Academic Promotion - Procedures

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Academic Promotion - Procedures

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Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible officer
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
First approved
26 June 2014
Last amended
25 May 2016
Effective start date
26 June 2014
Review date
26 June 2019
Status
Active
Related documents
Academic Promotion - Managerial Policy
Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Harassment - Governing Policy
Equity and Diversity - Governing Policy
Performance Planning and Review (PPR) - Managerial Policy
Probation - Managerial Policy
Staff Development - Managerial Policy
Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC) - Academic Policy

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

1. Purpose of procedures

These procedures outline the process for annual promotions rounds and make clear the requirements of Senior Officers of the University to ensure administrative responsibilities are fulfilled and policy principles are implemented effectively.

2. Call for Applications

2.1 On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Director, Human Resources calls for applications each year.

2.2 Human Resources coordinates an information session for prospective applicants, which is held soon after the call for applications, and ensures the Application Form and Guidelines for Applicants are available.

3. Advice to Prospective Applicants

3.1 Within ten working days of the call for applications:

a) Prospective applicants who are considering applying for promotion to Levels B and C advise their Head of School/Director of Research Centre by email of their intention to apply and provide a brief summary of their case for promotion.

b) Prospective applicants who are considering applying for promotion to Levels D and E advise their Executive Dean and Head of School/Director of Research Centre by email of their intention to apply and provide a brief summary of their case for promotion.

c) If the prospective applicant is a Head of School or a Director of a Research Centre, they advise their Executive Dean by email of their intention to apply and provide a brief summary of their case for promotion.

d) In all cases, the summary is to be no more than one page in length. The Head of School/Director of Research Centre or the Executive Dean will provide a response via email.

3.2 Within a further ten working days, the Head of School/Director of Research Centre and/or the Executive Dean meet/s with each prospective applicant to discuss their intention to apply and provide/s advice about the content and presentation of the summary of their case for promotion. This can include recommending not applying or postponing applying if the Head of School/Director of Research Centre and/or the Executive Dean deem/s it to be in the best interests of the prospective applicant because the case is not likely to substantiate the performance and achievement required for promotion.

4. Submission of Applications

4.1 Applications are submitted by email to the Executive Dean by 5.00 pm on the closing date, which is specified in the call for applications. Late applications will not be accepted.

4.2 The Executive Dean confirms that:

a) the applicant advised of their intention to apply in writing and provided a brief summary of their case for promotion within ten working days of the call for applications in accordance with Clause 3.1; and

b) the relevant Head of School/Director of Centre and/or the Executive Dean met with the applicant to discuss their intention to apply in accordance with Clause 3.2; and

c) to the best of their knowledge, the information provided in each application is true and correct at the time of submission.

4.3 If an application is received from an applicant who failed to advise of their intention to apply in accordance with Clause 3.1, the application is deemed ineligible for consideration and is not to be submitted to Human Resources for consideration by the relevant Promotions Committee.

4.4 If an Executive Dean is of the view that an application does not present a persuasive case and provide clear evidence of sustained academic performance and achievement at a higher level than that to which an applicant is currently appointed, the Executive Dean can counsel an applicant to withdraw their application.

a) An applicant can choose whether or not to heed the Executive Dean’s counsel.

b) If the applicant chooses to withdraw the application, they must advise the Executive Dean in writing before the date that complete applications are to be submitted to Human Resources.

4.5 Within ten working days of the close of applications, the Executive Dean submits by email to Human Resources (promotion@usc.edu.au):

a) Each complete application; and

b) For applications to Levels D and E, the name and contact details of at least one recommended independent external assessor with a brief statement of why the person has been recommended and an indication of their standing within the discipline/field.

4.6 Independent External Assessments

An independent assessor must be a full professor who is an expert within the applicant’s discipline/field. An assessor does not act as a referee, but as an eminent expert who is invited to offer a balanced and confidential assessment of the merits of the application and an indication of the applicant’s academic standing, impact and influence within their discipline/field.

