Academic Promotion Procedure

1.    Introduction
2.   
Scope and eligibility
3.   
Criteria
        3.1  The criterion of excellence
        3.2  Criteria for Promotion to a Professorship
        3.3 
Criteria for Promotion to a Readership
        3.4  Criteria for Accelerated Progression
4.   
Procedure
        4.1  General points
        4.2  Applications for promotion
        4.3  Preparation of cases for consideration
        4.4  First Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC)
        4.5  Second Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC)
        4.6  University Promotions Committee (UPC)
5.   
Appeals

Appendix 1:  Timetable Summary
Appendix 2:  Promotion Committee Membership
Appendix 3:  Documentation summary


1.     Introduction

1.1  This document sets out the procedure for the consideration of eligible academic staff for promotion.

1.2  Academic promotion is based on the principle of peer-assessment.  In line with this, responsibility for decision-making within this procedure lies with committees comprising members of academic staff.    The procedure is supported, overseen and managed by Human Resources, who retain overall responsibility for its operation.

1.3  Consideration of equality issues in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy is critical to the effective operation of this procedure, which is designed to ensure consistency and fairness in decision-making, and as much transparency as is compatible with confidentiality.

1.4  The promotion procedure is an annual event, usually commencing in the Autumn term, with promotions taking effect from the following August.

2.     Scope and eligibility

2.1  This procedure covers promotion to profile level d2 (Reader) and profile level e (Professor) for all pathways in the Academic Career Pathway framework.

2.2  All academic staff on profile level c and above (all pathways) are eligible to apply for promotion at any level within their pathway if they believe they meet the criteria.

2.3  Staff are only eligible for promotion within their existing pathway.

2.4  Equal consideration will be given to applications from all eligible academic staff whether they are employed on a full time, part time, temporary or permanent basis.  Please refer to Guidance for Promotions Committees for specific guidance in relation to this.

2.5  Where staff are part of a job-share arrangement, each member of staff will be treated separately for promotion purposes.

2.6  This procedure also applies to all honorary appointments, where the holder is seeking a change of status.  Honorary Senior Lecturers, Senior Research Fellows and Senior Teaching Fellows may be promoted to Honorary Readers and Honorary Professors.

2.7  Exceptional cases of Accelerated Progression from staff on profile levels b or c to level d1 as follows will also be dealt with under this procedure:

        Profile Level d1
        Senior Lecturer (Pathway 1)
        Senior Research Fellow (Pathway 2)
        Senior Teaching Fellow (Pathway 3) 

Accelerated progression to profile level d1 is available in exceptional cases only, where individuals have demonstrated development in the role at a significantly faster rate than would normally be expected.  For further information, please refer to the Progression Procedure.

(Back to top)

3.    Criteria

3.1 The criterion of excellence

3.1.1     Candidates will be assessed against a criterion of excellence, where excellence is seen as performance that is qualitatively and decisively superior to satisfactory.

3.1.2     Assessment will be based on aspects of the role actually undertaken, with a requirement to demonstrate the relevant level of excellence for the role in question.  For all pathways, the case for overall excellence must be considered 'in the round', taking due account of teaching, research and academic leadership and citizenship. 

3.1.3     All candidates must demonstrate, as part of the criterion of excellence, relevant academic leadership appropriate to the role in question, whether in research, in teaching, by way of leadership in management or in leadership of the discipline in roles outside the University, or in a combination of these.   Where that leadership has been in the form of a substantial and excellent contribution to leadership by way of management, such a contribution may (but will not necessarily) compensate for a related reduction in quantity (but never in quality) of research outputs or amount of teaching undertaken.

3.1.4     Administrative duties will be considered by committees in the context of research and its related administration, and/or teaching and its related administration; but management and leadership roles (such as acting as Dean, Head of School, Faculty Education and Research Directors) will be considered under the heading of academic leadership

3.1.5     An expectation of ‘ good citizenship’ is a relevant factor within the criterion of excellence in the role, primarily in the sense that there will be a negative impact for anyone who is regarded as a ‘bad citizen’. ’Good citizenship’ is defined as “a willingness to be involved in all those aspects of school, Faculty or University life normally expected as a matter of course from academic staff”.  It should be noted that excellent citizenship will not be a compensatory factor where academic performance does not meet the minimum required standard.

