Academic Workload Planning

The Workload Planning team are based in PPBI. We support colleges to ensure that academic workloads are allocated in line with institutional policy and manage processes related to the SWARM database.

If you are an academic member of staff looking for more information on accessing, viewing, or querying your workload, please see our Information for Academics pages. You can also find more information about Central University Policies and Governance as well as information specific to your College.

The way we plan the use of our academic staff time is key to achieving our strategies for education, research, impact and innovation; this is the key driver for academic workload planning.

Academic workload planning allows us to plan for an equitable and transparent spread of workloads. It means that workload is distributed strategically to maximise capacity and share departmental workload in ways that build on the strengths of all staff.

Workload planning is not new in Higher Education, but more transparent policies and some recognition that similar activity across the University generates similar workload, meant that the University of Exeter was an early adopter of a universal system and common software for managing the data. Within this the University recognises the need for flexibility for Colleges to adapt to differences in demands and needs.

SWARM is the University's workload planning software. It is a web-based system and is an accessible way of showing how the College workload policy has been applied. It is designed to provide transparency in workload distribution and is a useful piece of software to help departments manage their academics’ workloads efficiently. SWARM also provides University data for the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) return, meaning staff no longer have to complete the Time Allocation Survey (TAS) each term.

SWARM allows members of staff to see, at a minimum, details of their workload and a summary of the workload distribution across their department for the year. It is designed to show workloads for a full year and does not split workload over terms.

SWARM holds a summary of information held in other University systems and is regularly updated; PAC for Research Grants, SITS for PhD students and Trent for staff information. Teaching data and administration roles are inputted directly into SWARM. The data is not intended to change during the current year other than to reflect exceptional changes to circumstances that affect the workload of one or more members of staff.

SWARM is best used in browser Mozilla Firefox

Please do contact us if there is anything you think we might be able to help you with