Academic Promotion - Operational Policy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Academic Promotion - Operational Policy

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Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
First approved
13 June 2000
Last amended
16 June 2021
Review date
15 May 2024
Related documents
Linked documents
Related legislation / standards
  • USC Enterprise Agreement

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 This policy is intended to demonstrate the University’s commitment to academic excellence by setting out the principles for recognising and rewarding sustained academic performance and achievement through promotion.

2. Policy scope and application

2.1 This policy applies to full-time and fractional academic staff.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Academic Staff are appointed in accordance with the University’s Enterprise Agreement to positions which reflect the operational requirements and core areas of responsibility which include teaching, research and engagement.

Achievement Relative to Opportunity relates to assessing achievements with consideration of the overall work time that has been available to the staff member based on their personal circumstances, which could include caring responsibility, disability, part-time work arrangements, periods of leave, etc. Achievement relative to opportunity is a positive acknowledgement of what a staff member has achieved given the opportunities available.

Engagement comprises two elements – external engagement and engagement within the University. External engagement is a scholarly practice through which academic staff apply their knowledge and skills, working with our communities to address key issues, effect positive change, and contribute to the public good. Through external engagement, worthwhile social, civic and professional functions are performed. Engagement within the University enables staff to contribute to defining and achieving the University’s strategic priorities and values.

Merit refers to the relationship between a person’s qualities (knowledge, skills, abilities and experience) and those qualities required for the performance in a particular position.

Promotion is defined as advancement to the next higher classification level.

Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and the use of existing knowledge in new and creative ways so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This can include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative research outcomes. An essential characteristic of research activity is that it leads to publicly verifiable outcomes that are open to peer appraisal. Research is also characterised by originality; it has investigation or creation as a primary objective; and has the potential to produce results that increase humanity’s stock of theoretical, creative or practical knowledge.

Teaching is defined as a transformational process that results in learning. To be effective, teaching requires mastery of both content and pedagogy; it motivates and engages learners and develops their capacity to continue learning throughout their lives; and enables students to graduate with appropriate knowledge, skills and attributes that enables their productive participation in contemporary society.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 Purposes of Academic Promotion

4.1.1 The University aims to be recognised, nationally and internationally, for excellence in teaching, research and engagement. To achieve such excellence, it is essential that the performance and achievements of the University’s academic staff are of high quality. To attract, develop, motivate and retain high quality staff, it is important to recognise and reward their academic performance and achievements. Promotion is a very significant way of recognising and rewarding sustained academic excellence.

4.1.2 Access to promotion also:

(a) provides a positive framework within which academic staff can systematically reflect on their careers and development and achieve their professional aspirations;

(b) ensures all academic staff are clear about what the University values in relation to academic work and the standards of performance expected at each classification level;

(c) encourages alignment between the work of individual academic staff and University and work area priorities;

(d) ensures that performance and other achievements, developed in accordance with the Academic Performance Standards and through discussions with staff, and articulated through the Performance, Planning and Review (PPR) process, are recognised, rewarded and contribute to the achievement of the University’s strategic priorities.

5. Principles

5.1 Principles of Academic Promotion

5.1.1 The University commits to a fair and consistent academic promotion process based on the principles of equal opportunity, merit-based determinations and assessment of achievement relative to opportunity.

5.1.2 There is a call for applications for promotion each year.

5.1.3 Academic staff can be promoted from Levels A to B (Associate Lecturer to Lecturer), B to C (Lecturer to Senior Lecturer), C to D (Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor), and D to E (Associate Professor to Professor).

5.1.4 There are three areas of performance and achievement in academic work – teaching, research, and engagement, and each area is reviewed in light of the percentage agreed work allocation.

5.2 Merit

5.2.1 To be promoted, an applicant must demonstrate sustained academic performance and achievement at the University, commensurate with the level to which they are applying to be promoted as set out in the Academic Performance Standards. Promotion is recognition that a staff member is consistently performing and achieving at a higher level than that to which they are currently appointed in at least two of the work allocations where appropriate and at a satisfactory level for a third area.

5.2.2 For an application to Level E (Professor), the quality and impact of an applicant’s academic work throughout their career are considered, however, significant contributions to the development and standing of the University must also be evident.

5.3 Eligibility

5.3.1 To be eligible to apply for promotion, an academic staff member has:

(a) a full-time or fractional appointment; and

(b) been employed by the University in an academic position continuously from March in the year prior to application; and

(d) completed all available mandatory training such as HSW training and Emergency Preparedness training, by the date of the submission of applications.

5.3.2 An academic staff member who has previously applied unsuccessfully for promotion is not eligible to apply until the re-application date specified by the Promotion Committee.

6. Authorities/Responsibilities

6.1 The following authorities are delegated under this policy and associated procedures:


University Officer

Call for applications for promotion.

Director, People and Culture

Make recommendations to promote to Levels B and C on behalf of the Academic Promotions Committee, to the Vice-Chancellor and President.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Approve or not approve recommendations to promote to Levels B to E.

Vice-Chancellor and President