5. Receipt of Applications by Human Resources

Human Resources acknowledges receipt of each application in writing to the applicant.

6. Information to Supplement Applications for Promotion

6.1 For applications to Levels D and E, Human Resources provides the details of recommended independent external assessors provided by the Executive Deans to the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) to seek confirmation of their suitability to provide such an assessment.

a) If a recommended assessor is not confirmed, Human Resources liaises with the Executive Dean and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) to identify an alternative independent external assessor.

6.2 Research Performance Data

a) For each application, Human Resources obtains from the Office of Research, a report of research works for the five most recent years of each applicant’s employment at the University. If an applicant has been employed by the University for less than five years, the report will cover the time from the applicant’s commencement at the University.

b) The report of research works includes information about each applicant’s publications, grants; consultancies; and Honours and Higher Degree by Research supervision and completions.

6.3 For each applicant, Human Resources provides a summary report of workload allocation and academic outputs which are available from various records and information systems used by the University. For example, this can include teaching allocation and research outputs.

6.4 References and Independent External Assessments

a) Within ten working days of the receipt of applications from the Executive Deans, Human Resources contacts each nominated referee to seek a confidential written reference.

b) Within five working days of confirmation of the suitability of independent external assessors, the relevant Executive Dean contacts each nominated assessor to seek their initial agreement to provide a confidential written assessment. Once the assessor agrees, Human Resources sends a formal written request to the assessor providing details of the requirements for an assessment.

7. Promotions Committees

7.1 The role of the Committees is to evaluate applications and determine whether or not each applicant has demonstrated sustained academic performance and achievement commensurate with the level to which they are applying to be promoted.

7.2 Two Committees are constituted to consider applications from eligible staff. When constituting the Committees, gender balance is taken in to consideration.

7.3 Academic Promotions Committee

The Academic Promotions Committee evaluates applications to Levels B and C and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and President via the Chair. The Academic Promotions Committee comprises:

  • The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (as Chair);
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
  • Executive Deans;
  • A Head of School from each Faculty nominated by the Chair.
7.4 Professorial Promotions Committee

The Professorial Promotions Committee evaluates applications to Levels D and E and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and President via the Chair. The Professorial Promotions Committee comprises:

  • Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (as Chair);
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) or other nominee agreed to by the Chair;
  • Executive Deans;
  • Two external Professors. Each Executive Dean can be asked to nominate a prospective external Professor to the Chair and provide information about the nominees standing in their discipline and the reasons for the nomination. The Chair can select and then invite prospective members to join the Committee.

7.5 The Chair can invite other suitably qualified people to join either Committee.

7.6 The Director, Human Resources allocates appropriate administrative support and procedural advice to both Committees.

7.7 Members of the relevant Promotions Committee are provided with:

a) The documentation provided by each applicant;

b) A copy of the letter/s provided to an applicant from any previous unsuccessful application/s to the level applied for;

c) A report of research works for each applicant – publications, grants, consultancies and Honours and HDR supervision - provided by the Office of Research;

d) A summary report of workload allocation and academic outputs for each applicant - provided by Human Resources;

e) Confidential written references from the referees nominated by the applicant;

f) For applications to Levels D and E, assessment/s from independent external assessors;

g) Any other relevant information.

7.8 A member of a Promotions Committee member cannot introduce new information to the process.

7.9 A member of a Promotions Committee cannot advocate for an applicant or have a conflict of interest due to the existence of any relationship with an applicant that may influence their evaluation of a promotion application.

7.10 Other than for feedback given by the Chair to an applicant, all documents and discussions relating to promotion applications are to be treated with the strictest confidence by all participants in and observers of the promotion process. Members of Promotions Committees and observers are not to discuss applications, advice, recommendations or deliberations outside Committee meetings.

7.11 The notes of meetings of the Promotions Committees are confidential and the only record of the Committees’ deliberations. A summary of the reasons for recommending or not recommending each applicant is recorded.

7.12 On behalf of each Promotions Committee, the Chair makes recommendations to promote to the Vice-Chancellor and President.

8. Evaluation of Applications

8.1 Members of the Promotions Committees evaluate applications to determine whether or not each applicant has demonstrated sustained performance and achievement commensurate with the level to which they are applying.

8.2 The academic performance and achievements of each applicant, as presented in the application, are to be evaluated in relation to the norms that prevail in the applicant’s particular discipline or field, and relative to opportunity.

8.3 The University’s wellbeing and reputation depends on a wide and varied range of academic contributions. Thus when considering a case for promotion, it is recognised that:

a) Academic staff work in a variety of disciplines that have differing expectations and norms;

b) Workload allocations for academic staff vary, particularly in relation to the proportion of time assigned to undertake teaching, research and engagement;

c) The focus of an academic staff member’s work and the balance between the three areas of performance can change throughout their career;

d) Staff have diverse responsibilities and varying opportunities to engage in the full range of academic activities and service to the University.

8.4 The notional allocation of time and effort affects achievement in the areas of performance. It is recognised that specialisation in one area of performance may occur, for example in teaching-focussed and research-focussed positions. Where this is the case, the expectation is that performance and achievement in the designated area/s of specialisation is/are significantly superior and is/are commensurate with the current level in the other area/s.

8.5 Clinical Teaching

a) Staff in clinical teaching positions and teaching-focussed appointments normally have less, if any, involvement in research. However, evidence of a scholarly approach to teaching is expected.

b) Clinical teaching emphasises experiential learning, the establishment of effective links between theory and practice and the development of a strong professional identity and exceptional clinical skills. Clinical teaching can occur in real world or simulated settings.

c) The University recognises that academic staff in clinical teaching and teaching-focussed positions should have equitable access to promotion. However, the expectation is that their performance and achievements in teaching will be significantly superior.

8.6 The University uses the Academic Position Classification Guidelines (PCGs), which are generic statements, to describe the broad categories of responsibilities of academic staff at different levels.

8.7 The work of academic staff is such that the levels of appointment share common tasks. The University has identified distinctions between academic levels in the activities, outcomes, quality, influence and impact of teaching, research and engagement. To clarify these distinctions, profiles of the levels have been developed to complement the PCGs.

9. Academic Levels

9.1 In order to evaluate applications objectively, fairly and rigorously, members of Promotions Committees need to be clear about the differences between the academic levels.

9.2 Profiles of the academic levels have been developed and are to be used by Promotions Committees to determine recommendations to promote.

9.3 Level B (Lecturer)

Generally, a Lecturer is an academic who can demonstrate competence in the area/s of performance and achievement relevant to their appointment and workload allocation.

a) Teaching

A Lecturer can demonstrate effectiveness as a teacher and sound independent contributions to delivering teaching, learning and graduate outcomes. They are taking advantage of opportunities to further develop academic practice, knowledge and skills in learning and teaching, leadership and administration, for example, by taking on roles such as Course Coordinator.

b) Research

A Lecturer has launched a research track record and is developing their research profile. They make substantial contributions to research projects; supervise honours students and candidates for higher degrees by research and play a part in successful grant applications. They can provide evidence of developing a track record of publishing in refereed journals and beginning to make productive connections with others in their discipline/field within and beyond the University.

c) Engagement

A Lecturer can demonstrate engagement within the University through: contributions to governance; coordination of and participation in Faculty/School capacity-building activities; and activities that contribute to the student experience, for example, through involvement in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that contribute to enhancing the student experience, for example, student recruitment, first year experience, and student engagement initiatives. External engagement can involve: developing productive industry and community links that benefit students, the community and/or the University; undertaking consultancies and applying discipline knowledge and skills that benefit external stakeholders and partners; and encouraging participation in University life through outreach activities.

