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. Preparing for a Promotion Application
2.1 Human Resources may coordinate an information session for prospective applicants, which is held around the time of the call for applications and ensures the Application Form and Guidelines for Applicants are available.
2.2 There is no set formula for success in promotion. Committees judge each application on its merits, weighing up the mix of achievements and evidence each applicant puts forward and the coherent case each applicant makes based on this evidence.
2.3 The time-frame that will be considered in promotion applications is either:
- the last five years;
- or if employed for less than five years, since commencing at USC;
- or since last promotion if promotion occurred within the last five years.
The exceptions to this are:
- for Level E, the entire career is considered.
- for staff that were previously employed by USQ or QUT that became USC employees through a Transfer of Business, the performance and achievements prior to the transfer will be recognised, up to five years.
3. Call for Applications
3.1 On behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Director, Human Resources calls for applications each year.
3.2 Within ten working days of the call for applications:
(a) Prospective applicants who are considering applying for promotion to Level B, C, D or E advise their Cost Centre Manager by email of their intention to apply. For Level B, the intention to apply email should include a brief summary of the case for promotion. For Levels C, D or E, the intention to apply email should include a completed summary sheet (the first two pages of the Academic Promotion Application Form).
(b) If the prospective applicant is a Head of School, they advise the Dean, Academic and if they are a Director of a USC Research Centre/Institute, they advise the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), by email, of their intention to apply and provide a completed summary sheet (the first two pages of the Academic Promotion Application Form).
(c) The Cost Centre Manager will provide a response via email within five days of receipt.
3.3 Within a further ten working days, the Cost Centre Manager speaks with each prospective applicant to discuss their intention to apply and provides advice about the content of the summary of their case for promotion. This can include recommending not applying or postponing applying if the Cost Centre Manager deems 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.
4.1 Applications to Level B
Applications to Level B should comprise:
- A summary of the case for promotion, to be no more than one page in length; and
- Performance Planning and Review (PPR) documentation including Curriculum Vitae (CV to be no more than ten pages).
- A summary statement regarding a relative to opportunity consideration, if applicable.
4.2 Applications to Level C, D, or E
Applications to Levels C to E must be on the official Academic Promotion Application Form.
5. Submission of Applications
5.1 Applications are submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5.00 pm on the closing date, which is specified in the call for applications. Late applications will not be accepted.
5.2 The Cost Centre Manager confirms that:
(a) the applicant advised of their intention to apply in writing within ten working days of the call for applications; and
(b) the relevant Cost Centre Manager met with the applicant to discuss their intention to apply; and
(c) to the best of their knowledge, the information provided in each application is true and correct at the time of submission; and
(d) The Cost Centre Manager provides a confidential written submission called an Internal Assessment, of no more than 150 words to cover the above and other comments on the application; and
(e) a Cost Centre Manager may not act as a referee for an applicant within their work area.
5.3 If an application is received from an applicant who failed to advise of their intention to apply, the application is deemed ineligible for consideration and is not to be submitted to Human Resources for consideration by the relevant Promotions Committee.
5.4 If the Cost Centre Manager 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 Cost Centre Manager can counsel an applicant to withdraw their application. An applicant can choose whether or not to heed the counsel.
5.5 The Cost Centre Manager will have ten working days from the closing date to submit by email to Human Resources (email@example.com) the following:
(a) Completed corresponding signature section in Part Two, Section 4 of the application form; and
(b) A completed Internal Assessment; and
(c) 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 chosen and an indication of their standing within the discipline/field.
5.6 Independent External Assessments
An independent assessor must be a full professor who is an internationally recognised 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.
6. Receipt of Applications by Human Resources
Human Resources acknowledges receipt of each application in writing to the applicant.
7. Information to Supplement Applications for Promotion
7.1 For applications to Levels D and E, Human Resources provides the details of recommended independent external assessors provided by the Cost Centre Manager to the Chair of the Promotions Committee to seek confirmation of their suitability to provide such an assessment.
(a) If a recommended assessor is not confirmed, Human Resources liaises with the Cost Centre Manager to identify an alternative independent external assessor.
(b) Within five working days of confirmation of the suitability of independent external assessors, Human Resources contacts each nominated assessor to seek a confidential written assessment.
7.2 Research Performance Data
(a) For each application to Level C, D and E, Human Resources obtains a research report from the Office of Research and the committee members access applicant’s individual research data online.
(b) The research data and report include information about each applicant’s publications, grants and Higher Degree by Research supervisions and completions at USC.
(c) Research data will not be sought for applications to Level B.
