Support for Staff to Undertake Postgraduate Studies SOP

Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Learning and Teaching Services
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus

In addition to Otago Polytechnic Limited’s (Ltd) policies Staff Development and Research and Study Release the purpose of this policy is to encourage staff to take up postgraduate study, to provide practical assistance to alleviate workload pressures for staff undertaking postgraduate study, and to strengthen Otago Polytechnic Ltd research capability and outputs.

This policy aligns with Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s mission to “build capability, and “realise potential” by providing support for staff to meet the requirement that postgraduate learner supervisors hold postgraduate qualifications equal to the degree in question. It also serves to strengthen Otago Polytechnic Ltd as a learning organisation and to enhance research capability.


1. Before engaging with, and requesting additional assistance for postgraduate study, it is expected that the staff member will have prior approval from their Formal Leader in the form of an agreed Individual Performance Plan (IPP), created in line with policy Staff Development, policy Research and Study Release, if applicable, and any other employment contract requirements.

2. Support may be granted to a staff member engaging in postgraduate study where the qualification sought is directly relevant to the staff member’s area of employment, via the Research and Postgraduate Studies Directorate for any of the following:

a. Contribution to enrolment in a postgraduate qualification up to $1000 per year of full-time study or up to $1000 per two years of part-time study outside of Otago Polytechnic Ltd.

b. Study-related travel and/or accommodation costs up to $2000 per year of full-time study or per two years of part-time study and/or contestable funding support and/or professorial funds, and/or time release and funding support via the Research and Study Release process in policy Research and Study Release.

Note: Discretionary, professional development, and research and study release (where applicable) entitlements are to be used before additional time or funding will be granted.

c. Negotiated mentoring.

d. Extra library resources and software of a specialised nature and additional to that provided by existing sources. Resources include e-journals, programmes, and apps (especially where this can benefit multiple staff and wider library usage).

e. Contribution to thesis production and post-production assistance including for example exhibition, transcription, formatting, copy editing, lodging with repositories and libraries, assistance to submit papers for publication: up to $1000 for one study programme.

f. In addition to entitlement covered in policy Research and Study Release, or specified in a staff member’s employment conditions, the following time release/backfill for current role may be negotiated:

·       2 weeks per year over the minimum period of full-time study

·       1 week per year over the minimum period of part-time study

These additional weeks can be accumulated to provide a bigger time release near the end of the study. Staff are encouraged to apply for Research and Study Release.

3. Applicants may study with any tertiary provider recognised by Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s Research and Postgraduate Directorate.

4. The Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies, including Research Office staff and colleagues from relevant disciplines, will assess requests for assistance and the length of the support period.

5. A template for requests and reporting is available with advice from the Research and Postgraduate Studies Directorate.

6. Conditions of support and maintenance of support:

a. The staff member will provide proof of enrolment/acceptance in the programme for which they seek support

b. Work with the Research and Postgraduate Studies Directorate to agree a path of support which may include some or all the types of assistance available

c. Regular progress review and annual milestone report to be provided to the Research and Postgraduate Studies Directorate via the template

d. Extensions to the agreed period of support to be negotiated with the Formal Leader in the first instance and then with the Research and Postgraduate Studies Directorate

e. Bonding of staff will apply in some cases and will be negotiated per formula to be included in the template for requests.


·       Research and Study Release

·       Staff Development

·       Performance Review

·       Monitoring of Degree and Postgraduate Qualifications

·       Presentation and Submission of Postgraduate Research Thesis or Dissertation

·       Supervision within Postgraduate Programmes


megan gibbons signature

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive