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Appointment of Distinguished Professors Procedures




Procedural statements

Procedures ownership and support


Approval information

PDF version


1. Purpose

1.1 These procedures outline the mandatory processes for the appointment of distinguished professors by invitation (external) and promotion (internal). These procedures should be read in conjunction with the Recruitment and Appointment Policy and Academic Promotion Policy.

2. Scope

2.1 These procedures apply to:

  • all external academics (Australian and overseas), and
  • UTS academic staff currently employed on a continuing Level E appointment.

2.2 Appointments of distinguished professors by promotion or invitation may be considered in line with the Recruitment and Appointment Policy:

  • where the proposed appointment is required in a short timeframe to secure or retain an outstanding candidate or to meet urgent or critical operational needs
  • where the proposed appointment would provide a major competitive advantage aligned with a specific strategic or values driven initiative
  • in a situation where any breach of confidentiality would place the appointee and the appointment at risk (making competitive recruitment impossible)
  • where the potential appointee would not normally seek an appointment or promotion or, because of their profile, would not wish to be seen to seek an appointment or promotion
  • as recommended by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for approval by the Provost to meet the requirements and timeline of a fixed-term externally funded project or research grant (up to three years) where appointment conditions have been determined by the funding body, or
  • in other exceptional circumstances or for other strategic reasons as determined by the Provost in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor.

3. Principles

3.1 UTS values excellence in teaching, research and engagement and recognises the contributions of individual academics towards achieving the UTS 2027 strategy. The principles outlined in these procedures are in addition to those in the Recruitment and Appointment Policy (for appointments by invitation) and Academic Promotion Policy (for appointments by promotion).

3.2 UTS also values workforce diversity and is committed to ensuring that practical and measurable steps are taken to achieve equal opportunities for current and future staff. This is outlined in our commitment to gender diversity (refer Athena Swan) and to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage in employment (refer Wingara Indigenous Employment Strategy).

3.3 The appointment of distinguished professors enables UTS to enhance its academic profile, either by appointing eminent external persons or recognising and rewarding eminence and sustained academic excellence within UTS.

3.4 Appointments by invitation must also, in line with the Recruitment and Appointment Policy and Academic Promotion Policy, consider the university’s commitment to excellence, social justice and equity (and achievement of equity targets).

4. Procedural statements

Criteria for appointment by invitation and promotion

4.1 Eminent external academics or professional practitioners may be invited to join UTS, as either distinguished professor or distinguished industry professor (hereafter distinguished professor) in line with these procedures.

4.2 Promotion to distinguished professor is available to eminent academic professorial staff, with sustained academic excellence who:

  • are on a full-time, continuing academic appointment at Level E
  • have been employed by UTS for a minimum of two years, and
  • meet the eligibility criteria outlined in these procedures.

4.3 The number of distinguished professors will not be fixed, however the promotion committee will recognise and preserve the distinction of these appointments, providing a ratio of total appointments to the UTS professoriate as part of the approval documentation to the Vice-Chancellor.

4.4 Distinguished professorships should recognise achievement at the highest level in line with the criteria and evidence outlined below, taking into consideration workforce diversity and equal opportunity commitments. Staff who do not meet these requirements will require the approval of the Provost before lodging an application.

Table 4.4.1 table of criteria and evidence

Criteria Evidence
Past eminence and track record

Evidence of exceptional distinction in scholarship and contribution to (or potential contribution for appointments by invitation) the UTS strategy, which may be demonstrated by any combination of a–c plus d:

  1. a distinguished portfolio of research grants and major publications in world class outlets and with high impact (academic and/or broader)
  2. a distinguished portfolio of learning and teaching leadership, innovation and outcomes, with influence and impact beyond UTS
  3. a distinguished portfolio of leadership in engagement with industry and the wider community (including Indigenous communities), as evidenced by the award of international (and/or other relevant) prizes and awards; fellowship of learned academies; granting of patents and other recognised honours
  4. supportive reports from advisors of international standing and eminence.
Potential for ongoing excellence Evaluation of the future potential of the appointee and the benefits to the UTS strategy and academic profile.
Contributions (or potential contributions for appointments by invitation) to the UTS strategy A demonstrated commitment to positively promoting the culture of excellence and collegiality within UTS and contributions to building the reputation of UTS internally and externally.

Appointment duration, remuneration and reappointment

4.5 Distinguished professorships will be up to five years duration as a fixed-term member of the university’s academic staff with normal conditions and rights.

4.6 Additional special conditions or expectations may be determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

4.7 The source of funding for appointments will be negotiated between the Vice-Chancellor and relevant faculties.

4.8 On the conclusion of their fixed-term appointment, distinguished professors appointed by promotion from the UTS professoriate will return to their original level of continuing academic appointment and remuneration.

4.9 A distinguished professor whose fixed-term appointment is due to expire may be renominated and reappointed in accordance with these procedures.

4.10 Remuneration for distinguished professor appointments will be equivalent to the current UTS pay rate assigned for professors. Any supplementary remuneration may be determined by the Vice-Chancellor as appropriate, and in the case of internal promotions, may take account of any existing loadings and salary supplementation.

4.11 The university will assess the matter of superannuation contributions individually.

Appointing a distinguished professor by invitation

4.12 Procedures for the appointment of a distinguished professor by invitation (that is external candidates) are considered and selected in line with the Recruitment and Appointment Policy.

Appointing a distinguished professor by promotion

4.13 Each year, the Provost will invite deans to submit nominations for distinguished professor by promotion from within the professoriate of their faculty. The Provost may decide not to seek nominations in any scheduled year.

