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Academic Promotion Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

Appendix 1: Academic Board pool of academic staff


1. Purpose

1.1 The Academic Promotion Policy (the policy) outlines the process and criteria for promotion to the positions of senior lecturer, associate professor and professor.

1.2 The purpose of this policy is to:

  • recognise and reward academic staff who contribute to achieving the UTS 2027 strategy and whose workplace behaviour reflects the university’s values, social justice and equity principles, collaborative community, ethical standards, respect for others and personal accountability (refer Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy)
  • provide an identifiable career pathway for academic staff, and
  • foster a culture of performance excellence.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to eligible full-time, part-time and sessional staff, including academic managers in the senior staff group who hold substantive academic staff positions.

3. Principles

3.1 Academic promotion at UTS is based on the following principles:

  • Strategic alignment: Promotion criteria are aligned with the UTS strategy and reward activity that makes a sustained contribution to the achievement of the university’s strategic vision and outcomes.
  • Excellence: UTS strives for excellence in learning and teaching, research with impact and industry engagement. The promotion process recognises and rewards staff who demonstrate and are committed to excellence.
  • Fairness: The university is committed to a fair and transparent promotion process that incorporates evidence-based decision-making.
  • Equal opportunity: UTS is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all staff, factoring in an academic’s contribution relative to opportunity when assessing promotion applications in line with the Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy.
  • Flexibility: UTS aims to accommodate a range of academic contributions across different career paths, roles and disciplines that align with the university's vision and new ways of working.
  • Impact: Promotion decisions are evidence-based, focusing on the outcomes of an academic’s work.
  • Equivalence: Academic performance is expected to be equivalent to that at comparable or more highly ranked universities to ensure the academic excellence and mobility of UTS's academic staff.

4. Policy statements

Eligibility and assessments

4.1 Full-time, part-time or sessional academic staff are eligible to apply for academic promotion under this policy where they have completed two years’ aggregated service at UTS (excluding casual service and leave without pay) following appointment. Academics who fit this criterion are eligible to apply for promotion twice in any four-year period.

4.2 Suitability for promotion will be assessed against the three key areas of academic performance:

  • teaching and learning
  • research and innovation
  • service and engagement.

4.3 Applicants must demonstrate contribution and impact in these key areas according to work allocation averaged over the previous four years. UTS also expects that applicants have, and be able to demonstrate, high personal standing in terms of workplace behaviour, including ethical and collaborative behaviour, respect for others and personal accountability.

4.4 Performance will be assessed against the Academic benchmarks (Staff Connect). Applicants must meet expectations in the key areas at their current academic level. Where the average percentage of work allocation exceeds 40 per cent in a key area, applicants must demonstrate that they have exceeded expectations at their current level. Applicants must also demonstrate how they will progress to the requested promotion level and how they are meeting (or will meet) expectations for that level. Further information is in the Guidelines for writing a case for promotion (PDF, Staff Connect).

Promotion applications

4.5 Applications for promotion to senior lecturer will be called twice a year, and must be submitted by 31 May or 30 November in line with the advice provided by the Human Resources Unit (HRU) at Apply for academic promotion (Staff Connect).

4.6 Applications for promotion to associate professor and professor will be called once a year, and must be submitted by 31 July in line with the advice provided by HRU at Apply for academic promotion (Staff Connect).

4.7 An application for academic promotion must include:

  • an academic CV, including a list of publications and research income/grants
  • a case for promotion not exceeding six pages in length

  • for applicants seeking promotion to professor, an additional one-page outline of their future objectives (resulting in a total promotion case of seven pages in length)
  • an assessment of the statements outlined in the case for promotion by the applicants and report from head of school, discipline group or director (as appropriate)
  • the names and contact details of advisor nominees (see section below on advisors) who can provide an assessment of, and recommendation on, the application.

4.8 The completed application should be submitted before or on the relevant deadline. In exceptional circumstances, applicants may request approval (prior to the submission deadline) from the chair of the promotion panel (the panel) to lodge a late application.

Preparing a case for promotion

4.9 Applicants must clearly present and explain their case for promotion (within the context of their discipline) to the panel. A case for promotion should outline the applicant’s performance against the promotion criteria for the relevant level of promotion.

