for Academic Staff. Payment may be made in lieu of notice.

Appeals and Grievances

Staff members are referred to the Staff Appeals Policy (HR - 6.4) or procedures contained in the applicable industrial instrument (Collective Agreement, Award, Australian Workplace Agreement, contract of employment or legislation) with respect to grievances arising out of the academic probation process.

Responsibilities and/or authorities

The offer of employment and termination of employment are made consistent with the Vice Chancellor's Delegation of Authority. Senior Management Group, Directors of Research Institutes, the Director for Regional Engagement/Dean: Whyalla, Heads of Schools, and Human Resources personnel are responsible for the operation of this policy.

Staff are responsible for participating fully in the probation, induction and performance management processes.


The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture is responsible for the development and continuous improvement of this policy.

Further information or assistance

Management and staff may seek further advice regarding Academic Probation from:

  • Their immediate supervisor
  • Head of School/Director of Research Institute/Director of Unit
  • The local HR Manager
  • People, Talent and Culture Unit.
  • Staff Representative