Research and Scholarship Policy

Fact box

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the parameters of research and scholarship activities conducted by Alphacrucis College (AC) faculty, Higher Education Third Party Arrangement (HETPA) faculty, Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidates and postgraduate research students, as well as the provision of resources required.

Scope

All faculty.

Policy

AC research and scholarship priorities are informed by the AC Strategic Plan and guided by the AC Research and Scholarship Plan. AC defines research and scholarship in accordance with the definitions outlined by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). AC conducts research within the guidelines of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Scholarship Activity

All AC and HETPA permanent and sessional faculty are required to engage in scholarship to maintain professional currency in the relevant discipline area(s) and in the teaching of these discipline area(s). These activities are to be reported annually, providing evidence of how knowledge acquired has been disseminated to audiences other than the readership of research publications (or an alternative explanation). The impact of scholarship upon and engagement with end users should also be demonstrated.

Scholarship encompasses both institutional and individual activities that contribute to the advancement of discipline knowledge and professional practice. Scholarship directly informs learning and teaching, including disciplinary scholarship, and contributes to the design and delivery of courses. Multi-disciplinary scholarship is encouraged, providing there is a clear link to teaching practice in the relevant subject. Engagement with scholarship includes:

  • peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, and other communications;
  • scholarly review or teaching practice activities that contribute to course development and review;
  • synthesising and communicating advances in practice e.g. presentations, professional practice or learning and teaching in a discipline;
  • teaching practice engaged in current ideas, debates and issues e.g. improved pedagogies, learning processes, curricula, academic policies and learning materials;
  • contributions to relevant professional bodies or communities of practice e.g. development of new standards, knowledge resources, codes of practice;
  • active and ongoing involvement in relevant academic societies, editorial roles or peer review;
  • undertaking a HDR course;
  • undertaking advanced specialised practice or scholarly secondments;
  • creative performances that demonstrably inform learning and teaching, or supervision.

Scholarship does not include activities or professional development unrelated to teaching or supervision in the faculty member’s discipline of expertise. This includes attendance at conferences or membership of a professional body.

Definition of High Quality Research

AC defines high quality research as an authored or co-authored: book, book chapter or journal article published in a high quality research outlet. The AC Research and Scholarship Framework provides further definition for high quality research outlets. AC follows the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rating scale and is focused on producing research to at least world standard (Rating 3). There are only two categories considered ‘high quality’ research:

  • monograph or book chapter published with a peer reviewed, well established academic publisher for which the core business is producing academic books and distributing them for sale. University presses are regarded as high quality, provided that they have responsibility for the distribution of the publication, in addition to its printing. Editing an academic volume is valuable scholarship but is not included as high quality research.
  • articles in academic journals with widely accepted rankings of either A*, A or B (or equivalent). AC adheres to the relevant Council of Deans journal ranking lists.

Classification of Research Active

Faculty members with a research workload allocation are expected to be “research active” in their areas of disciplinary expertise.

“Research active” means either:

  1. An academic who within the last 5 years has achieved 5 points including at least 1 point for peer-reviewed publications (pro-rata for part-time academic staff); or
  2. An early career academic who has achieved an average of 1 point per year since conferral of a doctoral award.

Points are awarded as follows:

  1. peer reviewed research monograph (5 points);
  2. peer-reviewed journal article, published conference paper or book chapter (1 point)
  3. editing a peer-review collection of essays in a book or journal (1 point);
  4. publication of a major work of translation (1 point);
  5. completion and performance or public exhibition of a major original composition such as a musical score or art exhibition (1 point);
  6. research or professional industry grant (1 point per $10,000 to a maximum of 2 points);
  7. supervised to completion a HDR candidate as a principal, co-supervisor, or associate supervisor (1 point per candidate to a maximum of 2 points);
  8. peer reviewed conference presentation (0.5 point);
  9. external examination of doctoral thesis (0.5 point).

A publication with multiple authors will count as one publication for each author.

