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Can anyone give me a guide to how much admin a part-time university lecturer should be doing. My employer is so very vague and I have no idea if I'm doing too much, or if I can just say no. It seems as though everybody knows how the system works but doesn't want to say it out loud.

I have a 0.6 teaching only contract. 3 classes per term.

People seem to do admin roles to work towards promotion etc, but I have no interest in getting more hours or progressing to senior lecturer etc. My work outside of teaching is what I want to progress in.

Thoughts or advice?

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    This is a bit hard to answer without information about your contract, but one bit of information that might be useful in answering is what sort of contract are you on. Are you on a primarily teaching contract or are you on a research and teaching contract: most UK universities have a distinction between the two. If you are on a teaching contract but want to advance with your "work outside of teaching", you're in a real bind as you're basically in the wrong position to do that. – GrotesqueSI Sep 13 '19 at 10:02
  • Yes, it's a teaching only contract, no research. This is why I wouldn't want to do more than my current part-time hours. My 'research' is what I do when I'm not teaching, and will hopefully eventually be what I do full time. Happy to give more detail via private message, if there is such a thing on here..? – MarkyMark Sep 13 '19 at 10:22
  • Ah yep, see my answer below. You're simply in the wrong type of position to advance on the research front and it is unlikely to happen from your vantage point. You likely need to be looking for a new job. – GrotesqueSI Sep 13 '19 at 13:21
  • Note for non-UK people: in my opinion (not necessarily those of my employers, etc etc) much of what is labelled as "teaching" in the contract consists of what I would have called "admin" when I worked in Canada. So while I agree with @GrotesqueSI that paying attention to terms in the contract is important, it isn't the end of the story – Yemon Choi Sep 13 '19 at 13:32
  • It's interesting that you mention "terms in the contract" as mine is so very vague that it only really says that my duties are to do whatever the head of department asks me to do. Which doesn’t help me to understand what I should be doing at all. And that HoD is most often an academic who has to do the job but doesn't really want to and has no idea how. And once they start to figure it out they are replaced. – MarkyMark Sep 15 '19 at 13:07
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Unfortunately for you (and, I would argue, everyone) .6 FTE teaching-only contracts in the UK are, by and large, used by the Universities to squeeze out as much work for as little pay possible. They are often conceived of as a way to mop up the teaching and admin tasks that researchers with full time research+teaching contracts don't want to do, perhaps because one of them got a big grant which buys them out of teaching and admin. Thus the answer to your question is that you likely have to do a lot of admin and you likely have little choice about it if you wish to keep your job. Indeed many of these .6 FTE positions are on rolling contracts so they can let you go if you aren't performing. As for what admin you should do and what you can say no to, that is something to discuss with your line manager and your head of school. you should have some sort of work load model (or equivalent) that helps spell out what your duties are and then helps you say no to things that are not your job. It is very possible that people are piling work on you because, again, you are in this position that may have been created for work to be piled on to, but it is your line manager and head of school's job to make sure that you aren't doing too much. If they are the ones giving you the work, well, you should probably be looking for a new job.

A note on .6 fte teaching contracts because what you said above is a common but distressing sentiment. You wish to advance your career and gain promotion on the back of your research which you say you do in your unpaid time (though, of course, your Uni gets credit for). However, as you are on a teaching contract, you will be evaluated for promotion based on criteria related to teaching; it is very rare for someone to have their position regraded from teaching, and I've never actually seen it happen. It sounds to me that you are in the wrong position; the position you are in does not match your career goals and is very unlikely to lead you to the research career you are looking for.

Finally, though there is variation, "senior lecturer" is a title that everyone has at UK universities irrespective of if the are "teaching" or "research and teaching". I'm a senior lecturer, I'm on a R&T contract, and 75% of my time is pure research, with 25% of my time for teaching, supervision, and admin. You sound like you DO want to be a senior lecturer, just that you want to be in a full time, traditional, research and teaching role.

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    Thanks for the reply. Very helpful. Although I think my situation is a little different than you describe. Firstly, to clarify I have got permanency so not a rolling contract. Secondly, my work outside of my teaching job is entirely separate from the teaching. I don't want to do research, I want to do that job instead of teaching. Teaching is my day job, that pays the bills while I try and get the career I want going. I've discussed doing my other work as 'research' but it's not been done before and they don't think it'll work in that way for 'REF'. – MarkyMark Sep 13 '19 at 13:31
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    I thought as a 'senior lecturer' my pay grade would go up. That would be the only reason for me to push for that promotion, the extra money would be helpful! – MarkyMark Sep 13 '19 at 13:35
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    AHA! Ok that's a much more hopeful situation. I've come across a number of people who want to do research but take teaching contracts thinking they can convert across when, well, they can't. I'd say in your case you're probably in a pretty strong position to say "no" to whatever you don't feel like doing. You work for 3 days a week and if what they are asking for doesn't fit into your 3 days, give it a "no". You have both the security of a permanent position and the security of not really caring about advancement to make that possible. – GrotesqueSI Sep 13 '19 at 13:35
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    I'm not sure I feel I can talk to my line manager honestly. They are the one asking me to do extra admin. And I feel bad saying this is not what I ultimately want to do for a living. I know how passionate some people are about it and I entirely respect (and am jealous of) that! Ah yes, I've been warned to avoid SL because of the possibility of becoming head of subject. – MarkyMark Sep 13 '19 at 13:54
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    And if I flag this up, perhaps they'll request I do even more admin!! – MarkyMark Sep 13 '19 at 13:55

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