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Academic Promotion Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To outline the process for promotion of academic staff at Macquarie University to ensure consistency, transparency and fairness.

Scope

(2) This Procedure 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.

(3) This Procedure does not apply to:

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

(4) Refer to the Academic Promotion Policy.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(5) There is an Academic Promotion Procedure Flowchart available for this Procedure.

Part A - Promotion Rounds

(6) There is one promotion round per calendar year.

Part B - Preparing to Apply

(7) Applicants should discuss their intention to apply for promotion with their academic supervisor and Head of Department. Applicants considering applying for promotion to Level E should discuss their intentions with the Executive Dean.

Part C - Applying for Promotion

Application

(8) Applications will only be considered complete if all documents are submitted to Human Resources by 5pm on the application closing date as per the requirements below. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Document Requirement Format Prepared and submitted by Submission method
Application for promotion (includes case for promotion) Essential HR Form Applicant By email to academicpromotions@mq.edu.au
CV Essential Semi-structured template Applicant By email to academicpromotions@mq.edu.au
Head of Department Report Essential Template Prepared and signed by Head of Department,

Endorsed by the Executive Dean,

Signed and submitted by the applicant
By email to academicpromotions@mq.edu.au
Supporting evidence Not essential N/A Applicant By email to academicpromotions@mq.edu.au
Evidence of exemption from a general rule or requirement (e.g. two years of service rule) As applicable Email from HR Applicant By email to academicpromotions@mq.edu.au

Referees

(9) The following referee requirements must be met:

Promotion to Minimum requirements
Level B 2 referees nominated by the applicant:
  2 senior esteemed referees, internal or external to the University
Level C 2 referees nominated by the applicant:
  2 senior esteemed referees, at least one must be external to the University
Level D 2 referees nominated by the applicant:
  2 senior esteemed referees, at least one must beexternal to the University (including referees of national standing)
  2 independent referees nominated by the Head of Department
Level E 2 referees nominated by the applicant:
  2 senior esteemed referees, external to the University (including referees of international standing)
  2 independent referees nominated by the Head of Department

(10) A senior esteemed referee can be an academic or a senior business or community leader, and must have experience and esteem in the applicant’s discipline, and knowledge of the applicant’s work. 

Referees Nominated By the Applicant

(11) Applicants should not provide referees with whom they have a familial or personal relationship. Professional friendships and collegial relationships are normal and expected. 

(12) Applicants are not required to obtain and submit referee reports. Similar to a recruitment process, referees will be contacted by Human Resources to complete a reference for the applicant. It is the responsibility of the applicant, however, to obtain the referee’s agreement to provide a reference before nominating them in the application.

Independent Referees

(13) The University, on the recommendation of the Executive Dean, will invite two additional referees for applicants to Levels D and E.

(14) An independent referee must be someone external to the University, who has not worked directly with the applicant in the last five years and who is recognised in their field and can provide an objective assessment of the quality of applicant’s work.

(15) The process will be as follows:

  1. The Head of Department will provide the Executive Dean with a list of 4 or 5 suggested names, ensuring that appropriate referees are selected in terms of providing an independent assessment of an application and there is no conflict of interest (e.g. they are not former supervisors or co-authors). The Head of Department may consult with others when selecting independent referees.
  2. The Executive Dean will rank the nominated referees. The rank ordered list will be forwarded to Human Resources.
  3. Human Resources will contact the first two referees on the rank ordered list to see if they are willing to serve. Depending on availability, two referees will be selected from the list and will be asked to complete a reference for the applicant.
  4. The applicant should not be advised of the final selection of independent referees.

Head of Department Report

(16) The Head of Department Report is prepared by the Head of Department and must be endorsed by the Executive Dean.

(17) Where the Head of Department is applying for promotion, the Head of Department is to consult with the Executive Dean. The Executive Dean will nominate another member of staff to assume responsibility for completing the Head of Department Report.

