Academic Promotions

Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Policy

Policy Code: HR2040


The Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Policy aims to recognise and reward individual performance and leadership in academic work at the University.  Academic work includes learning and teaching, research and creativity and leadership, engagement and academic citizenship.

This Policy supports the career development of academic staff through promotion to a higher academic classification level and must be read in conjunction with the Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Procedure.

Academic promotion is aligned to the strategic goals and priorities of the University. It also supports the University’s Living Values Charter which staff are expected to demonstrate. The five values are comprised of Inclusion, Innovation, Excellence, Empowerment, and Collaboration.  


Academic staff who have successfully completed their probationary period and who have completed at least one year's service at the date of call for applications are eligible to apply for promotion.

Applicants must have participated in the University's Performance Review and Development Program (or probationary period) during the 12 months prior to the closing date of applications and demonstrated at least satisfactory performance and professional development.

Academic staff who have applied unsuccessfully for promotion are ineligible to apply the year following an unsuccessful application, but are encouraged to discuss the timing of their next application with the Executive Dean in their relevant Institute/Directorate/Centre.

For example if a staff member had applied for promotion in January 2019 and had been unsuccessful they are ineligible to apply until January 2021 or if a staff member had applied for promotion in July 2019 and had been unsuccessful, they are ineligible to apply until July 2021.

In exceptional circumstances, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may approve an application from a staff member, supported by the relevant Executive Dean, the year following an unsuccessful application.

Casual and sessional academics are not eligible to apply for promotion.


Term Definition
Academic Organisational Unit (AOU): Academic staff of the University may be employed in variously named academic organisational units such as an Institute, School, Portfolio and Research Centre, and Directorates/Sections that undertake teaching and research functions as a primary objective.
Academic Promotion: Advancement to a higher academic level based on evidence that the applicant is performing satisfactorily at the higher academic level to which promotion is sought and that the applicant meets the levels of achievement required for promotion to the higher level.
Achievement Relative to Opportunity:

The University is committed to ensuring that the principles of equal opportunity are applied in relation to the promotion process through providing the opportunity for evaluation of an applicant's achievements relative to the opportunities available.

The promotion process takes account of work arrangements that have not been consistently full-time by enabling staff to outline relevant personal circumstances and working arrangements, and their impact on career progression and performance.  The consideration of ‘achievement relative to opportunity’ ensures that merit standards are being maintained and positively acknowledges what has been achieved given the actual opportunities available.  Relevant personal circumstances or arrangements that might have resulted in limitations to opportunity can include:

  • ill-health and/or disability, whether temporary or permanent;
  • carer responsibilities;
  • part-time or flexible work arrangements, planned or unplanned, including absence on parental leave; and
  • other relevant circumstances.

Applicants need to make explicit the relationship between these relevant personal circumstances or arrangements and the relative impact on the opportunities available to them and their career progression and performance.

Promotion committees will consider whether overall, and on balance, applicants holding, or having held, fractional appointments demonstrate an appropriate level of contribution and of the requisite quality, relative to the opportunities available to them.  This aims to reduce the possibility of applicants being assessed against the norm of an uninterrupted full-time fraction where it does not apply.

Application Template The application template is a prescribed document that enables an applicant to provide a critical, concise and reflective description of achievements aligned to the three Areas of Achievement and the Criteria Framework.
Areas of Achievement:

There are three areas of achievement relevant to academic promotion.  These areas reflect the academic focus aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan.  The three areas include:

  • Learning and Teaching;
  • Research and Creativity; and
  • Leadership, Engagement and Academic Citizenship.

These are clearly outlined in Appendix 1 of the Criteria Framework.

Case for Promotion The prescribed application template requires the presentation of evidence of achievement in the three areas of achievement and provision of critically reflective comment on both the scope, quality and impact of activity and achievement.
Criteria Framework The Criteria Framework describes indicators of achievement across the three Areas of Achievement.  This framework provides supporting information to applicants to enable them to self-rank their level of achievement.
Executive Dean

The Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Policy and Procedure refers generically to the Executive Dean, the Institute being the main employer of academic staff who may seek promotion.  This may also be taken to refer to Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Director of other academic organisational units (AOU).

For Academics at this level located outside of the Institute where an Executive Dean is not available, a suitable Academic alternative at an equivalent Executive Dean Level or above will be nominated.

