La Trobe University is linking a staff bonus to improved student satisfaction, as measured by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching. Management makes the offer in its new enterprise bargaining proposal.
“La Trobe’s national ranking (in) the Student Experience Survey is low in comparison to most other Australian universities. While some discipline areas and campuses perform better than others, the university’s results need significant improvement. Improving student satisfaction with their ‘overall educational experience” is everybody’s business,” the university tells staff.
University management has set “an ambitious target” of 12th in Australia and first in Victoria for student satisfaction by 2022 with “recognition payments of 0.1 per cent in ’18 ’19 and ’20 for 1 per cent lifts in QILT measures of student satisfaction in each year.
The overall pay proposal ex performance bonuses, is a $1500 salary uplift on signing a 1.5 per cent increase in December 2018, $1800 in July ’19, 1.6 per cent in July 2020 and again in July 2021.
The fixed-sum payments ensure lower paid staff receive the biggest per centage increase, with a HEW Six administrator picking up 2.36 per cent per annum, compared to 1.69 per cent pa for a senior academic on Level E.
There is no mention of changes to working conditions in the agreement, avoiding a cause of conflict which bedevilled negotiations at some other universities. The principle of performance pay is not unprecedented, the University of Canberra under Stephen Parker had a bonus scheme. But acknowledging the university needs to lift its game on student services and giving all staff an incentive to do it is a bold move by Vice Chancellor John Dewar.