(18) The purpose of the Head of Department Report is to:

  1. detail the standards of performance expected of academic staff in the department; and
  2. consider the applicant’s performance against these standards (relative to opportunity, workload allocation and nature of appointment) and whether or not the applicant meets criteria for promotion.

(19) It is the responsibility of the applicant to:

  1. advise the Head of Department of their intention to apply in the current round;
  2. provide the Head of Department with a copy of their application; and
  3. provide the Head of Department with sufficient time for the preparation of the Head of Department Report.

(20) If the applicant does not agree with or wishes to clarify the comments made by the Head of Department, the applicant may provide a response to the Head of Department Report and submit it with their application.

Supporting Evidence

(21) Applicants may wish to include three to five pieces of evidence with their application in support of their performance and achievements.

(22) Applicants may be called upon at the time of their interview to provide a specific source of evidence or supporting material, for example, a particular research publication or teaching evaluations. Applicants must ensure they have an ORCid and that their information is up to date in the Research Management System as it may be referred to by the Committee during the process.

Part D - Assessment of Application

(23) Applications for Levels B and C will be considered by a relevant Faculty Promotion Committee (FPC).

(24) Applications for Levels D and E will be considered by a relevant Faculty Promotion Committee and a University Promotion Committee (UPC), as per the table below.

  Committee Assessment
Level of promotion
FPC UPC
B yes n/a
C yes n/a
D yes yes
E yes yes

Committee Composition Requirements

(25) The following requirements apply to all Faculty Promotion Committees and University Promotion Committees:

  1. The term of office for committee members, except ex officio, is three(3) years;
  2. All members must be at least at the same academic level as that to which promotion is sought and no lower than Level C;
  3. A staff member cannot be a member of both the FPC and UPC for the same level. Executive Deans are excluded from UPC membership;
  4. Committees must include male and female members with gender balance as far as possible;
  5. Committees should have appropriate representation from different discipline areas as far as possible; and
  6. A committee member may nominate a replacement member, if there are valid reasons why they cannot attend or continue serving on the committee.

Faculty Promotion Committee (FPC)

(26) The role of the FPC is to assess applications for promotion for the relevant Faculty, interview applicants and:

  1. for applications to Levels B and C, determine the outcome of applications; or
  2. for applications to Levels D and E, make recommendations that will be further considered by the UPC.

FPC Membership

(27) FPC committees for all levels must have the following membership:

  1. Executive Dean, ex officio – Chair;
  2. Associate Dean or Head of Department from the faculty;
  3. External academic member from another faculty;
  4. Member of Academic Senate;
  5. Academic member from the faculty;
  6. Academic member from the faculty; and
  7. Academic member from the faculty.

(28) A representative from HR will be in attendance at all meetings, but will not have voting rights.

FPC Assessment Process

(29) The FPC will review all application documents and confidential referee reports in accordance with the Academic Promotion Policy

(30) The FPC will interview all applicants for promotion. The purpose of interviews is to provide an opportunity for applicants to speak to their case for promotion and for members of the promotion committees to seek clarifications on matters within a promotion application.

(31) The relevant Head of Department may also be invited to the committee meeting to address the committee (with or without the applicant present). 

(32) The FPC may request additional evidence from applicants. The FPC should provide applicants with advance notice of the need to view additional evidence.

(33) Following interviews, all FPC members will vote, which may be by secret ballot, to:

  1. promote;
  2. not promote; or
  3. not promote but offer accelerated progression within current level.

(34) The FPC may conduct a non-binding vote, followed by discussion and a final vote which will be binding.

(35) If there are more than two votes against promotion (30%) in the final vote, the applicant will not be recommended for promotion.

(36) All committee members must vote (i.e. no abstentions) unless they have been absented from the committee due to a previously declared conflict of interest (see Part I - Conflict of Interest).

(37) The FPC Chair will prepare a report including:

  1. recommendations to promote or not promote for each applicant; and
  2. reasons for the recommendations with reference to the relevant criteria.

(38) For applications to Levels B and C, the FPC determination will be final.

(39) For applications to Levels D and E, applications and recommendations from the FPC will be submitted to the UPC for further consideration.

