By Deborah Shaw, Professor of Film and Screen Studies at the University of Portsmouth

Many academics are extremely busy and operate in response mode: will you review this grant application? Write a reference? Review this article? Give a talk? Etc. You say ‘yes’ because you are a good academic citizen and you get that this is how the system works. Without good citizens doing this labour, academia would fall apart. This work is usually thankless and unpaid, and is frequently done out of hours, with work creeping into weekends and evenings. Academics do need to be wary of saying ‘yes’ to everything to protect the too often out of reach work/life balance.

But these activities do count and keeping a record of these should help with staff promotion and workload allowance, and you should share them with your line manager at appropriate times, include them in your annual reviews, and add them to your CVs. I also suggest that if you are asked to take on a specific responsibility ask for a title to be given. For instance, if you coordinate mentoring in your School, ask to be the School Mentoring Coordinator. If you invited to another University for a collaboration, ask to be called a Visiting Professor.
Note: it is important also to know what to leave out; keep the headline as people don’t want to know EVERYTHING you have been doing

What follows is a list of activities that you should keep a record of and share with relevant colleagues:

  • Mentoring activities with peers or more junior colleagues
  • Reviewing grant applications for colleagues
  • Acting as a peer reviewer at your institution or for a research council
  • Chairing PhD annual reviews
  • PhD and MRes supervisions and completions
  • External examining (include PhD external examiner and internal examiner)
  • Committee work
  • Traditional peer reviewed articles, chapter and books, but also published blogs and journalistic writing
  • Published reviews of your books (if they are good!)
  • Academic journal editorial work
  • Work for publishers reviewing book proposals or manuscripts
  • Roles on any steering committee or advisory boards
  • Examples of where your work is the key reading in other institutions
  • Interviews and citations in print media, respected online media, podcasts, radio or television
  • Conference talks, but also any appearances at cultural festivals or panels (online or in person), and any public engagement work
  • Organisation of seminars, talks, symposia or conferences (include guest speaker programme)
  • Collaborations with industry or business in a professional capacity
  • Traditional funding awarded, but also travel grants, invited speaker travel and fees.
  • Any teaching recognition of note – e.g. good student feedback, or institutional or national awards
  • Esteem indicators, such as being on an editorial or advisory board, or being part of a special interest group for your subject association

I hope this will be useful for anyone applying for jobs, going for promotion or completing annual reviews.