Human Resources

Academic staff promotion policy

Further information

Academic staff promotion procedures

This policy covers all aspects of academic staff promotion, including eligibility, assessment, fast-tracking and review.

  1. Eligibility requirements
  2. Role and responsibility of the Academic Promotions Committee and the Vice-Chancellor in the promotions procedure
  3. Assessment of applications
  4. Effective date of promotion
  5. Accelerated promotion
  6. Fast track promotion
  7. Policy for the review of recommendations of the Academic Promotions Committee

1. Eligibility requirements

All academic staff, other than those on casual appointments, are eligible to apply for academic promotion

Normally a minimum employment period of two years is expected. It is possible, however, to apply for promotion within two years of the initial appointment. In these cases the applicant and/or Head of School may wish to first discuss the special circumstances to justify the applicant's case with the Chair of the Academic Promotions Committee.

When assessing an application the Academic Promotions Committee will take account of an applicant’s entire body of work, with a particular focus on their achievements since their last promotion.

Fractional appointments

Where applicants seeking promotion have fractional appointments, the University expects the same level and quality of achievements and recognition as full-time academic staff. In terms of the quantity of output, such as teaching load, research publications and service, the expectation is of at least pro-rata output consistent with the level of achievement required for promotion.

The Academic Promotions Committee will give due consideration to matters such as fractional or joint appointments and interrupted careers (perhaps due to caring responsibilities or illness) and differing opportunities for research output, by comparing rates of achievement rather than total aggregates. Applicants must advise the Committee of these circumstances.

Applicants should normally hold a position at one level lower than the position sought.

Prior to submitting an application for promotion, it is expected that the applicant will have discussed the matter with the Head of School and perhaps also with the Dean of the Faculty.

A Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA) will need to be completed within the twelve months prior to lodging a promotion application. This will determine if the applicant’s performance is at a sufficient level to warrant consideration for promotion.

Generally this review would require a minimum rating of 'meets or exceeds the University's high expectations' to proceed with the promotion application.

Applications received without an indication that a PDA has taken place will not be accepted.

Promotion to Professor (Level E) or Senior Principal Research Fellow

Any member of academic staff may apply for promotion to Professor (Level E) or Senior Principal Research Fellow providing that requirements outlined above for All academic staff, other than those on casual appointments, are eligible to apply for academic promotion. Alternatively, a member of academic staff may consider applying for promotion to Professorial Fellow. This position may be appropriate for academic staff whose contributions are primarily in research or teaching and learning rather than in all three areas of teaching, research and service. All applicants to Professorial Level D and Level E will need to demonstrate contributions in the area of service.

Applicants to Level E will be required to provide a Vision Statement with their Academic Portfolio for Promotion.

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2. Role and responsibility of the Academic Promotions Committee and the Vice-Chancellor in the promotions procedure

It is the role of the Academic Promotions Committee to assess all applications for promotion and to provide the Vice-Chancellor with a list of its recommendations presenting each category separately according to the Committee's assessment of the merit of the applicants. The Vice-Chancellor will report to Senate on recommendations being made concerning applications received for promotion.

If the Academic Promotions Committee considers, on the basis of submitted material, assessors' reports and the report from a Corresponding Member, that a case exists for promotion to Professor (Level E), the applicant with the Vice-Chancellor's endorsement will be invited to be interviewed by the Vice-Chancellor.

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3. Assessment of applications

The Academic Promotions Committee will assess applications on the basis of the documentation submitted including the applicant's Personal Statement, Academic Portfolio, outcome of the Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA) and Curriculum Vitae, having regard for how well and to what extent the applicant satisfies the promotion criteria for Teaching and Research Staff and Research Staff.

Research profile

The Socrates RQF system has been designed to gather data from a variety of UWA databases in order to present information required by the Federal Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), for the Research Quality Framework (RQF).

The Academic Promotions Committee has University level access to data on the Socrates system and may view this as it applies to applications for promotion.

Assessors

It is the policy of the Academic Promotions Committee to refer applications to assessors external to The University of Western Australia where it is satisfied that a prima facie case for promotion has been established.

Procedures on nomination of assessors.

Assessments are requested and provided 'in confidence' and therefore remain confidential.

Professor (Level E) and Senior Principal Research Fellow applications

In addition to items assessed for all promotions, the following additional assessments are made for promotion to Professor (Level E) and promotion to Senior Principal Research Fellow.