Executive Dean Report The Executive Dean’s Report is completed as part of the application template (Section 6) and includes commentary of the applicant’s progress in each of the Areas of Achievement and aligned with the indicators within the Criteria Framework.
Executive Officer The Executive Officer of the Promotion Panel Committee is a senior member of People and Culture who supports the process.  The aim of this role is to oversee and monitor adherence to the policy and procedure.  The Executive Officer has no voting rights on the promotion committee.
Formal Qualifications The Academic Promotion Procedure stipulates a requirement of a PhD or a doctorate.
Independent Assessor An external expert who is invited to offer a balanced and independent assessment of the applicants’ standing and impact in the nominated discipline and of the merits of the application based on pre-determined criteria.
Independent Assessor Template A template used to collect expert feedback from the Independent Assessor on an applicant’s application template.
Independent Observer The Independent Observer (or nominee) for the panel will be external to the University and possess equity and diversity expertise.  The role of the observer is to provide feedback to the promotion committee on the adherence to the Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Procedure.  The Independent Observer has no voting rights on the promotion committee.
Indicators of Achievement Each area of achievement is underpinned by indicators/criteria.  See Criteria Framework.
Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (MSALs) The MSALs are a generic listing of standards and/or expectations of an academic at each level.  For further information refer to the Union Collective Agreement.
Performance Review and Development Program (PRDP)

The University's performance management process whereby:

  • the strategic priorities and objectives of the University and relevant Portfolio/Institute/School/Directorate are aligned to the performance and professional development of employees;
  • PRDP supervisors clarify duties, responsibilities and expectations for employees;
  • PRDP supervisors and employees meet to plan, monitor and review performance and professional development; and
  • satisfactory performance and development are linked to salary incremental advancement for eligible employees.

Promotion committee


The relevant panel committee constituted in accordance with the Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Procedure that is responsible for assessing the application.

Ranking areas of Achievement


An applicant must self-nominate the ranking profile for their application based on the three Areas of Achievement.

Ranking should be based on the order in which an applicant would like their application to be assessed.  For example, the first ranked is the area in which the applicant would like the primary focus to be given in the assessment by the Promotion Panel, etc.

For ‘Research only’ appointments, applicants are not required to rank the 'Learning and Teaching' Area of Achievement.

Referee A person willing to testify in writing in regard to the character or ability of the applicant applying for promotion to Academic Level C.

Policy Statement

  1. The Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Policy is part of an integrated system of human resource management which aims to attract, retain, develop and motivate staff required to achieve the University’s Strategic Plan.  It complements and is complemented by the academic appointment processes, Performance Review and Development Program, staff development programs and various other development activities.
  2. The purpose of this Policy is to:
    • recognise and reward academic staff who contribute to outcomes which advance the University’s strategic plan and live the values of the University;
    • foster the achievement of the University’s strategic plan by ensuring that individual activities and performance are formally recognised and rewarded as well as simultaneously contributing to the achievement of the strategic direction of the University and culture to which the University aspires;
    • provide a career structure and professional development path for academic staff by describing a framework of three areas of achievement being learning and teaching, research and creativity, and leadership, engagement and academic citizenship;
    • ensure all academic staff are clear about the performance expectations at the University for each academic level;
    • provide a fair and equitable system that recognises and rewards sustained achievement;
    • encourage, acknowledge and reward leadership, engagement and academic citizenship at the University and in the community; and
    • facilitate alignment between the reward for high achievement of individual academic staff and the Institute/School’s staffing structure, budget and strategic direction.
  3. Satisfactory performance at their current academic level is considered the minimum standard of achievement for staff.  To be promoted to a higher academic level, an applicant must demonstrate satisfactory performance at the higher academic level and meet the levels of achievement required for promotion to the higher level.
  4. Academic staff, in consultation with their Executive Dean, may elect to apply for promotion to a higher level by accessing the prescribed application form template and respective criteria for promotion. 
  5. This Policy provides for candidates seeking promotion to Academic Level C, D and E and will be assessed as follows:
    • Academic Level C will be assessed by a committee chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or nominee with internal and external representation.
    • Academic Level D will be assessed by a committee chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or nominee with internal and external representation.
    • Academic Level E will be assessed by a committee chaired by either the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) or nominee, alternating each year, and include internal and external representation.
  6. The implementation and outcomes of the Academic Promotion for Levels C, D and E (Higher Education) Policy will align with the University’s Equal Opportunity and Valuing Diversity Policy.  Promotion panel members will ensure each application is assessed based on achievement relative to opportunity.  Candidates are able to specify personal circumstances that may have resulted in limitations to opportunity to achieve.


  1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Director, People and Culture are responsible for ensuring compliance with the policy and for ensuring that appropriate procedures and other systems are in place where relevant.
  2. The Director, People and Culture has specific responsibilities for the maintenance of the related procedures.


The Academic Promotion Policy is to be implemented throughout the University community and will take the form of:

  1. An Announcement Notice under 'FedNews' on the University's website and through the University Policy - ‘Recently Approved Documents’ webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. Inclusion on the University's online Policy Library;
  3. Information Sessions conducted by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and/or People and Culture.