University Promotion Committee (UPC)

(40) The role of the UPC is to consider the applications for promotion to Levels D and E together with the recommendations from the corresponding Faculty Promotion Committees, and determine the outcome of these applications.

UPC Membership

(41) The UPC for Level D must have the following membership:

  1. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), ex officio – Chair;
  2. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), ex officio;
  3. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), ex officio;
  4. Chair, Academic Senate, ex officio;
  5. External academic member from another university;
  6. Academic member from the Faculty of Arts;
  7. Academic member from the Macquarie Business School;
  8. Academic member from the Faculty of Science and Engineering; and
  9. Academic member from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences.

(42) The UPC for Level E must have the following membership:

  1. Vice-Chancellor, ex officio – Chair;
  2. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), ex officio;
  3. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), ex officio;
  4. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), ex officio;
  5. Chair, Academic Senate, ex officio;
  6. External academic member from another university;
  7. Academic member from the Faculty of Arts;
  8. Academic member from the Macquarie Business School;
  9. Academic member from the Faculty of Science and Engineering; and
  10. Academic member from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences.

(43) A representative from HR will be in attendance at all UPC meetings, but will not have voting rights.

UPC Assessment Process

(44) The UPC will review all applications to Levels D and E and the recommendations from the FPC.

(45) The UPC may ask the Executive Dean of the relevant faculty to attend the UPC and speak to applications from their faculty.

(46) All UPC members will vote, which may be by secret ballot, to:

  1. promote;
  2. not promote; or
  3. not promote but offer accelerated progression within current level.

(47) The UPC may conduct a non-binding vote, followed by discussion and a final vote which will be binding.

(48) If there are more than three votes against promotion (30%) in the final vote, the applicant will not be promoted.

(49) All committee members must vote (i.e. no abstentions) unless they have been absented from the committee due to a previously declared conflict of interest (see Part I - Conflict of Interest).

(50) The UPC's decision is the final decision. If the UPC's decision differs from the recommendations of a FPC, the Chair of the UPC should provide feedback to the Chair of the FPC.

Verification Checks

(51) The University reserves the right to make inquiries to verify information provided in the application, including off-list reference checks where appropriate.

Part E - Outcome Notification

(52) Promotion Committee Chairs must advise the outcome of the promotion process face-to-face, by telephone or email as soon as possible, and ideally within 48 hours, following the last meeting for each academic level, in the following order:

Applicants to Levels B and C FPC Chair notifies:
Applicant
Head of Department (or Head of Office for non-Faculty applicants)
Applicants to Levels D and E UPC Chair notifies FPC Chair. FPC Chair is then responsible for notifying:
Applicant
Head of Department

(53) HR will prepare notification letters for each applicant.

(54) Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to meet with the Executive Dean to discuss feedback, and may also seek feedback from the UPC Chair Applicants should use this advice, in consultation with their performance supervisor, when revising Performance Development and Review plans. Applicants are unlikely to be successful in subsequent promotion rounds unless they have addressed recommendations from the Promotions Committee.

Part F - Appeals

(55) Applicants may appeal against the decision of the Promotion Committee only if:

  1. the published academic promotion procedure was not followed; and
  2. this failure had a material effect on the decision not to recommend promotion.

(56) The Promotion Committee’s assessment of the academic merit of an application is final and will not be the subject of appeal. This includes assessment against the promotion criteria and allocation of points.

(57) To appeal the Promotion Committee decision, an applicant must:

  1. seek advice and further information, as necessary, directly from the Chair of the Promotion Committee on the reason(s) for the decision not to promote; and
  2. detail the allegations that may demonstrate that the University failed to follow the procedures set down, that this failure had a material effect on the decision not to promote, and that, as a consequence, the case should be reheard; and
  3. submit the appeal in writing to the Director, Human Resources, with the necessary supporting information, within twenty(20) working days after receipt of notification of the outcome of the original application.