In applications for promotion to Professor (Level E) or to Senior Principal Research Fellow, if the Academic Promotions Committee considers that a prima facie case for promotion exists following a review of assessors' reports, the Committee may seek the views of a Corresponding Member.

The Corresponding Member is a senior academic who may not be in the same specific area of specialisation as the applicant, but who is nevertheless able to provide a broad assessment of the applicant's suitability for promotion to Professor.

When assessing applications for Professor (Level E) and Senior Principal Research Fellow promotion, the Academic Promotions Committee will consider all aspects of the application including service to the University and the wider community.

In addition, successful applicants must clearly meet the standards for an equivalent appointment in major international universities. That adequate standards have been met is normally established – and must be attested to – by the Head of School in his or her supporting letter and endorsed by the Dean of Faculty.

If the Academic Promotions Committee decides, on the basis of the submitted material, assessors' reports, and the report from the Corresponding Member, that a prima facie case exists for promotion to Professor (Level E) or to Senior Principal Research Fellow, it will recommend that the application proceeds to an interview with the Vice-Chancellor.

Vision statement

A vision statement is a requirement when applying for promotion to Level E. Applicants will be expected to provide a Vision Statement with their Academic Portfolio. Before an applicant is invited for interview, they will be asked to provide a written statement in which they outline what they plan to achieve in the next three to five years.

Vision statement preparation

A vision statement should consist of approximately two pages addressing objectives /goals for the next three to five years and indicating how it is proposed to achieve them.

A vision statement assists the Academic Promotions Committee and Vice-Chancellor in providing an insight into the academic staff member’s aspirations and ambitions for the future. A good way to open is to include a brief précis of achievements in the areas of teaching and learning, research, scholarship and original achievement and internal and external service, since commencing with The University of Western Australia.

The main content, however, should be thoughts on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and how best influences would be brought about to address policy and facilitate research, provide academic leadership by contributing to developments in teaching and learning, including any new courses planned, and how to properly utilise education opportunities that may arise at this time at University, Faculty and School level. In the area of research, consideration should be given to expanding and strengthening the research program currently in place, developing capacity by mentoring and supporting new researchers, and influencing policy and practice to facilitate internationally competitive research, in order to enhance the University’s strategic relationships.

Directions for the future must inevitably target the attraction, retention and mentoring of both students and early career academics to establish a strong path forward which will be rewarding and satisfying for the role of a Professor and will eventually result in the success of the School, Faculty and the University.

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4. Effective date of promotion

Levels B to D promotion

Promotion is effective from the date of the Academic Promotions Committee meeting in which the decision was reached to recommend promotion.

Professor (Level E) and Senior Principal Research Fellow promotion

Promotion is effective from the date the applicant was interviewed by the Vice-Chancellor and where a decision has been reached to recommend promotion.

Promotion is not backdated and promotions are recommended to commence at the first salary point of the level to which the applicant is promoted.

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5. Accelerated promotion

The Academic Promotions Committee will consider applications where a staff member wishes to seek promotion by two levels or higher than their existing level.

Applicants need to give a clear explanation in the Personal Statement as to why an accelerated promotion is being sought.

The Head of School and Dean are also expected to refer to this request in their accompanying comments.

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6. Fast-track promotion

The University is committed to retaining high quality staff. To support this it has introduced Fast-track promotion for use only in exceptional circumstances. To enable the University to respond rapidly to opportunities to retain high quality staff it is envisaged that for the majority of academic promotions, the standard promotion process will be used.

In order to facilitate the efficient and timely handling of applications for Fast-track promotion and to ensure delays do not occur, specific procedures need to be followed.

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7. Policy for the Review of Recommendations of the Academic Promotions Committee

The following principles are applied by the Academic Promotions Committee when considering applications:

  • Applicants not recommended for promotion up to and including Level D may seek a meeting with the Chair of the Academic Promotions Committee to discuss the outcome of the promotion application.
  • At the discretion of the Chair, an unsuccessful application for promotion may be referred back to the Academic Promotions Committee where:
    • it can be demonstrated that relevant information of a significant nature submitted as part of the application had been overlooked or misinterpreted; or
    • where clear evidence of a significant procedural irregularity having occurred can be demonstrated.
  • All applicants to Professor (Level E) or Senior Principal Research Fellow (Level E) not recommended for promotion either by the Academic Promotions Committee may meet with the Vice-Chancellor to discuss the outcome of the promotion application.

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