Research and Scholarly Activity (RSA) Time

A template to inform your line manager that you will be taking RSA time can be found here.

Your contractual rights at the University of Roehampton closely follow the Post-92 Contract, which gives very precise and detailed contractual rights regarding weekly teaching and annual leave.  It is premised on the idea of a 3-part year:

  • 38 weeks for teaching (36 weeks teaching + 2 weeks teaching related admin)
  • 35 days for annual leave (plus locally-determined holidays, University closure days and public holidays)
  • The ‘rest of the year’ to be spent in self-directed scholarly activity, also known as Research and Scholarly Activity (RSA) time.

This is all laid out in the ‘Academic Conditions of Service’ document (also available on the Human Resources portal), which is a standard part of all Roehampton academic contracts. This document states that;

6.2 ‘The Lecturer normally should not be required to perform teaching duties for more than 36 working weeks in each academic year. In addition, the Lecturer normally shall spend 2 working weeks in each academic year on teaching-related administration.’

7.1 ‘As part of his/her duties the Lecturer will normally be expected to engage in research and/or other forms of scholarly activity.’

7.2 ‘While it is in the nature of research and scholarly activity that it may take place throughout the year and be integrated into the overall pattern of the Lecturer’s activities, it is envisaged that normally the period(s) of the year outside normal teaching weeks and annual leave entitlement will primarily be devoted to research and scholarly activity.’

7.3 ‘The Lecturer’s research and scholarly activity will be principally self-managed.’

Therefore any teaching related activities that you do in addition to the contractual terms of your contract are ‘voluntary’!

Important Points to Note

    • All academic staff have 165 hours RSA time (pro rata) in their workload. (This is calculated as RSA = annual working hours (based on a 35 hr week) – contracted teaching weeks – annual leave – public holidays – annual closure days). RSA is often misquoted by management as 10% of your workload, but this is incorrect.
    • Teaching weeks include not only face to face teaching, but also induction weeks, marking, examboard obligations. Any week that contain one of these activities is considered to be a teaching week. Any weeks outside of the 36 weeks teaching and 2 weeks teaching related administration, in which academics are not on leave, should be considered as RSA time.
    • As RSA is self-directed time, it is up to staff (not management) to decide what academic activity it is best to undertake during this time. RSA time is not a substiture for research time, though it can be used to supplement research allocations if a member of staff chooses to do this. It should not be used for planning teaching, marking, covering clearing, etc. Staff may need to discuss what was undertaken during the RSA time with their Head of Department during the annual appraisal.
    • RSA time should be available to take in blocks of time, at a period on the year which is suitable for the member of staff. In fact, UCU advises members that this time is often best taken as a block, to ensure that the time is protected, rather than lost as scattered hours across a busy year. For most staff, especially those teaching on undergraduate programmes throughout the year, the only time to take RSA time is over Easter or over the summer (from mid June onwards).
    • As staff have got out of the habit of officially requesting this time, UCU suggest that that when you wish to take your RSA time, it is best to inform your Head of Department of the days that you will take your RSA in advance.