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Academic Promotion Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To outline principles for the promotion of academic staff at Macquarie University.


(2) In pursuit of its vision to be recognised nationally and internationally as a high performing university, Macquarie University (the University) aims to foster excellence in all areas of academic endeavour. The University has a holistic approach to recognising academic achievement, supporting staff to progress their academic career on the basis of merit, performance and achievement, relative to opportunity.

(3) The aim of academic promotion is to:

  1. recognise and reward academic staff for demonstrated and sustained achievement and high performance in relevant areas of academic endeavour; and
  2. provide an identifiable career pathway for all academic staff.

(4) Scholarship is a core value of Macquarie University and underpins our academic mission. The criteria for promotion at Macquarie University are based on Boyer’s four areas of scholarship (the scholarship of Discovery, the scholarship of Teaching, the scholarship of Application and the scholarship of Integration) (Boyer, E. L. (1990) Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). With this approach, the University recognises the diversity of scholarship and the value of each type of scholarship. It creates flexible career pathways, allowing individual academics to work to their strengths. An additional Leadership and Citizenship criterion allows staff to demonstrate their leadership and alignment with the University’s values, and broader contribution to the University, community and academe.


(5) This Policy applies to all continuing and fixed-term academic staff, whether full-time or part-time, who seek promotion to Levels B, C, D or E.

(6) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. casual academic staff; or
  2. honorary title holders, except Conjoint title holder as per the Honorary Academic Titles Policy.
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Section 2 - Policy

(7) Academic promotion of academic staff to Levels B, C, D and E will only be offered in accordance with the principles of this Policy and the steps outlined within the accompanying Academic Promotion Procedure.


Strategic Alignment

(8) Academic promotion is aligned to the strategic goals and priorities of the University. It supports the University’s values of scholarship, integrity and empowerment, as outlined in Our University: A Framing of Futures, and the University’s strategic priorities, including:

  1. a culture of transformative learning in a research-enriched environment;
  2. an accelerated and impactful performance in discovery;
  3. creating an innovation nexus where Macquarie and our partners contribute to solutions to the world and develop lasting relationships; and
  4. emboldening Macquarie University’s recognition and international presence.

(9) The Academic Promotion Policy also supports Macquarie University’s Strategic Research Framework and Learning and Teaching Strategic Framework.

Merit Based Selection

(10) Promotion of eligible academic staff is based on merit. It involves the assessment of demonstrated performance against the promotion criteria for each academic level, relative to opportunity. Claims of performance and achievement must be supported by evidence and externally validated, as far as possible.

(11) The University recognises that meritorious performance can occur in a range of academic activities and will take into account the diversity of academic performance and output characteristics of different disciplines.

Achievement Relative to Opportunity

(12) The University recognises that academic staff contribute to its strategic goals in diverse ways. The achievements of applicants for promotion are considered relative to:

  1. required working arrangements e.g. part-time work or flexible working arrangements;
  2. the opportunities that have been available to the applicant relative to the discipline and appointments held;
  3. career histories, including late entry to academia or interrupted career trajectories; and
  4. relevant personal circumstances e.g. carer responsibilities, disability or ongoing medical condition.

(13) The University recognises such circumstances do not alter the applicant’s capacity to produce high quality work, but may have other impact, e.g. on the quantum of output. Assessing achievements relative to opportunity gives more weight to the overall quality and impact of achievements. Achievement relative to opportunity is not about expecting a lesser standard of performance.

Equity and Non-discrimination

(14) The University is committed to equal opportunity and fairness in promotion and will not discriminate, directly or indirectly, against applicants on discriminatory grounds as specified in anti-discrimination legislation, including:

  1. sex or gender;
  2. pregnancy;
  3. race (including colour, ethnic background or national identity);
  4. marital status;
  5. disability;
  6. sexual orientation;
  7. transgender status;
  8. religious beliefs;
  9. age; and
  10. political affiliations.

Confidentiality, Transparency and Fairness

(15) The University will adhere to a consistent, fair, confidential and transparent process as outlined in the Academic Promotion Procedure.


(16) To be eligible for promotion, at a minimum, applicants must have completed:

  1. two years of service (or equivalent in broken periods of service) in an academic position at Macquarie University by the closing date of applications, either from the date of first commencement at Macquarie University or promotion to their current level; and
  2. Performance Development and Review in the preceding year.

(17) If an applicant does not meet the eligibility criteria, exemption provisions may apply (see clauses 31 to 33 of this Policy and Part H of the Academic Promotion Procedure).

(18) An applicant who was previously unsuccessful at promotion on two consecutive occasions, must wait at least two years from the date of notification before reapplying. Special permission to reapply earlier may be granted jointly by the Executive Dean and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and should be sought prior to lodging an application.

(19) Applicants who are on parental leave or on Outside Studies Program are not restricted from applying for promotion during their period of leave or absence, provided they make themselves available for promotion interviews (which may be conducted remotely, e.g. via a videolink).