9.4 Level C (Senior Lecturer)

Generally, a Senior Lecturer is a local leader who can demonstrate achievements that contribute substantially to the achievement of the Faculty’s and/or School’s strategic priorities.

a) Teaching

A Senior Lecturer makes significant contributions to the teaching effort of the Faculty/School through both teaching practice and leadership in teaching. For example, they can: take on full academic responsibility and related administration for the coordination of a large program or a cluster of programs; undertake and systematically address teaching and course evaluations and peer reviews to improve their teaching practice and course design; design and develop innovative curricula and teaching materials; and demonstrate the ability to influence, motivate and inspire both students and other academic staff. Additional outputs can include higher education research, including the scholarship of learning and teaching; and external and internal recognition for excellence in teaching and learning.

b) Research

A Senior Lecturer has a sound and established track record in research. The quality and impact of their research can be demonstrated by: the status and consistency of publications or exhibitions in their discipline/field; citation rates; and the value of their research for social, environmental, cultural and commercial benefit. They make substantial contributions to successful grant applications, especially for National Competitive Grants, and lead research projects. They can demonstrate quality supervision of candidates for Higher Degrees by Research and involvement in the development of their own discipline/field, which is recognised and acknowledged by peers.

c) Engagement

A Senior Lecturer makes active contributions to Faculty/School and University development, governance and capacity-building. External engagement can involve significant contributions to and outcomes from: developing productive industry and community links that benefit students, the community and the University; leading consultancies and applying discipline knowledge and skills that benefit external stakeholders and partners; and encouraging participation in University life through outreach activities.

9.5 Level D (Associate Professor)

Generally, the achievements of an Associate Professor are of national standing in at least one of the areas of performance. They often choose to specialise in an area of performance, but active participation in, and substantial levels of output from, research activity and/or the scholarship of teaching are expected at this Level. They make outstanding contributions to governance and academic life within and outside the University.

a) Teaching

As a leader in learning and teaching, an Associate Professor makes significant contributions to the teaching effort of the Faculty/School through both exemplary teaching practice and leadership in teaching. For example, they can: take on full academic responsibility, related administration for the coordination of a significant program or a cluster of programs; undertake and systematically address teaching and course evaluations to improve teaching practice and course design; ensure currency and relevance of School programs and develop new programs, including flagship programs; lead the design and development of innovative curricula and teaching materials; and demonstrate the ability to influence, motivate and inspire both students and other academic staff. Additional outputs can include: a consistent record of scholarship in learning and teaching (publications) that is nationally, and sometimes internationally, recognised and has demonstrable impact on learning and teaching in the discipline/field; and grants for teaching innovation (especially external competitive grants). An Associate Professor often provides scholarly leadership that is recognised externally through national learning and teaching awards and grants, invitations to serve on national panels and keynote addresses at national conferences on learning and teaching.

b) Research

An Associate Professor has a strong track record in research. They have had consistent success applying for external competitive grants, manage significant research projects and mentor other researchers. The quality and impact of their research can be demonstrated by: the status and consistency of publications or exhibitions with the expectation that publications would be in leading journals in the discipline/field; commercialisation and uptake of intellectual property; citation rates; and the value of their research for social, environmental, cultural and commercial benefit. They can demonstrate quality supervision of candidates for Higher Degrees by Research and mentoring of other supervisors.

An Associate Professor has attained national, and sometimes international, recognition in their discipline. They are expected to serve on national discipline panels (for example, ARC panels of experts and other assessment panels) and can demonstrate significant involvement in and impact on the development of their discipline/field nationally, and sometimes internationally, the outputs of which are recognised and acknowledged by peers as noteworthy.

c) Engagement

As a leader in engagement, an Associate Professor has a substantial record of developing and maintaining strategic and productive partnerships, connections and relationships with people, groups and organisations at local, national and international levels that result in significant outcomes for the University, the community and/or the region. These outcomes can be evidenced through standard academic outputs such as publications and grants and/or through recognition for academic excellence and impact from within and beyond the University. They lead and share opportunities for significant consultancies that apply discipline knowledge and skills for the benefit of external stakeholders and partners.