In determining research active status the Deputy Vice President (DVP) Research and Standards will also take into consideration objective indicators of the quality of the staff member’s outputs.

Principles of Faculty Research and Scholarship Allocations

AC is committed to supporting faculty research and scholarship through allocation of workload where appropriate. The principles of faculty research and scholarship allocations ensure that:

  • activities reflect the mission and vision of AC;
  • community engagement and social responsibility are embedded in the activity;
  • all faculty members are engaged in scholarship activities;
  • HDR candidates are provided with appropriate supervision;
  • research allocations are prioritised for faculty members engaged in high quality research.

Research Incentives

Faculty members may be eligible for a monetary reward for each unique high quality research book, book chapter or journal publication within the relevant calendar year. Conference papers are not included in the definition of ‘publication’. Funds gained as research incentives must be utilised for research-related expenses only. Only publications that list AC as the applicant’s affiliation are eligible for an incentive.

Research and Scholarship Data Collection and Annual Audit

All faculty are expected to report their research and scholarship through the annual Research and Scholarship Data Collection (RSDC) process coordinated by the AC Research Officer. This information is analysed and reported on through the annual AC Research and Scholarship Report.

The Office of the DVP Research and Standards will conduct an annual audit of research active faculty and external HDR principal supervisors. Faculty deemed not be research active will be notified and removed from the AC Principal Supervisors Register.

Participation in Academic Assessment and Public Engagement

All research-active faculty are encouraged, in consultation with the relevant Head of School, to participate in opportunities for academic assessment, such as peer review of academic articles and books, ARC/NHMRC assessments, journal editorials, committees of professional academic peak bodies, academic conference organisation, and the like.

All faculty are expected to maintain an up-to-date publications list on the AC webpage.

Responsible for implementation

Deputy Vice President Research and Standards

Key stakeholders

All faculty, HDR candidates and postgraduate research students


Procedures

Research and Scholarship Procedure

Faculty External Funding Applications

AC faculty members who intend to participate in funded collaborative research with external parties should discuss this with their Head of School before making commitments to external parties. This is advised for AC faculty members seeking external funding for their own research.

Faculty Research and Scholarship Workload Allocations

The allocation of scholarship workload is determined by the relevant Head of School.

The allocation of research workload is determined by the Head of School in consultation with the DVP Research and Standards. Research workload allocations will be strategically provided in order to maximise the output of high quality research. Criteria for allotting research workload may include demonstrated evidence of:

  • a track record of high quality research outputs;
  • alignment with the AC Research Foci;
  • external funding for research;
  • successful HDR supervision;
  • research potential of early-career researchers and those on part-time or fractional appointments;
  • undertaking an identified special project approved by the Head of School and DVP Research and Standards.

Faculty members seeking research workload allocations greater than 20% of total workload will be expected to have achieved high quality research outcomes during the previous five years.

Faculty Conference Travel Funding

Requests for faculty conference travel funding is done through an application process in which members of faculty apply for conference travel funding to the Research Committee as part of the college’s annual budget cycle and within the parameters of available funds. Permanent faculty members of 0.5 FTE or more are eligible to apply and priority will be given to faculty with demonstrated potential or a track record in high quality research publication.

Research Incentives Allocation

Research incentives will be allocated to high quality research only and are ascertained by the DVP Research and Standards, within the parameters of available funds. The funds awarded as research incentives may only be used by the recipient for high quality research-related expenses, such as purchasing software for research, research-related travel, or employing assistance for research-related tasks (such as transcribing, data entry, etc.). As such the funds are retained by the College, as an allocated amount for the recipient, until the recipient submits the necessary receipts or other appropriate evidence to be reimbursed for such research-related expenses. The DVP Research and Standards is responsible for overseeing this process. Research incentives should be spent in the budgeted year they are awarded. 

If a recipient leaves the employ of the College, s/he will forfeit all unspent funds received as research incentives.