(58) In exceptional circumstances, such as illness or misadventure, the applicant may request an extension to the twenty(20) working day appeal submission deadline. For the extension to be granted it must be approved by:

  1. the Director, Human Resources; and
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

(59) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will nominate members of the Appeals Committee. The membership will comprise:

  1. a Chair nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic);
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), or nominee if the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) was a member of the associated Promotion Committee; and
  3. two(2) academic Level E staff members.

(60) HR will provide the Appeals Committee with copies of:

  1. written statements from the applicant;
  2. written statement from the Chair of the associated Promotion Committee(s) and any other person the Appeals Committee considers relevant to the conduct of the appeals process; and
  3. all promotion application documents submitted to the Promotion Committee(s).

(61) The Appeals Committee will review the documentation and will provide a written recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor, giving reasons as to why the appeal should be:

  1. dismissed; or
  2. upheld.

(62) The Vice-Chancellor will review the recommendation of the Appeals Committee and will make a determination. The Vice-Chancellor's decision is final.

(63) Where the Vice-Chancellor chaired a UPC subject to an appeal, the Vice-Chancellor will nominate a Deputy Vice-Chancellor to consider the appeal and determine the outcome.

(64) If the appeal is upheld the decision will be referred back to the original Promotions Committee for reconsideration (FPC for Level B and C applicants, and UPC for Level D and E applicants). The Promotions Committee will refer to the information originally provided as part of the promotions process and any additional information related to the appeal. The Committee will apply the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure, resulting in a decision on whether or not the applicant should be promoted.

(65) If the appeal is not upheld, the application will not be reconsidered and no further appeal will be entertained.

Part G - Out-of-round Promotion

(66) There may be legitimate circumstances when a promotion needs to occur outside the scheduled promotion round as outlined in the Academic Promotion Policy (Clauses 34 to 36).

(67) An out-of-round promotion application must include:

  1. a business case specifying the exceptional circumstances and level of promotion requested;
  2. applicant’s CV; and
  3. relevant supporting documentation, e.g. job application and letter of offer from the relevant institution or references from external experts in the same discipline.

(68) The out-of-round promotion application must be completed and endorsed by the Head of Department and relevant Executive Dean and submitted by the Executive Dean to the Director, Human Resources.

(69) The application for out-of-round promotion will be considered jointly by:

  1. the Director, Human Resources;
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); and
  3. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

Part H - Exemptions

(70) There may be legitimate circumstances where there should be an exception to the standard rules and processes outlined in the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure.

(71) An applicant may seek an exemption if:

  1. the applicant has worked for less than two(2) years at Macquarie University since commencement or last promotion; or the applicant is seeking promotion to a level that is more than one level higher than their current level (e.g. seeking promotion from Level B to Level D); or
  2. the applicant is seeking promotion to several levels in the same round (e.g. seeking promotion from Level B to Level C and Level D in the same round); or
  3. the applicant does not otherwise satisfy the requirements of the policy to apply for promotion (excluding casual and honorary appointments).

(72) As a general rule, exemption from the two(2) 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(1) year since last promotion.

(73) An exemption application must include:

  1. a business case specifying the exceptional circumstances as to why the standard rules should not apply and level of promotion requested;
  2. applicant’s CV; and
  3. relevant supporting documentation (if applicable).

(74) An exemption application must be endorsed by the Head of Department and relevant Executive Dean and submitted by the Executive Dean to the Director, Human Resources.

(75) The exemption application will be considered jointly by the Exemptions Committee:

  1. the Director, Human Resources;
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); and
  3. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

(76) If exemption is granted, the application for promotion can be lodged and considered through the normal application process. Applicants must submit evidence that the exemption was granted (e.g. an email from HR advising approval from the Exemptions Committee) with their application for promotion. Granting exemption does not mean that the application for promotion is approved.

(77) If exemption is not granted, the Director, Human Resources will advise the applicant and provide reasons for the decision. The decision is final and is not subject to appeal. 

Part I - Conflict of Interest

(78) In accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy, each person involved in the promotion process, including all members of a Promotion Committee, are required to consider whether there is any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest. This may include a business, personal or familial relationship with an applicant.