3.1.6     Committees will take account of all the elements of the role actually undertaken by the individual in relation to the relevant pathway.  Where the individual has recently switched pathways, their contribution should be considered against the criteria of their current pathway, with evidence drawn from across their academic career.  If any substantial element of the job is being performed unsatisfactorily (after due consideration of any relevant equal opportunity issues), then that fact will prevent promotion even if some excellence in other aspects of the performance of the role can be demonstrated.

3.1.7     In addition to determining excellent performance in the relevant area(s), committees must be satisfied that the role-holder meets the relevant role profile.  Where the committee cannot so satisfy itself, the individual cannot be recommended for promotion.  

3.1.8     For further information, please refer to the following guidance:   Defining Excellence:  Guidance on the application of the Promotion Criteria.  

3.1.9    Members of staff on Pathways 1 or 3, at Lecturer and equivalent, seeking promotion to Reader or Professor will not be able to apply for promotion without having at least successfully completed level 1 standard route of CREATE (or equivalent) and be enrolled on level 2 (or must have gained Recognition of Prior Qualification via the Academic Staff Development team).

3.1.10 Members of staff appointed to Senior Lecturer and equivalent after 1st August 2013 on Pathways 1 or 3, are required to successfully complete Level 2 experienced route of CREATE, or have completed the PGCert TLHP, or to have gained Recognition of Prior Qualification via the Academic Staff Development team.

 

(Back to top)

3.2         Criteria for Promotion to a Professorship (Profile Level e)

3.2.1     For promotion to a Personal Professorship on pathway 1 or 2, the research achievement should be measured by standards of national and international comparison.  Teaching achievement should be measured by standards of at least national comparison.

3.2.2     For promotion to a Personal Professorship on pathway 3, the teaching and learning achievement should be measured by standards of national and (where possible) international comparison, though it is recognised that it will not always be easy to identify international comparators.

3.3         Criteria for Promotion to a Readership (Profile Level d2)

3.3.1     The key criterion that must be satisfied for promotion to a Readership, on all pathways, is that the individual is ‘on track’ for promotion to the professorial role in that pathway.  In other words, the professorial role profiles drive promotion to Reader.  A Reader is someone who has not yet achieved that professorial role profile but is clearly progressing to it and is recognised by national or international standards to meet the status of Reader (or equivalent).

3.3.2     A Reader on pathway 1 or 2 will be required to demonstrate a high level of excellence in research, usually with an international profile with evidence of an on-going, upwards trajectory.  The quality of teaching and academic leadership will also be taken into account

3.3.3     A Reader on pathway 3 will be required to demonstrate a high level of excellence in Teaching and Learning, usually with a national profile and with evidence of an on-going, upwards trajectory in teaching and learning, with increasing achievement of the criteria expected of a Professor.  The quality of research and academic leadership will also be taken into account.

3.4         Criteria for Accelerated Progression to Profile Level d1

3.4.1     Unlike cases of normal progression (where the criteria are based on the individual satisfactorily meeting their existing role profile requirements and showing a readiness to move to the next level), cases for accelerated progression need to demonstrate that the individual is already demonstrating the competencies commensurate with Profile Level d1 for the relevant pathway.  

3.4.2     The 'burden of proof' is on the person seeking accelerated progression.   Committees must be satisfied that the case for accelerated progression has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt (in normal progression cases, the burden of proof to deny progression rests on the School/Faculty).

3.4.3    Members of staff on Pathways 1 or 3, at Lecturer and equivalent, seeking accelerated progression to Senior Lecturer and equivalent will not be able to apply for accelerated progression without having at least successfully completed level 1 standard route of CREATE (or equivalent) and be enrolled on level 2 (or must have gained Recognition of Prior Qualification via the Academic Staff Development team).

 

(Back to top)

4.          Procedure

4.1       General Points

4.1.1      Promotion is based on the written evidence, submitted as reviewed by senior academics.  The importance of the quality of the submissions therefore cannot be overemphasised.

4.1.2      In order to achieve a timely and smooth operation of this procedure, compliance with deadlines is essential and will be enforced at all stages.  Only in exceptional circumstances will variation be accepted.

