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Staff Development Best Practice Award 2007
Sponsored by Apple

Coaching and Mentoring Practices within IT/IS Departments


Lancaster University - the ISS 'Leader as a Coach' programme

Runner up

University of Portsmouth - the IS Trainee programme


In 2007 the UCISA Staff Development Group (SDG) offered a further Best Practice Award, again with the focus on “Coaching and Mentoring”. These activities are increasing in relevance and interest within the sector. As in past years, the Award is targeted at best staff development practices within IT/IS departments of institutions affiliated to UCISA. The Award will be made to the individual or group that clearly identifies how they have applied coaching and/or mentoring techniques to empower IT/IS staff to achieve their full potential within the workplace, and hence to deliver visible benefits to the institution and its customers.

A Supporting Statement made by a manager with responsibility for the project being presented must accompany each submission. A panel of assessors, comprising members of the SDG and a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management, will judge submissions. Submissions will be examined against a set of criteria, presented below. You are required to use these criteria as headings within your submission.

Further Information

The following descriptions will be used as working definitions for the Award:

The process of coaching is one permitting learning and development to take place in the workplace, resulting in the improvement of the performance of the individual (coachee) or group of individuals. In particular, a coach requires knowledge and appreciation of the coaching process including an awareness of skills, styles and techniques that can be used to facilitate the process. A coach need not have direct knowledge or experience of the type of work being undertaken by the coachee.
Mentoring may be considered as a supportive and informal relationship involving a more experienced person who is assisting a less experienced colleague to learn how to undertake a task in an effective manner. The mentor’s role is to impart advice and guidance, as well as to provide a support service to that colleague during the learning process. A mentor would not normally have a managerial responsibility for their mentee, though the relationship will be on a “one-to-one” basis.

Only projects that clearly focus on IT/IS staff development will be considered; staff benefiting from the project may be employed within a central IT/IS department or be distributed.

Format of Submissions

Submissions must include the following sections:

  1. Title
  2. Contact details of person making the submission
  3. Abstract (120 words maximum)
  4. An outline of the submission clearly emphasizing the staff development outcomes
  5. Main section (four sides of A4 maximum)
    The body of the submission should be divided into sub-sections dealing with:
    • Scope of the project
    • Wider relevance
    • Performance indicators
    • Project benefits
    • Appendices (if necessary)
      Reference material, background statistics, can be included.
    • Supporting statement (see Overview section above)

    An application that demonstrates relevance to a wide group of IT/IS staff is particularly welcome.

    Evaluation of Submissions

    Submissions will be judged according to the criteria given below.

    Section Criteria
    1. Presentation
    • Overall clarity of presentation
    • Style of the submission
    2. Abstract
    • Clear identification of the staff development outcomes achieved by the activity
    3. Project Scope
    • Statement of project scope
    • Supporting reference information eg urls, survey results, focus group discussion outcomes, etc
    4. Relevance
    • Relationship to wider staff development activity within the IT/IS department
    • Linkages to CPD programmes, probation, appraisal, staff retention initiatives
    • Applicability to other institutions
    5. Performance Indicators
    • What were your objectives?
    • Were these achieved?
    • How were they measured?
    • Number of staff involved?
    • Experiences of persons involved?
    6. Project Benefits
    • Benefits to user community, department and institution
    • How was user experience impacted upon?
    • Were staff career opportunities improved?

    Making a Submission

    Submissions must be made via email to:

    Peter Tinson, UCISA Executive Secretary at
    with the Subject Line: SDG Award 2007

    • MS Word or PDF format attachments are preferred.
    • The closing date for submissions is Monday 14 May 2007.
    • Submissions will be acknowledged via email.

    The Award

    The Award will be judged by the criteria listed and will be made in accordance with UCISA’s overall guidelines. The winning institution will receive an Apple video iPod and a representative will be invited to attend the 2007 UCISA SDG Support Staff symposium to make a presentation on the project and to accept the award. UCISA will pay the event fee and travelling expenses for one person to attend the symposium, which will take place at St Anne’s College, Oxford on 21–22 June, 2007. (In the unlikely event that this occasion cannot accommodate the presentation, then UCISA will work with the award winner to identify another appropriate UCISA forum.) Expenses will be paid in accordance with the UCISA Expenses Policy.

    A press release and other forms of publicity will be provided to promote the project within the institution and at a national level (see 'Recognition for award success'). It is understood that, in making a submission, you agree to this publicity, should your entry be successful.

    Apple UK, who is sponsoring the award, has a keen interest in staff development in the HE IT support staff sector. They believe that the promotion of good practice and of awareness of technological advances will draw attention to their range of innovative products. The prize of a video iPod highlights the area of podcasting, which is being increasingly used for the distribution of training and staff development materials.

    These guidelines are also available to download as a PDF:

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