Guidance for Heads of School - Academic Promotion

  1. Introduction
  2. Performance management and career development
  3. Receipt and collation of cases
  4. Actions before First FPC
  5. Report Guidance
  6. Attendance at FPCs
  7. Feedback to candidates

1. Introduction

This document outlines the role of Heads of School in the promotion procedure. Please also read the Promotion Procedure and other relevant supplementary guidance.

All applications and any information Heads of School have access to as part of the promotion procedure must be kept in accordance with relevant data protection legislation as detailed within the staff fair processing notice

2. Performance management and career development

Responsibility for the performance management and career development of academic staff is a key aspect of the Head of School role. This is an integral part of normal day-to-day management and runs throughout a full range of staff management processes from recruitment, induction, initial service review, and staff review through to promotion.  For some Heads of School, some or all of the line management responsibility has been delegated to others, which includes support for promotion.

The Head of School’s role in the promotion procedure is therefore a natural part of their wider responsibility for the development of their staff either directly or indirectly through others. For example, providing advice and guidance on an individual’s career development, readiness for promotion, and how this might be improved, should typically form an important part of regular staff review and other one-to-one discussions for all academic staff. Applications for promotion should not therefore come as a surprise, but rather should be a natural step in a supported, planned and managed career development process.  

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3. Receipt and collation of cases

At the launch of each annual promotion procedure, academic staff will be advised by HR of the process and deadline to submit their application to the Head of School.  As part of this staff will be reminded that applications which do not meet the designated format will be rejected before consideration and without appeal.

It is the Head of School’s responsibility, with assistance from appropriate colleagues, to manage the receipt and collation of all applications and prepare them for onward submission. 

4. Actions before the First FPC

On receipt of cases from candidates, Heads of School should:

(a) Review all applications and provide feedback and advice to candidates, allowing them to amend their applications before they are submitted to FPC1.  Heads of School may choose to delegate part of this responsibility to other senior members of the School, but retain overall responsibility and ensure that applications are submitted by the deadline. In the case of applications from candidates who are based in more than one School, the relevant Heads of School should jointly agree who will take overall responsibility for the application including ensuring that input has been received from the other Head of School.

 (b) Produce a Head of School Report Form‌‌ for each candidate, including making nominations for internal and external assessor report providers as required, and in discussion with the candidate (see below for report guidance and Appendix 3 of the Promotion Procedure for details of the number and types of reports needed for different applications). The Head of School report should cover the following areas with reference to the criteria set out in Section 3 of the Promotion Procedure:

Overview of the case:

Objectively draw attention to particular strengths of the application as well as any areas for development or reservations about the case.  These should not come as a surprise to the candidate and have already been discussed with them as part of any ongoing support. Provide analytical as well as purely factual input.  Any relevant subject-specific knowledge and context that is not already covered in the generic School Contextual Report should also be included here.

Feedback on the candidate's evidence :

Provide feedback on the evidence given in the candidate's application, drawing on the views of others where necessary.

Any other relevant information:

The report may also include any other relevant information not contained under any of the previous headings.

(c) Produce a School Context report (Office document, 49kB) (only one required per school).  As members of FPC may not be familiar with the sort of profile and norms expected of a specific subject area, appropriate subject-specific knowledge and context is provided in the School contextual report.  

(d) Commission teaching reports.  The Head of School should identify an appropriate member of the School to produce teaching reports for all applications from staff who submit evidence against any of the Education criteria (which could include those on Pathway 2).  The teaching reports should be submitted with all other documents in preparation for FPC2.

(e) Forward all applications to HR by the specified deadline, being sure to include all necessary forms and reports as outlined in the Promotion Procedure.‌

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5. Report guidance

Assessments by co-grant holders, co-authors (within the last 10 years), PhD supervisors, friends or collaborators of a candidate will be deemed invalid unless the Head of School justifies such a choice to the Dean’s satisfaction.

When a previously unsuccessful candidate reapplies, new assessor reports will be required.

After an assessor has provided a report, no substitute is permitted, unless an unacceptable bias or conflict of interest is confirmed by the Dean.

Appendix 3 of the promotion procedure outlines the number and type of reports required for each application.  There are a number of points to consider when choosing suitable report providers:

a)       Teaching reports: It is recommended that only one person in the School, e.g. the School’s Education Director or someone in a similar role, prepare all the necessary teaching reports for FPCs.  Where appropriate, they may use input from others, eg the Senior Tutor for E-2 Personal tutoring.  This report will need to be prepared following the guidance, using the Teaching report templates.  

b)       External assessments of research: all research assessors should be external to the University unless there are exceptional reasons, accepted by the Dean, why this would be inappropriate.  At least one external assessor should also be from outside of the UK. Following consultation with the candidate, assessors will be nominated by the Head of School and finalised by the Dean.  Assessor details should be included on the Head of School Report form. For candidates where a prima facie case is established, reports will be requested and collated by the HR team after FPC1.  The candidate may not exercise a veto but may record an objection to the use of a particular assessor and this objection should be detailed or attached to the Head of School Report form.

c)       Assessment of contribution to education and pedagogy: required for pathway 3 applications only.  For promotion to level e (Professor), at least two of these should be external and for candidates for level d2 (Associate Professor), at least one should be external. Where the context of teaching and learning is primarily a national one, there is no specific requirement for an international assessor unless this is appropriate and possible.  

d)       Clinical contribution report: only required where the candidate undertakes clinical duties for the University as an employer.  The purpose of this report is to provide an independent and objective assessment of individual’s clinical contribution, which should address the individual’s contributions in accordance with the guidance given in the Academic Promotions Framework (PDF, 317kB).  The report should provide analytical as well as purely factual input, together with clear evidence to support statements under each area. Where there is no activity to report under a particular area, this should be clearly stated. Clinical reports are normally provided by a relevant member of the School based within the University. Report providers will be nominated by the Head of School following consultation with the candidate and details should be included on the Head of School Report form. For candidates where a prima facie case is established, reports will be requested and collated by the HR team after FPC1.

6. Attendance at FPCs

Heads of School do not attend either FPC1 or FPC2.  Their input and objective review of the applications is instead provided in the reports they submit.  For further information regarding what should happen at Faculty Promotions Committees, please refer to the Guidance for Committees.  Membership of the Faculty Promotions Committees is detailed in Appendix 2 of the Promotion Procedure

7. Feedback to candidates

Following FPC1, all candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application by HR.  Where candidates have been unsuccessful feedback will be provided by the Dean together with the Head of School in a meeting.

Following FPC2, unsuccessful candidates will be notified by HR, and feedback provided by the Dean together with the Head of School in a meeting.  Successful candidates and those that have been referred to UPC will be notified by HR that their case is still under consideration.  Informal notification of FPC2 outcomes is not permitted at this stage.  This is to ensure that all successful candidates are notified at the same time.

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