4.1.3      Consideration of equality issues in line with the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy is critical to the effective operation of this procedure. Please refer to Guidance for Promotions Committees for specific guidance in relation to this.

4.1.4      Promotion is determined on merit and there are no quotas for the number of promotions to be made.

4.2       Applications for promotion

4.2.1     The annual procedure is initiated by Human Resources reminding all eligible staff of the opportunity to be considered for promotion and advising them to submit a case if they believe they meet the relevant criteria.

4.2.2     Cases should be submitted to the relevant Head of School by the specified deadline.

4.2.3      Cases should consist of a CV and an Application for Promotion Covering Form (Office document, 87kB) containing a personal statement and an opportunity to declare equality factors that have adversely influenced your case. CVs should be no longer than 16 A4 sides. Personal statments should be no longer than two sides of A4, excluding section headers, using font size 12. Please refer to CV Guidance for further information on how to set out these documents.

4.3       Preparation of cases for consideration

4.3.1     Once cases have been submitted, it is the responsibility of the Head of School (or another senior member of the School delegated by the Head of School) to review cases and provide feedback and advice to candidates on their presentation.  Where appropriate, candidates may be given an opportunity to amend their cases before they are submitted to the first meeting of the Faculty Promotions Committee. It is recommended that Schools encourage early submission of cases to enable changes to be made to applications and CVs before the applicant deadline.

4.3.2     As soon as cases are submitted, the Head of School should prepare a Head of School Report for each candidate, for submission to the first meeting of the Faculty Promotions Committee.

4.3.3     Where the subject area is such that it is not immediately obvious to which faculty’s FPC a case should be sent, the Head of School should make a recommendation to the first FPC of the faculty in which the person is based, following consultation with the candidate, and ensure that multi disciplinary cases are flagged using the tick box on the Head of School report.

4.4       First Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC)

4.4.1     The first Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC) should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2

4.4.2     The role of the first FPC is to review all cases on the basis of the CV, personal statement and the Head of School report and to determine whether there is a prima facie case for accelerated progression or for promotion, and to confirm the level for which they believe a prima facie case exists.   

 4.4.3     Following the first FPC, Human Resources will confirm to all candidates whether their cases are being taken to the second FPC and whether this is at the level sought by the candidate.   Feedback will be provided to unsuccessful candidates by the Dean/Head of School.

 4.4.4     Where a prima facie case is deemed to exist, further reports will be commissioned as detailed in Appendix 3 and the case will be put forward to the second FPC. 

 4.4.5     Where a prima facie case is not deemed to exist, cases will not be considered further, although candidates may exercise their right to appeal (See paragraph 5.1).  Unsuccessful candidates must be given feedback by the Dean/Head of School as soon as possible.  It is particularly important that such feedback takes places promptly to enable the consideration of any subsequent appeals to take place, and where appropriate, further reports obtained, prior to the second FPC. 

4.4.6     The first FPC may also seek clarification about the contents of an application where necessary, giving candidates an opportunity to amend their CV and personal statement as appropriate before consideration by the second FPC.   Once submitted to the second FPC, these then become the formal documentation upon which final decisions will be based.

4.5       Second Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC)

4.5.1     The second Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC) should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2.

4.5.2     The role of the second FPC is to review all cases on the basis of the CV, personal statement and all written reports and, where possible, to make final decisions regarding promotion (and accelerated progression).  However, where deemed appropriate by the Chair, cases may be referred to University Promotions Committee to review and make final decisions.  Because of FPCs’ limited experience of considering such cases, all cases for promotion to Professorial or Reader Level on Pathway 3 should be referred to the University Promotions Committee.

4.5.3     The second FPC may award promotion to a different level to which the candidate has applied where it considers it appropriate to do so.  For example, it may award the title of Reader to a candidate who has applied for a Personal Professorship, and vice versa, where it considers that the candidate has clearly met the appropriate standard.  It may also award accelerated progression to a Senior Lectureship/Senior Research Fellowship/Senior Teaching Fellowship in cases where the candidate has applied for promotion (e.g. to Reader or Professor) if this is deemed appropriate.