Within the University, an Associate Professor makes substantial contributions to Faculty/School and University development, governance and capacity-building. They make significant leadership contributions to the development of collegiate activities and a positive and productive academic culture. External engagement can involve significant contributions to and outcomes from: developing productive industry and community links that benefit students, the community and the University.

9.6 Level E (Professor)

Generally, a Professor can demonstrate established and continuing international expert status. They are recognized as an eminent authority in their discipline/field and their academic achievements are of national/international standing in at least one of the areas of performance. They often choose to specialise in an area of performance, but active participation in, and significant levels of output from, research activity and/or the scholarship of teaching are expected at this Level. A Professor makes significant leadership contributions to governance and academic life within the University and to scholarship, research and sometimes teaching within their discipline or field.

a) Teaching

As a leader in learning and teaching, a Professor has extensive experience as a senior academic and provides strategic leadership in key aspects of teaching and supporting learning. They make significant contributions to the teaching effort of the Faculty/School through both exemplary teaching practice and leadership in teaching. For example, they can: undertake high level management and administrative functions in learning and teaching; be responsible for strategic leadership and policy-making in learning and teaching; provide leadership and foster excellence in the design and development of innovative curricula and program development; demonstrate the ability to influence, and motivate and inspire both students and other academic staff. Additional outputs can include a consistent and substantial record of scholarship in learning and teaching (publications) that is nationally and internationally recognised and has demonstrable impact on learning and teaching in the discipline/field; and grants for teaching innovation (especially external competitive grants). A Professor often provides scholarly leadership that is recognised externally through national learning and teaching awards and grants, invitations to serve on national panels; and keynote addresses at international conferences on learning and teaching.

b) Research

A Professor has substantial involvement in the development of their discipline/field, both nationally and internationally, having made a clear and formative impact, which is recognised and acknowledged as significant by national and international leaders in the discipline/field.

They have a strong, systematic and sustained track record in research. They have had consistent success applying for external competitive grants, manage significant research projects and lead and mentor other researchers. The quality and impact of their research can be demonstrated by: the status and consistency of publications or exhibitions with the expectation that publications would be in leading journals in the discipline/field; commercialisation or the uptake of intellectual property; citation rates; and the value of their research for social, environmental, cultural and commercial benefit. They can demonstrate sustained and consistent quality supervision of candidates for higher degrees by research and mentoring of other supervisors.

c) Engagement

A Professor makes significant contributions to the development and standing of the University and/or regional development. Through leadership in engagement, a Professor is able to demonstrate sustained excellence that has resulted in major outcomes and high levels of recognition and prestige for the University and significant social, economic and cultural impact outside the University. For example, external engagement can involve significant contributions to and outcomes from developing and maintaining strategic and productive partnerships, connections and relationships with people, groups and organisations at local, national and international levels and serving on national panels (for example, ARC panels of experts and other assessment panels) and international panels.

Within the University, a Professor makes high level strategic contributions to Faculty/School and University development, governance and capacity-building. They make significant leadership contributions to the development of collegiate activities and foster academic and professional excellence at all levels.

10. Recommendations and Decisions to Promote

10.1 The Vice-Chancellor and President may seek advice or clarification from the Chair of the Promotions Committees on any recommendation to promote.

10.2 The Vice-Chancellor and President can approve or not approve any recommendation to promote.

10.3 The Vice-Chancellor and President’s decisions are final.

10.4 Each applicant is advised in writing by the Chair of the relevant Promotions Committee whether or not their application has been successful.

10.5 The Vice-Chancellor and President reports all promotions to Council.

10.6 After the promotion round is complete, the Vice-Chancellor and President announces promotions to the University community.

11. Feedback to Applicants

To assist with subsequent applications and future development, each unsuccessful applicant receives written feedback on their application and is invited to meet with the Chair of the relevant Promotions Committee and their PPR Supervisor to discuss their application and the written feedback.

12. Implementation

For successful applicants, promotion to the next level will apply from 1 January in the year following the call for applications.

END

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