Promotion Model and Criteria

(20) There are five categories of criteria for promotion:

  1. The scholarship of Discovery;
  2. The scholarship of Teaching;
  3. The scholarship of Application;
  4. The scholarship of Integration; and
  5. The demonstration of Leadership and Citizenship.

(21) Applicants for promotion will be assessed by a promotion committee in each area for which they claim achievement.

(22) Assessment in each category will have four levels of achievement:

  1. Not achieved/Not applicable;
  2. Achieved;
  3. Superior; and
  4. Outstanding.

(23) Once a level of achievement has been determined, points will be allocated as per the following scale to determine an overall score:

Not achieved/Not applicable 0 points
Achieved 1 point
Superior 2 points
Outstanding 3 points
* Additional point in Teaching (Teaching and Leadership job family only) 4 points
*Applicants who hold positions in the Teaching and Leadership job family are eligible for an additional point in Teaching, i.e. can claim four (4) points in the scholarship of Teaching on the basis that they do not have Research allocation.

(24) To be promoted to Levels B and C, an applicant must demonstrate that they should be awarded at least eight (8) points by the relevant Faculty Promotion Committee. The applicant must achieve Outstanding (three (3) points) in at least one of the five categories. The applicant must be awarded at least Achieved (one (1) point or above) in the demonstration of Leadership and Citizenship.

(25) To be promoted to Levels D and E, an applicant must demonstrate that they should be awarded at least nine (9) points by a University Promotion Committee. The applicant must achieve Outstanding (three (3) points) in at least one of the five categories. The applicant must be awarded at least Superior (two (2) points or above) in the demonstration of Leadership and Citizenship.

(26) Consideration will be given to the applicant’s workload allocation, with an expectation that evidence of performance will be presented in the areas where an applicant has formal workload allocation, consistent with the relevant job family.

(27) The Academic Promotion Criteria Schedule provides examples of evidence/indicators for each level to assist applicants with making a case for promotion.

Guidance on Applying Criteria

(28) Applicants do not need to score across all five categories. The assessment and scoring system allows flexibility in how the threshold score for promotion is met. The only mandatory category where applicants must score some points is Leadership and Citizenship.

(29) The examples of evidence/indicators for each level are indicative only and do not provide a list of expectations. It is not expected that applicants would cover all the examples/indicators in a category to achieve Outstanding in that category. The focus is on quality of achievement, not on the number of examples/indicators that are covered by an applicant.

(30) The promotions committee apply a holistic approach to the assessment of applicants, considering the applicant and their achievement as a ‘whole person’, and relative to opportunity.

General Rules and Requirements

(31) As a general rule, applicants cannot:

  1. apply for a promotion with less than two years of service at Macquarie University, since commencement or last promotion;
  2. apply for a promotion to a level that is more than one level higher than their current level (e.g. seek promotion from Level B to Level D); and
  3. apply for promotion to several levels at the same time (e.g. seek promotion from Level B to Level C and to Level D in the same round).

(32) In exceptional circumstances the University may waive these requirements. To do so, an exemption application must be lodged as per the Academic Promotion Procedure.

(33) As a general rule, exemption from the two years of service requirement will not be considered for applicants who have less than one year of service at Macquarie University or who have been at their current level less than one year since last promotion.

Out-of-round Promotion

(34) The University recognises there may be legitimate circumstances when a promotion needs to occur outside of the scheduled promotion round.

(35) An out-of-round promotion application will be permitted in circumstances of:

  1. retention in response to a credible written employment offer at a higher level from a competitor institution; or
  2. retention of high performing academic staff identified as flight risk, regardless of whether or not there is an employment offer from a competitor institution.

(36) To ensure there is an appropriate assessment and a clear approval process, an out-of-round promotion application will follow the steps outlined in the Academic Promotion Procedure (Part G).

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Section 3 - Procedures

(37) Refer to the Academic Promotion Procedure.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(38) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(39) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy and the Academic Promotion Criteria Schedule:

  1. Discovery: the pursuit of new knowledge and understanding; the outcomes, process and passion that add value to discovery.
  2. Integration: linking and connecting disciplines; giving meaning and perspective to original research and/or research fields; connecting discovery with curriculum; illuminating and interpreting discoveries to bring new insight; changing practice at University.
  3. Teaching: maintaining the continuity of human knowledge via dynamic exchange of ideas to facilitate active learning; encouraging and equipping students with critical, creative thinking; instilling the ability and passion for learning, and actively linking all forms of scholarship.
  4. Application: activities that link universities with society, the translation and application of knowledge and discovery to the broader community; a two-way flow where knowledge can inform application and application can inform discovery; connecting students with, and embedding learning into applied practice.
  5. Leadership and citizenship: modelling the University values in everyday behaviour; active and meaningful contribution to the University and broader academic community.