(d) Applicants to Level E need to provide their own information of income supervision and publication from previous positions at other institutions. This must be provided in the CV and referred to in the application. It is important that applicants distinguish the income they received from externally funded grants and also whether a higher degree student was supervised by the applicant as a co-supervisor or primary supervisor.
Applicants are responsible for distributing their complete applications to their nominated referees along with the last page of the Promotion Application Form which contains information for referees and the Performance Extract (available on MyUSC) regarding detailed performance information for the level to which the applicant is applying. The referee will then send on, as directed in the application form, their confidential written reference directly to Human Resources by the due date.
For applications to Level C and to Level D; 2 or more referees must be external to USC (i.e. only one internal referee is permissible for applications to these levels). For Applications to Level E; all three referees must be external to USC.
8. Supervisor Role
8.1 The supervisor plays a key role in all stages of an applicant's promotion, particularly in assisting and advising applicants in the preparation of their application.
8.2 An applicant’s supervisor, in consultation with the supervisor’s direct line manager when required, will play a strong role in providing advice and comment on the quality of the application and whether the application builds a compelling case for promotion. The supervisor should use the summary section of the promotion application form to assist in assessing the strength of the case for promotion and for guiding discussions with the applicant.
8.3 The supervisor will be involved in the provision of feedback to both successful and unsuccessful applicants and in assisting unsuccessful applicants to implement any actions from the feedback and planning for professional development.
9. Promotions Committees
9.1 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.
9.2 Two Committees are constituted to consider applications from eligible staff. When constituting the Committees, gender and diversity balance is taken into consideration.
9.3 Academic Promotions Committee
The Academic Promotions Committee evaluates applications to Level B and Level C and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and President via the Chair. The Academic Promotions Committee comprises:
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic (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;
- Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
- At least two Heads of School/Directors nominated by the Chair.
9.4 Professorial Promotions Committee
The Professorial Promotions Committee evaluates applications to Levels D and E. The Professorial Promotions Committee comprises:
- Vice-Chancellor and President or nominee (as Chair);
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
- Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
- Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) or nominee agreed to by the Chair;
- Two external Professors. The Chair can select and invite prospective external Professors to join the Committee.
9.5 The Chair can invite other suitably qualified people to join either Committee.
9.6 The Director, Human Resources allocates appropriate administrative support and procedural advice to both Committees.
9.7 Members of the relevant Promotions Committee are provided with:
(a) The documentation provided by each applicant;
(b) A report of research works for each applicant to Level C, D and E provided by the Office of Research;
(c) Access to each applicant’s research data via the online Researcher Performance Report;
(d) Confidential written references for applicants to Level C, D and E from the referees nominated by the applicant;
(e) For applications to Levels D and E, assessment from independent external assessors;
(f) Any other relevant information.
9.8 A member of a Promotions Committee cannot introduce new information to the process.
9.9 Any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest of a committee member in relation to an applicant must be declared to the Chair of the committee at the beginning of the committee meeting. The Chair of the committee will decide if any action is necessary. Action may include exclusion of the member from the meeting during consideration of that application, or it may be determined that the committee member can participate but they cannot advocate for an applicant.
9.10 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.
9.11 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.
10. Evaluation of Applications
10.1 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.
10.2 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.
10.3 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.
10.4 It is recognised that specialisation in one area of activity may occur. Where this is the case, the expectation is that there will be emphasis on the designated area/s of specialisation, however, evidence of accomplishment in the other areas where workload has been allocated over the period considered for application would still be expected. For example, a 20- 40% work allocation in an area of activity represents a significant investment of time and therefore the application should reflect that significance.
10.5 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.
10.6 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.
11. Profiles of Academic Levels
11.1 In order to evaluate applications objectively, fairly and rigorously, members of Promotions Committees need to be clear about the differences between the academic levels. Profiles of the academic levels have been developed and are to be used by Promotions Committees to determine recommendations to promote.
11.2 Level B (Lecturer)
Generally, a Lecturer is contributing locally and will have a growing profile.
A Lecturer can demonstrate effectiveness as a teacher and sound 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.
A Lecturer has launched a research track record and is developing their research profile. They make substantial contributions to research projects; may supervise honours or masters students and play a part in successful grant applications. They can provide evidence of developing a track record of publishing in refereed journals or creative outputs and beginning to make productive connections with others within and beyond the University.
A Lecturer can demonstrate engagement through developing productive industry and community links that benefit students, the community and/or the University; applying knowledge and skills that benefit external stakeholders and partners; and encouraging participation in University life through outreach activities. Internal engagement can include: contributions to governance; coordination of and participation in 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.