4.10 In making their case for promotion, applicants must:

  • refer to the Guidelines for writing a case for promotion (PDF, Staff Connect)
  • refer to the relevant faculty academic benchmarks in drafting their case
  • describe any discipline specific contextual factors (as necessary)
  • include supporting evidence to justify the achievements claimed.

4.11 While due consideration will be given to an applicant’s whole career (particularly for promotion to professor), primary consideration will be given to achievements since the applicants last promotion or commencement of employment at UTS (whichever is relevant).

4.12 Where applicable, applicants must outline their response to feedback provided as part of any previous unsuccessful promotion application, specifically indicating their development since the last application. The case for promotion must however stand on its own merit and not rely on material provided in previous applications.

4.13 A case for promotion should provide comment on the applicant’s:

  • learning and teaching and other education-related activities
  • research activities, outcomes and impact, and
  • most significant work(s) for the relevant period, providing explanations and evidence for these choices (for example results of teaching evaluations, impact and citation data).

4.14 Where relevant, the case for promotion should outline circumstances that may have restricted or delayed the development of the applicant’s professional career (see contribution relative to opportunity in definitions).

4.15 In making or reviewing a case for promotion, assessment-based applicants, supervisors and panel members should follow the advice provided in the Contribution relative to opportunity: Guidelines for considering academic promotion applications (PDF, Staff Connect), available at Apply for academic promotion (Staff Connect).

Head of school, head of discipline group or director report

4.16 Prior to submitting a promotion application, applicants must provide their application to their head of school (or dean in faculties without heads of school), head of discipline group or director (hereafter head of school) for their review.

4.17 The head of school will provide a report on the application, including a validation of achievements and claims and any other comments relevant to the case for promotion.

4.18 Where the head of school is an applicant for promotion, the Provost will nominate a UTS academic of senior standing to provide the endorsement.

4.19 Where an applicant has been on secondment to another faculty or area for longer than six months, the head of school should consult the area to which they are seconded regarding the achievements and claims outlined in the application.

4.20 The head of school should be given sufficient time in advance of the submission deadline to review the application, provide feedback and for the applicant to make changes to their application if necessary.

4.21 Where the applicant believes (for whatever reason) that their head of school is not the best person to make a recommendation on the promotion application, the applicant may request that the chair of the panel appoint an alternate senior academic (an alternate) to fulfil this duty.

4.22 This request for an alternate should be made well in advance of the application deadline and should clearly state the reasons for the request. Alternates are appointed at the discretion of the chair, who may seek advice from the faculty or elsewhere in making this decision.

4.23 Where an applicant disagrees with the head of school report, the applicant may:

  • indicate why and how there is disagreement between the applicant and the head of school report in an additional attachment to the promotion application for consideration by the panel (who may seek further information and/or clarification on the contents of the application), and/or
  • seek advice from their dean or the chair prior to submitting their application.

4.24 Advice can also be sought from the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion and/or HRU as appropriate.

Advisors

4.25 Faculty deans and applicants will each be requested to provide the names and contact details of nominated advisors who can provide an independent assessment of, and recommendation on, the promotion application.

4.26 The dean’s nominated advisors must be different to those nominated by the applicant. The dean and the applicant will not consult each other in relation to their nominated advisors. A maximum of one nominated advisor in each category may be internal to UTS as outlined in the following table.

Level Applicant’s nominated advisors Dean’s nominated advisors
Promotion to senior lecturer Two advisors, at least one external to UTS One external advisor
Promotion to associate professor and professor Three advisors, at least two external to UTS Three advisors, at least two external to UTS

4.27 Nominated advisors must be of high standing and capable of judging the impact of the academic’s achievements. Applicants and deans must select their nominated advisors carefully, ensuring they are in a position to provide relevant, in-depth comment and an independent view of the claims outlined in the case for promotion.

4.28 Written reports addressing the promotion criteria will be sought from the nominated advisors. These reports are confidential to the panel and official observers. A minimum of three external advisor reports (two for promotion to senior lecturer) must be received for consideration by the panel. At least one of these external reports must be from a dean’s nominee.

4.29 In exceptional circumstances, applicants may also identify up to two individuals who should not be consulted as part of the application assessment. This is normally requested to avoid conflict of interest issues or for legitimate disagreement on academic matters. A brief explanation should be provided as part of this request.

