Academic Head Support Package Guidelines


All University staff members involved with the development and agreement of a support package for academic heads


These guidelines are intended to provide the dean and academic head designate with information and support in agreeing an appropriate support package.


Support for the academic head role comes in many forms. The academic head receives support from other academic staff in the academic unit, their peers, a mentor, and professional staff members across the faculty and University. These types of support are outlined in the Academic Head Role Description Guide. These guidelines outline the support available in terms of the headship variable supplementary payment (VSP) and support for research and/or teaching and suggestions for a governance structure. The dean will then make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor for appointment to the role and outline the suggested support package.

Headship VSP and research/teaching support

The guidelines below are designed to take into account the varying size and complexity of academic units across the University. If an academic head faces a significant challenge during any given year this may be recognised as part of the Professor, Associate Professor and Professional Teaching Fellow 4 Salary Review Process and/or by an increase in time allocated to the role

For the purpose of allocating a headship VSP and research and teaching support, academic units have been allocated into one of three categories:

Category A: Academic Units with an FTE of up to 25 AND a total revenue of up to $15 million

Academic unit Headship VSP
Research/Teaching support
Te Wānanga o Waipapa Between 10K and 20K per annum Between 15K and 25k to be allocated to research support, research admin and/or teaching support
Commercial Law    
Counselling, Human Services & Social Work    
Critical Studies in Education    
Te Puna Wānanga    
Vision Sciences    
Te Kupenga Hauora Māori    
Dance Studies    
Fine Arts
Marine Science
Sports and Exercise Science

Category B: Academic units with an FTE of between 20 and 80 AND a total revenue of between $15 and $25 million

Academic unit Headship VSP Research/Teaching support
Cultures, Languages and Linguistics Between 15K and 25K per annum Between 25K and 50k to be allocated to research support, research admin and teaching support
Accounting and Finance    
Graduate School of Management    
Information Systems & Operations    
Management & International Bus    
Curriculum & Pedagogy    
Learning, Development and Professional Practice    
Chemical & Material Engineering    
Civil and Environmental Engineering    
Electrical & Computer Engineering    
Engineering Science    
Mechanical Engineering    
Architecture and Planning    
Chemical Science    
Computer Science    

Category C: Academic units with an FTE of over 80 AND a total revenue of over $25 million

Academic unit Headship VSP Research/Teaching support
Humanities Between 20K and 30K per annum A post-doc or equivalent to be used for research support, research admin or teaching support
Social Sciences    
Medical Sciences    
Population Health
Biological Sciences    

There may be some overlap between categories and the dean may recommend that an academic unit should be moved to another category. These guidelines will be reviewed two years after introduction and every two years after that and adjusted accordingly.

With the approval of the Vice-Chancellor a dean may agree to research/teaching support to a maximum of that outlined in the next category (so a head in a category B unit may receive the support outlined for a category C unit) if it is deemed appropriate. There is no such flexibility attached to the headship VSP as the range in each category already overlaps.

Academic unit governance

The academic head designate and dean should decide on an appropriate governance structure within the following parameters. Category B and C heads should appoint at least one deputy head and can appoint more either as deputy heads or deputy/associate heads of particular functions. Category A heads may choose to appoint one deputy head with the approval of the dean. A deputy or associate head would normally receive an FTE allocation of between 0.1 and 0.3 in addition to their 0.2 service contribution and a VSP of between 2K and 5K.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head refers to the role that leads an academic unit within a faculty and reports directly to the dean of the faculty. The role is a level 3 position. Level 4 academic heads in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences are covered by faculty specific procedures within the parameters of this policy

Academic head designate refers to the successful applicant after the appointment has been made, and prior to beginning in the role

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Director of Human Resources
Content manager: Associate Director: HR Advisory
Approved by: The Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 16 February 2024
Review date: 16 February 2029