Participation – Higher Education Staff Data Collection Review

On 25 May 2012, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) released an issues paper for the Higher Education Staff Data Collection Review.  The purpose of the Review is to determine how effectively the collection meets the needs of key stakeholders, and to consider recent issues raised by the sector, including the data used for the student to staff ratio. 

The Review will also consider whether any data currently reported may no longer be required. Submissions for this Review will be due by Monday 2 July 2012.

The issues paper can be found at: Issues paper ( PDF 735KB | DOCX 378KB)

The Department is interested in hearing about other ways that the current data is being used by individuals and organisations. Feedback from the sector will help to determine which parts of the collection are most relevant or need to be changed to meet the needs of the sector.
Key Questions:

  • 1. What do you or your organisation use the Staff Data Collection for?
  • 2. Does the current collection meet your needs or the needs of your organisation?
  • 3. What staff data is collected that is no longer useful? What staff data is not collected but would be useful?
  • 4. Are there any issues for providers if the Staff Data Collection is expanded to include information on the main campus location of each academic staff and to include offshore staff?
  • 5. Are there any issues for providers to report additional information on staff qualifications?
  • 6. What are the issues in extending staff data reporting requirements to all private higher education providers?
  • 7. How can the university-specific data elements be revised to reflect the structures and practices in private higher education providers?
  • 8. Is it possible for private higher education providers to report their staff under the current work level classifications ? If not, what are possible alternatives?
  • 9. Are there any issues for providers to apportion and report FTE weight to each activity undertaken by staff working in one organisational unit?
  • 10. What additional staff functions classifications would be most useful (in addition to teaching and research)? 
  • 11. Are there any issues for providers to report information (in line with reporting requirements for academic staff employed directly by the provider) on contract staff and staff employed by third party arrangements?
  • 12. Should Honorary and unpaid staff be included in the Staff Data Collection?
  • 13. If so, how should their teaching and research efforts be measured and recorded?
  • 14. Should the data collection for both full-time and fractional full-time staff, and casual staff be consistent? If so, is there a preference for a ‘point in time’ or an annual total?
  • 15. Are there any issues for providers to implement the proposed change to the casual staff file by 2014?
  • 16. Is the current method of converting casual hours to full-time equivalence accurate? If not, how can it be improved?
  • 17. Is the proposed method of calculating FTE using actual earnings /annual salary feasible?
  • 18. How does your institution or organisation use the staff-student ratio (SSR?)  Is there a better measure than the SSR that meets the needs of your organisation?
  • 19. What should and should not be included in the calculation of SSR?
  • 20. What other changes could be made to the Staff Data Collection for the purposes of the SSR?
  • 21.  What are the issues facing your institution in implementing the proposed changes from 2013 (for 2012 data) or 2014 (for 2013 data)?
  • 22.  What do you estimate would be the approximate cost for your institution of implementing the proposed changes?

Submission and Consultation Processes
The Department invites submissions from providers and key stakeholders in the higher education sector on the issues outlined in this paper and on any other key issues identified by the sector.  Submissions will help to inform the Department’s advice to the Minister regarding proposed changes to the Higher Education Staff Data Collection. The Government will consult with key stakeholders and peak bodies on any proposed changes. This Review is expected to be completed around September 2012.  The timeline for implementation of any changes will be considered in light of feedback in the submissions.

Making a Submission
Submissions to this paper are requested by close of business Monday 2 July 2012.
Submissions and other enquiries can be emailed to   or posted to:

  • Policy Section
    Higher Education Division
    Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
    GPO Box 9839
    Canberra  ACT  2601

The Department requests electronic submissions in Word or RTF format.
Your submission should clearly identify:
•    the name of the organisation or individual making the submission (if an organisation, please provide details of a contact person)
•    address
•    email
•    telephone

Individuals are welcome to make submissions.

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