Promotion panel membership

4.30 The chair of the panel should consider gender balance and diversity of members. Chairs may make substitutions to the panel membership to achieve gender or diversity balance. Selection panel requirements as outlined in the Recruitment and Appointment Policy may serve as a guide to diversity requirements. Promotion panel members must:

  • complete (or have completed at least within the previous five years) unconscious bias training and cultural awareness training, or
  • obtain an exemption from the chair of the panel in line with advice available from Recruiting at UTS (SharePoint). Any exemptions must be noted to the Provost or the Vice-Chancellor with the approval request.

4.31 A senior lecturer promotion panel will be formed as follows:

  • one Deputy Vice-Chancellor nominated by the Vice-Chancellor (chair)
  • three faculty deans nominated by the Provost
  • one academic at the level of associate professor or above, selected by the chair from a pool of academic staff elected by Academic Board (refer appendix 1)
  • one external or internal member at the level of associate professor or above, appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.

4.32 An associate professor and/or professor promotion panel will be formed as follows:

  • Provost (chair)
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • all faculty deans
  • one academic at professor level, selected by the chair from a pool of academic staff elected by Academic Board (refer appendix 1)
  • one external member at professor level or equivalent, appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.

4.33 A nominee of the Executive Director, Social Justice or the Director, Human Resources (or nominee) may attend any promotion panel as an observer and to advise on appropriate matters of policy and procedure at the request of the chair.

Promotion panel process and executive approval of promotion

4.34 There are no quotas for any level of academic promotion and a promotion panel may recommend as many applicants for promotion that it considers meet the promotion criteria.

4.35 The promotion panels will assess applicants’ suitability for promotion based on the written information provided in the promotion application.

4.36 Panels may request supplementary information and/or evidence from an applicant, head of school, head of discipline group or director. Any additional information provided will be made available to the applicant for comment.

4.37 The applicant’s CV and any evidence provided as part of the case for promotion may be subject to validation or audit.

4.38 Panels are not required to interview applicants, but may choose to do so if they believe that further information is required to clarify claims made or enable a complete assessment of the applicant’s case for promotion.

4.39 Panels make recommendations for promotion — they do not approve promotion. Each panel must document the outcome of its deliberations and its assessment of each applicant against the promotion criteria. This information must be recorded in line with this policy.

4.40 The chair of each panel will offer to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants for promotion.

4.41 The Provost approves promotion to senior lecturer on the recommendation of the promotion panel. The Vice-Chancellor approves promotion to associate professor and professor on the recommendation of the panel.

4.42 Promotions are effective from the nearest pay date after 1 July or 1 January, following approval by the Provost or Vice-Chancellor.

Appeals

4.43 Applicants may appeal to the Academic Promotions Appeals Committee (APAC) only on the ground of lack of due process. Appeals must be lodged within seven days of the applicant receiving advice of their unsuccessful application (refer to the Academic Promotion Appeals Guidelines available at Apply for academic promotion (Staff Connect)).

4.44 A promotion panel’s assessment on the academic merit of an application is final and will not be the subject of an appeal.

Recordkeeping and privacy

4.45 All records and information relating to the academic promotion process must be classified, stored, managed and retained for a minimum of two years in line with the Records Management Policy and Data Governance Policy. Destruction of university records must only be undertaken in line with the Records Management Policy.

Policy breaches

4.46 Breaches of this policy or any associated procedures are considered a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct and will be dealt with under the code. This includes the right of UTS to notify a relevant statutory authority and/or agency where there is a breach of legislation.

4.47 Data breaches will be managed in line with the Privacy Policy.

4.48 In circumstances where evidence provided as part of an application is found to be factually incorrect, the application for promotion may be rejected and/or appointment withdrawn.

4.49 Where an applicant is found to have deliberately falsified information, disciplinary action may be initiated.

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owner: The Provost is responsible for policy enforcement and compliance and initiating any review of the academic promotion process from time to time, as appropriate. The Provost is also responsible for the approval of any procedures and guidelines associated with this policy.

5.2 Policy contact: The Director, Human Resources is the primary point of contact for advice on implementing and administering this policy.