4.5.4     Following the second FPC, Human Resources will confirm outcomes to all unsuccessful candidates in writing.   Feedback will be provided to unsuccessful candidates by the Dean.  All other candidates will be notified that their case is still under consideration and formal notification of outcomes will be issued following University Promotions Committee (UPC).

4.5.5     Where necessary, cases will be referred to the University Promotions Committee for final decision.

4.5.6     Unsuccessful candidates may exercise their right to appeal (See paragraph 5.2).  It is particularly important that feedback takes places promptly to enable the consideration of any subsequent appeals to take place prior to the University Promotions Committee. 

4.6       University Promotions Committee (UPC)

4.6.1     The University Promotions Committee (UPC) should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2.

4.6.2     The role of the UPC is to review all cases referred to them by the second FPC on the basis of the CV, personal statement and all written reports and to make final decisions regarding promotion (and accelerated progression). 

4.6.3     The UPC may award promotion to a different level to which the candidate has applied where it considers it appropriate to do so.  For example, it may award the title of Reader to a candidate who has applied for a Personal Professorship, and vice versa, where it considers that the candidate has clearly met the appropriate standard.  It may also award accelerated progression to a Senior Lectureship/Senior Research Fellowship/Senior Teaching Fellowship in cases where the candidate has applied for promotion (e.g. to Reader or Professor) if this is deemed appropriate.

4.6.4     Following the UPC, Human Resources will confirm final outcomes to all candidates in writing, with details of how to book a feedback meeting with their Dean. Feedback will be provided for all successful and unsuccessful candidates by the Dean.

4.6.5     Unsuccessful candidates may exercise their right to appeal (See paragraph 5.3).

4.6.6     Following the UPC, the outcomes of the annual promotion procedure are reported to Senate. 

(Back to top)

5.    Appeals

5.1         Appeals against decisions of the first FPC should be submitted to the Pro Vice-Chancellor responsible for the Faculty.  Appeals should be submitted within 20 working days of the date of the letter formally confirming the outcome, and should clearly set out the grounds on which the appeal is based.  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will not attempt to re-assess the candidate, nor to appraise the professional judgement of the members of the first FPC, but   will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will decide either to allow the appeal and permit the application for promotion  to proceed to the second FPC and request that further reports be sought (if appropriate), or to dismiss the appeal. In either case the decision of the Pro Vice-Chancellor will be sent to the candidate and is final.

5.2         Appeals against decisions of the second FPC should be submitted to a Pro Vice-Chancellor who is not responsible for the Faculty.  Appeals should be submitted within 20 working days of the date of the letter formally confirming the outcome, and should clearly set out the grounds on which the appeal is based. The Pro Vice-Chancellor will not attempt to re-assess the candidate, nor to appraise the professional judgement of the assessors or the members of the second FPC, but will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will decide either:

    (i)     to allow the appeal in which case they will forward the appropriate documentation so that the member of staff may be considered for promotion at that year’s meeting of the UPC; or

    (ii)    to dismiss the appeal.

In either case the decision of the Pro Vice-Chancellor will be sent to the candidate and is final.  

5.3          Appeals against decisions of the UPC should be submitted to the Human Resources Director.  Appeals should be submitted within 20 working days of the date of the letter formally confirming the outcome, and should clearly set out the grounds on which the appeal is based.  The case will be reviewed by an independent member of the professorial staff appointed by the Vice-Chancellor who will report their conclusions to the Vice-Chancellor.  The person conducting the review will not attempt to re-assess the candidate, nor to appraise the professional judgement of the assessors or the members of the UPC, but will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.   The Vice-Chancellor will decide whether the appeal should be upheld or dismissed. In either case the Vice-Chancellor’s decision will be sent to the candidate and is final.

5.4     Council has prescribed these procedures for appeals under the academic procedure and there is no further right of appeal or complaint in respect of any decision made under any of the appeal procedures set out in this paragraph 5.

5.5          Appeals will normally be notified to the individual’s Head of School, the Dean, the PVC who chaired the FPC and any other relevant party by a member of Human Resources. The person  considering the appeal  must consult with all relevant parties before they determine the outcome of the appeal.  The outcome of the appeal will be communicated to all relevant parties.

5.6         In this procedure references to University postholders shall refer to that postholder or any member of staff nominated by them to act with full authority on their behalf.

 

(Back to top)