4.14 Deans are asked to submit nominations, via the Director, Human Resources, to the Provost.

4.15 In the event that a dean, pro vice-chancellor, assistant deputy vice-chancellor, deputy vice-chancellor or dean is proposed for appointment, the nomination should be made by the relevant supervisor.

4.16 The nomination form (available at Academic promotion (Staff Connect)) should include the following:

  • a detailed justification of the proposed appointment, addressing the criteria outlined in these procedures relevant to the nominee’s claim for exceptional distinction in scholarship and contribution to the UTS strategy. Emphasis should be placed on quality and impact, rather than quantity and should reference performance against the UTS academic benchmarks for the areas of claim where appropriate
  • an outline of proactive and sustained leadership in, and contribution to ,the achievement of the UTS strategy
  • a full curriculum vitae, and
  • an outline of the nominee’s proposed teaching/research/engagement program, as relevant to their current appointment and responsibilities, for the next five years to demonstrate the future potential of the appointee and the benefits to the UTS strategy and academic profile.

4.17 Where the Provost considers a nominee to be suitable for appointment, the Provost will seek reports from at least four advisors, who are external to UTS and of international standing. The Provost will consult with the nominator on suitable advisors.

4.18 The Provost will then establish a promotion committee comprising:

  • the Provost (as Chair)
  • the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
  • the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • three members of staff currently holding the title of distinguished professor
  • the Chair, Academic Board.

4.19 Where one of the above individuals is proposed for appointment, an alternative committee member will be selected by the Provost.

4.20 In line with the requirements of the Recruitment and Appointment Policy, promotion committee members must undertake unconscious bias training and cultural awareness training (as appropriate) before interviewing candidates, or obtain an exemption from the Provost (as outlined in the Recruitment and Appointment Policy).

4.21 The promotion committee (hereafter the committee) will consider each nomination and make recommendations for appointment through the Provost to the Vice-Chancellor.

4.22 The committee may ask for additional information on any nominee (for example publications, teaching evaluations and workplans) and seek benchmarking data on performance relative to disciplinary or professional norms.

4.23 Further information may also be requested from the nominee or relevant dean, in this case, the dean and nominee will be provided with a copy for any comment relevant to the nomination.

4.24 The Vice-Chancellor has authority to approve promotions to distinguished professor based on the recommendation provided by the committee (including the relevant metrics as outlined in statement 4.3 above).

4.25 Unsuccessful nominees will be advised that they may be renominated in subsequent years, in accordance with these procedures, and will be offered feedback on their unsuccessful nomination.

Reappointment of distinguished professors

4.26 A distinguished professor whose term of appointment is due to expire may be renominated and reappointed for a further term.

4.27 The relevant dean will provide the following information for renomination

  • justification for reappointment
  • a summary of the candidate’s achievements during the previous term of appointment, including any changes to the teaching/research/engagement program set out in the initial case for nomination, and
  • a description of the candidate’s proposed teaching/research/engagement program for the subsequent term.

4.28 Renominations will be considered by a sub-committee of the promotion committee comprising:

  • the Provost (chair)
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), and
  • the Chair, Academic Board.

4.29 The sub-committee will either recommend the reappointment to the Vice-Chancellor for approval, or refer the renomination to be reviewed by:

4.30 A candidate who has not been successful in reappointment may be renominated in subsequent years in accordance with these procedures or the Recruitment and Appointment Policy.

Appeals process for internal applicants

4.31 Unsuccessful appointment by promotion applicants may appeal a selection decision only on the grounds of lack of due process.

4.32 Appeals may only be made where the nominee has sought and received feedback from the Provost on the reasons for the unsuccessful application.

4.33 An internal applicant who wishes to make an appeal must lodge a written notification with the Vice-Chancellor within seven days of receiving written notification of an unsuccessful application. Further supporting documentation must be lodged within 14 days of receiving written notification of an unsuccessful application.

4.34 The obligation to establish failure to follow the selection processes outlined in these procedures lies with the appellant.

4.35 The Vice-Chancellor will appoint a person(s) not involved in the original process to investigate the circumstances of the appeal and provide a report.

4.36 On consideration of the report’s findings, the Vice-Chancellor may:

  • reject the appeal
  • request further investigations
  • appoint a different selection committee to shortlist and/or interview all or some applicants
  • quash the original selection decision and initiate a completely new selection process.

4.37 The decision of the Vice-Chancellor is final.

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Procedures owner: The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for the approval of these procedures and for approving appointments to distinguished professor, by invitation and promotion, in line with these procedures. The Provost is responsible for managing the process of appointment by promotion and appointment of the promotions committee.

The Vice-Chancellor is also responsible for investigating any appeals.

5.2 Policy contact: The Manager HR Client Services and Support (Human Resources Unit) coordinates HR activities and processes (including forms) under these procedures.

5.3 Others: The promotions committee and sub-committee are responsible for the following, in relation to appointments by promotion:

6. Definitions

The definitions outlined in the Recruitment and Appointment Policy and Academic Promotion Policy apply for these procedures.

Approval information

Procedures contact Provost and Manager HR Client Services
Approval authority Vice-Chancellor
Review year 2024
File number UR17/3549
Superseded documents Appointment of Distinguished Professor by Invitation Vice-Chancellor’s Directive

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Vice-Chancellor 16/10/2017 16/10/2017 n/a
2.0 Vice-Chancellor 26/07/2021 27/07/2021 Full review in line with the new Recruitment and Appointment Policy. Include reference to Wingara Indigenous Employment Strategy and equity considerations more broadly.

PDF version

Appointment of Distinguished Professor Procedures (PDF 181KB)


Academic Promotion Policy

Athena Swan

Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy

Recruitment and Appointment Policy

UTS 2027 strategy

Wingara Indigenous Employment Strategy