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Procedures for the Appointment of Distinguished Professors




Policy statements

Procedures ownership and support


Approval information

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1. Purpose

1.1 These procedures outline the University’s mandatory processes for the appointment of distinguished professors by invitation and by promotion. These procedures should be read in conjunction with the Academic Promotion Vice-Chancellor’s Directive.

2. Scope

2.1 These procedures apply to all external academics (Australian and overseas) and to UTS academic staff currently employed on a continuing Level E appointment.

3. Principles

3.1 UTS values excellence in teaching, research and engagement and recognises the contributions of individual academics towards achieving the UTS vision of becoming a world-leading university of technology.

3.2 The appointment of distinguished professors enables the University to enhance its academic profile, either by inviting eminent persons external to UTS to accept appointment, or to recognise and reward both eminence and sustained academic excellence within UTS.

3.3 These principles are in addition to the principles outlined in the Academic Promotion Vice-Chancellor’s Directive.

4. Policy statements

4.1 Where the University identifies an opportunity for eminent academics or professional practitioners in appropriate fields of endeavour to join UTS, appointments by invitation can be made to the position of distinguished professor or distinguished industry professor.

4.2 Where the University recognises eminence and sustained academic excellence from within the existing UTS professoriate, appointments by invitation or by promotion can be made to the position of distinguished professor.

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.

Criteria for appointment by invitation and promotion

4.4 Distinguished professorships should recognise achievement at the highest level, taking into account: past eminence and track record; the potential for ongoing excellence; and contributions to UTS strategy.

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 the UTS strategy, which may be demonstrated by any combination of a. to 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 international community, as evidenced by the award of international prizes and awards; fellowship of learned academies; granting of patents and other recognised honours
  4. supportive reports from referees of international standing and eminence.
Potential for ongoing excellence Evaluation of the future potential of the appointee and the benefits to the UTS strategic direction and academic profile.
Contributions to UTS strategy A demonstrated commitment to positively promoting the culture of excellence and collegiality within UTS and contributions to building the reputation of UTS within and beyond the communities with which we engage.

4.5 To be eligible for appointment to distinguished professor by promotion, UTS academic staff would normally hold a full-time, continuing academic appointment at Level E, and must have been employed by UTS for a minimum of two years.

4.6 Staff who do not meet this requirement will require the approval of the Provost prior to lodging an application.

Appointment duration, remuneration and reappointment

4.7 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.

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

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

4.10 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.

4.11 A distinguished professor whose fixed-term appointment is due to expire may be renominated and reappointed in accordance with the procedures outlined in this document.

4.12 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.

4.13 The University will assess the matter of superannuation contributions individually.

Appointing a distinguished professor by invitation

4.14 Procedures for the appointment of a distinguished professor by invitation are outlined in the Recruitment and Appointment Vice-Chancellor’s Directive.

Appointing a distinguished professor by promotion

4.15 Each year, the Provost will invite deans to submit nominations for distinguished professor by promotion, from within the professoriate of their faculty.

4.16 The Provost may decide not to seek nominations in any scheduled year.

4.17 The dean of the nominee’s faculty should submit a nomination, via the Director, Human Resources Unit, to the Provost.

4.18 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.

4.19 The nomination form should include all of the following (available from the Academic Promotion page on Staff Connect):

  • 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 strategic direction and academic profile.

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

4.21 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.

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

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

4.24 The committee may ask for additional information from University records on any nominee (eg publications, teaching evaluations, workplans, etc.), seek benchmarking data on performance relative to disciplinary or professional norms.

4.25 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.

4.26 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 section 4.3 above).

4.27 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 by promotion/invitation

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

4.29 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.

4.30 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.

4.31 The sub-committee will either recommend the reappointment to the Vice-Chancellor for approval, or refer the renomination to be reviewed by the full promotion committee in accordance with the normal appointment procedures outlined in the above section.

4.32 A candidate who has not been successful in reappointment may be renominated in subsequent years in accordance with the appointment procedures outlined above.

Appeals process

4.34 Unsuccessful applicants may appeal a selection decision only on the grounds of lack of due process.

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

4.36 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 unsuccessful application; further supporting documentation must be lodged within 14 days of receiving written notification of unsuccessful application.

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

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

4.39 Upon consideration of the report’s findings this, the Vice-Chancellor may:

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

4.40 The decision of the Vice-Chancellor is final.

5. Policy ownership and support

The appointment of distinguished professors by invitation is managed through the Recruitment and Appointment Vice-Chancellor's Directive.

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

5.2 Policy contact: the Provost is responsible for managing the process of appointment by promotion and appointment of the promotions committee.

5.3 The Manager HR Client Services and Support (Human Resources Unit) coordinates HR activities and processes (including forms), under these procedures.

5.4 The promotions committee is responsible for the following, in relation to appointments by promotion:

  • assessing the merit of nominations in terms of the eligibility criteria outlined in these procedures
  • having regard to the UTS Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy
  • maintaining confidentiality with respect to the selection process and nominee information, and
  • advising the Chair of the promotions committee of any actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to the selection process and/or any nominees.

6. Definitions

These definitions apply for these procedures. These are presented in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Dean means the dean of a faculty or the director/head of an organisational unit designated by the Vice-Chancellor as equivalent to a faculty.

Faculty means faculties or an organisational unit designated as equivalent to a faculty by the Vice-Chancellor, in accordance with the Delegations.

Lack of due process means failure of the promotions committee to duly follow UTS policies, directives and procedures.

Approval information and management

Policy contact Provost
Approval authority Vice-Chancellor
Review year 2020
Version V1.0
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 Vice-Chancellor 16/10/2017 16/10/2017 NA

PDF version

Procedures for the Appointment of Distinguished Professor (PDF)