5.3 Others:

Heads of school, heads of discipline group and directors are responsible under this policy for ensuring that all relevant academic staff have annual workplans in place. Academic staff are expected to have an annual workplans in place for at least two years prior to any application for promotion. Annual workplans are the appropriate vehicle for discussions around performance and career development.

Academic managers are responsible for:

  • providing guidance, support, feedback and information to their academic staff about their performance, career development, readiness for promotion and their application
  • reviewing the promotion application and completing an assessment and promotion recommendation in a fair and transparent manner
  • participating in the process of providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Chairs of promotion panels are responsible for:

  • ensuring that the promotion process is administered according to this policy
  • ensuring that promotion applications are assessed fairly by the promotion panel and in accordance with this policy
  • ensuring that any potential conflicts of interest are managed appropriately, and
  • offering to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Members of promotion panels are responsible for actively participating in the panel’s deliberations and assessing all applications fairly and in accordance with this policy. Panel members should declare to the chair any potential conflicts of interest, either professional or personal, that might arise due to their participation on a promotion panel.

The Vice-Chancellor and the Provost are responsible for approving academic promotions in line with the provisions outlined in this policy.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this policy and all associated procedures and guidelines. These are in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Academic manager means an academic staff member who has an active role in the supervision and development of others, including providing guidance, support, feedback and information to the academic staff they supervise, about their performance, career development and readiness for promotion. An academic manager is responsible for reviewing the promotion application and completing an assessment and promotion recommendation in a fair and transparent manner as well as participating in the process of providing feedback to successful and unsuccessful applicants.

Applicant means the academic applying or considering application for promotion under the scope of this policy.

Contribution relative to opportunity means the circumstance(s) where an academic’s career has been impacted by personal, professional or other circumstances that may have restricted or delayed the development of a professional career path. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, caring responsibilities, illness, disability, part-time work or any other relevant circumstances.

Senior staff group is defined in the university's Enterprise agreement.

Approval information

Policy contact Director, Human Resources Unit
Approval authority Vice-Chancellor
Review date 2024
File number UR19/1195
Superseded documents Academic Promotion Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (UR15/923)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Vice-Chancellor 05/04/2019 05/04/2019 New policy.
1.1 Vice-Chancellor 16/04/2020 16/04/2020 Minor amendment – Senior Lecturer Promotion Panel
2 Vice-Chancellor 26/07/2021 27/07/2021 Full review to align with the Recruitment and Appointment Policy and the Appointment of Distinguished Professors Procedures.
Director, Governance Support Unit 19/05/2021 27/07/2021 Changes to reflect new organisational structure of the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion.
2.1 Director, Governance Support Unit 18/08/2021 18/08/2021 Correction to the policy from the 2019 review, clarifying the requirement for a pool of academic staff, elected by Academic Board, to be included on promotions panels with relevant guidance provided as an appendix.

PDF version

Academic Promotion Policy (PDF 195KB)

References

Academic promotion (Staff Connect)

Apply for academic promotion (Staff Connect)

Enterprise agreements

Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy

Faculty academic benchmarks (Staff Connect)

Guidelines for considering academic promotion cases relative to opportunity (PDF, Staff Connect)

Guidelines for writing a case for promotion (PDF, Staff Connect)

Recruitment and Appointment Policy

UTS 2027 strategy

Appendix 1: Academic Board pool of academic staff

Academic Board will elect twelve (12) academic staff who will comprise a ‘pool’ from which promotion panel chairs will select members for each panel, each year. Academic staff do not necessarily need to be members of Academic Board to be eligible for election to the pool. Deans must not comprise part of the pool.

The pool will comprise:

  • four professors, at least two of whom to be women
  • four associate professors, at least two of whom to be women
  • four senior lecturers, at least two of whom to be women.

Staff may be elected to the promotions panel pool for three years and pool members should serve on a promotion panel at least once during that time. A vacancy in the pool exists where:

  1. any positions in the pool are not filled at the conclusion of the election process, or
  2. a member of the pool resigns or ceases to be eligible to be a pool member.

At any time, there may be one vacancy at each academic level. Where a vacancy as a result of (a) or (b) above needs to be filled, the Chair of Academic Board will appoint an appropriate candidate to fill the position following consultation with deans.