11.3 Level C (Senior Lecturer)
A Senior Lecturer makes significant contributions to the teaching effort 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.
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 creative outputs; 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 to successful completion and involvement in the development of their own discipline/field, which is recognised and acknowledged by peers.
A Senior Lecturer can demonstrate external engagement through significant contributions to and outcomes from: developing productive industry and community links that benefit students, the community and the University; applying knowledge and skills that benefit external stakeholders and partners; and encouraging participation in University life through outreach activities. Internal engagement involves making active contributions to University development, governance and capacity-building.
11.4 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 and engagement are expected at this Level. They make significant contributions to governance and academic life within and outside the University.
As a leader in learning and teaching, an Associate Professor makes significant contributions to the teaching effort 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 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; and external competitive grants for teaching innovation. An Associate Professor often provides scholarly leadership that is recognised externally through national learning and teaching awards, fellowships and grants, invitations to serve on national panels and sustained evidence of keynote addresses at national conferences on learning and teaching.
An Associate Professor has a strong track record in research. They have had consistent success in gaining external competitive grants, manage significant research projects and can provide evidence of mentoring other researchers. The quality and impact of their research can be demonstrated by: the sustained status and consistency of publications or creative outputs with the expectation that publications would be in leading journals; 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 principal supervision of candidates for Higher Degrees by Research to successful completion and mentoring of other supervisors.
An Associate Professor has attained national, and sometimes international, recognition. They are expected to serve on national 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.
As a leader in engagement, an Associate Professor has a substantial and sustained record of developing and maintaining strategic and productive partnerships, connections and relationships with people, groups, industry, communities and organisations at local, national and international levels that result in significant outcomes and benefits for students, the University, the community and/or the region. These outcomes should be related to and be synergistic with the expertise in teaching, scholarship or research of the individual and 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 apply knowledge and skills for the benefit of external stakeholders and partners.
Within the University, an Associate Professor makes substantial contributions to University development, governance and capacity-building. They make significant and sustained leadership contributions to the development of collegiate activities and a positive and productive academic culture.
11.5 Level E (Professor)
Generally, a Professor can demonstrate established and continuing international expert status. They are recognized as an eminent authority 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 and engagement 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. A professor should be able to evidence a strong track record in mentoring and sponsorship of other staff.
As a leader in learning and teaching, a Professor has extensive experience as a senior academic and provides sustained strategic leadership in key aspects of teaching and supporting learning. They make significant contributions to the teaching effort 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, 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; and grants for teaching innovation (especially external competitive grants) to the benefit of the institution. 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 holds a sustained record of invited keynote addresses at international conferences on learning and teaching.
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.
They have a strong, systematic and sustained track record in research. They have had consistent success in attracting external competitive grants and income, manage significant research projects and lead, mentor and sponsor other researchers. The quality and impact of their research can be demonstrated by: the status and consistency of publications or creative outputs with the expectation that publications would be in leading journals; 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 to successful completion and mentoring of other supervisors.
Through leadership in engagement, a Professor is able to demonstrate sustained excellence that has resulted in major sustained social, economic and cultural impact outside the University and high levels of recognition and prestige for 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, industry, communities 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 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.
12. Recommendations and Decisions to Promote
12.1 On behalf of the Academic Promotions Committee, the Chair makes recommendations to promote to the Vice-Chancellor and President.
12.2 The Vice-Chancellor and President may seek advice or clarification from the Chair of the Academic Promotions Committee on any recommendation.
12.3 The Vice-Chancellor and President can approve or not approve any recommendation to promote.
12.4 The Vice-Chancellor and President’s decisions are final.
12.5 Each applicant is advised in writing by the Chair of the Promotions Committee whether or not their application has been successful. Feedback will be given verbally if requested by the applicant (see below).
12.6 The Vice-Chancellor and President reports all promotions to Council.
12.7 After the promotion round is complete, the Vice-Chancellor and President announces promotions to the University community.
13. Unsuccessful Applications
13.1 Re-application Timeframe
When an application is deemed unsuccessful, the Promotion Committee will specify the timeframe before the applicant can apply again, up to a maximum of three years. The re-application timeframe (i.e. one year, two years or three years) will be advised to the unsuccessful applicant.
13.2 Feedback to Applicants
To assist with subsequent applications and future development, each unsuccessful applicant may request feedback on their application and this is given by meeting with the Chair of the Promotions Committee, the Dean, Academic and their Cost Centre Manager to discuss their application.
For successful applicants, promotion to the next level will apply from the start of the first full pay period in the year following the call for applications.