(79) If any person involved in the promotion process identifies such a conflict, they must declare it to the Promotion Committee Chair as soon as possible.

(80) If a conflict of interest is declared, the Chair will determine an appropriate management plan, in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Conflicts of interest can normally be effectively managed, with disclosure and transparency being the key principles. If the member remains on the Committee, their views should be canvassed last. In rare circumstances (e.g. when a candidate is a family member) a person may need to step down from the Committee. 

(81) Declaration of Conflict of Interest will be a standing agenda item at all Promotion Committee meetings. All declared conflicts of interest and the associated management plans will be recorded in the relevant documentation from the meeting.

(82) Referees are required to disclose any conflict of interest via the prescribed form. If a conflict of interest is identified between the applicant and their nominated referee, the Promotion Committee/s may elect to disregard the referee report.

(83) If a conflict of interest is identified between the applicant and their independent referee, Human Resources may ask the applicant’s Executive Dean to provide the name of an alternate independent referee, or the Promotion Committee/s may elect to disregard the referee report.

Part J - Roles and Responsibilities

(84) Below is a summary of the key responsibilities of those involved in the academic promotion process. The information below specifies the key responsibilities only and does not repeat each and every responsibility referred to in this Procedure.

Applicant

(85) Discuss plans for applying for promotion with their academic supervisor and/or relevant Head of Department.

(86) Review Academic Promotion Policy, this Procedure and Academic Promotion Criteria Schedule.

(87) Ensure eligibility requirements are met before applying for promotion.

(88) Provide Head of Department with sufficient time to review the application and complete the Head of Department Report.

(89) Liaise with nominated referees to obtain their agreement to provide a reference.

(90) Submit application in accordance with advertised timeframes and requirements set out in the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure.

(91) Make themselves available for the promotion interview.

Academic Supervisor

(92) Provide guidance, information and feedback to staff under supervision in relation to the timing of their application for promotion.

(93) Engage with the performance development and review process with academic staff under supervision.

Head of Department

(94) Where a Head of Department is also the applicant’s academic supervisor, they are responsible for:

  1. providing guidance, information and feedback to staff under their supervision in relation to the timing of their application for promotion; and
  2. engaging with the performance development and review process with academic staff under their supervision.

(95) Review the application for promotion and complete the Head of Department Report.

(96) Provide information and/or evidence to supplement an application, if requested by the Promotion Committee.

(97) Participate in the process of providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants, if required by the Chair of Promotion Committee.

Executive Dean

(98) Review and sign the Head of Department Report.

(99) Act as Chair of the Faculty Promotion Committee.

(100) Provide information and/or evidence to supplement an application if requested by the University Promotion Committee.

(101) Notify applicants for promotion of the outcome of their application.

(102) Provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants for promotion.

Chair of Promotion Committee

(103) Ensure applications for promotion are assessed by the relevant Promotion Committee in accordance with the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure.

Members of the Promotion Committee

(104) Review all material provided.

(105) Keep information confidential.

(106) Disclose any conflict of interest.

(107) Make an objective and impartial assessment as to the merit of the case.

Chair of the Appeals Committee

(108) Ensure appeals are assessed by the Appeals Committee in accordance with this Procedure.

(109) Prepare the Appeals Committee Report.

Members of the Appeals Committee

(110) Review all material provided.

(111) Keep information confidential.

(112) Disclose any conflict of interest.

(113) Consider the appeal in accordance with this Procedure, Make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor, giving reasons as to why the appeal should be dismissed or upheld.

Human Resources

(114) Coordinate the promotion process in accordance with the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure.

Vice-Chancellor

(115) Chair the University Promotion Committee at Level E.

(116) Review and endorse the determination of the Promotions Committees for all academic levels.

(117) Determine the outcome of an appeal process.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(118) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(119) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the Academic Promotion Policy.

Forms and templates

All forms and templates are available on the Academic Promotion website.