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Excellence and merit awards

Excellence awards (Professors) | Merit awards (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor) |
Merit award nomination and application

The expected level of performance is set at a standard of good and solid performance which, at UCT, is of a high standard. The level of expected performance is linked to and defined in terms of the ad hominem promotion criteria for each faculty.

Excellence awards (Professors)

At the rank of Professor (for staff members confirmed in service), there is a two-tier system of excellence awards. The lower tier rewards excellent performance, while the upper tier recognises truly outstanding performance.

  1. Faculties develop faculty specific criteria for deciding on payments for excellence (applicable to rank of Professor). The criteria will be based on the faculty ad hominem promotion criteria. Excellent performance must be demonstrated in at least two performance categories of which one must be either Teaching & Learning or Research.
  2. The target for excellence awards for Professors is a steady state of 3-5%. Excellence awards are paid monthly and are pensionable, and would usually be applied for four years.

Merit awards (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor)

There is a need to recognize and reward performance which is significantly higher than expected performance via a system of merit awards (for staff members confirmed in service) at the academic ranks of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor. The purpose of these awards is to reward meritorious achievement in two or more of the categories in which staff are assessed. Decisions on merit awards form part of the brief of faculty promotion and remuneration committees, and are based on faculty ad hominem promotion criteria.

  1. Faculties develop faculty specific criteria for deciding on merit awards (applicable to ranks of Lecturer to Associate Professor). The criteria will be based on the faculty ad hominem promotion criteria and be guided by the following generic conditions:
    1. Excellent performance must be demonstrated in at least one performance category which must be either Teaching & Learning or Research.
    2. As a guideline the total score must generally be within 2-3 points of the score required for ad hominem promotion to the next rank. However, faculties have different structures of scoring and thus the faculty specific criteria must stipulate the required scores or bands.
  2. A steady state of about 10% of academic staff receive merit awards. A fixed budget (part of the overall budget associated with academic salaries) is allocated to faculties on a proportional basis and application for merit awards is competitive.
  3. The quantum for merit awards is a rand value derived as a percentage (currently 5%) of the standard CoE package per rank to be determined annually. The award will be made for a period of two years, with effect from the year following that in which the assessment is made. Merit awards are paid as a lump sum annually and are non-pensionable. The awards apply at the current rank of the staff member and fall away on promotion to a higher rank.
  4. The faculty has the discretion to award different numbers of merit awards at the different academic ranks (i.e. the percentage of academic staff in receipt of merit awards in one rank may be higher or lower than that in another rank) but the allocated faculty budget for merit awards may not be exceeded.

Merit award nomination and application

In order to assist Heads of Department in making decisions with potentially far-reaching consequences for remuneration, and to ensure fairness and transparency, three mechanisms for the consideration of merit awards are proposed:

  1. Route 1:

    The cycle of performance reviews could result in the Head of Department nominating a staff member for a merit award. These nominations would be considered by the relevant Faculty Promotion and Remuneration Committee.

  2. Route 2:

    The staff member makes application for a merit award with or without the support of the Head of Department. These nominations would be considered by the relevant Faculty Promotion and Remuneration Committee.

  3. Route 3:

    The Faculty Promotion and Remuneration Committee could make recommendations for a merit award in cases where, for example, an individual is considered to have demonstrated excellent performance but still falls short of promotion. The rhetoric of a "failed promotion" should be actively countered with the notion of meritorious achievement.

The Deputy Vice-Chacellor accountable for academic matters holds final authority for the approval of merit awards and payments for excellence. There is no appeal process, however, if there is a breakdown in the process of application and assessment the case will be addressed on an individual basis.

Based on the Policy framework on performance assessment for academic staff (approved by Senate on 24 November 2010) and the Merit award SEC submission (March 2013)
Page last updated: 10 September 2014