Academic Promotions

Academic Promotion for Level B Only (Higher Education) Policy

Policy code: HR956
Policy owner: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Approval authority: Vice-Chancellor
Approval date: 16 February 2000
Next review date: 29 July 2025


The Academic Promotion for Level B Only (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 Level B Only (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 standard 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:

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 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 Level B (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 applicable, a suitable Academic alternative at an equivalent to an Executive Dean Level or above will be nominated.

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 qualifications required for an applicant vary depending on the function undertaken and must hold any of the following:

  • A conferred PhD and have made substantial progression to achieving the Level B research performance criteria; or
  • For staff members who hold a Masters by Research, they must also have the following;
    • Completion of Nature Publishing Group modules (Effective Scientific Writing and Effective Collaboration in Research);
    • Enrolled in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and produce an expertise and capabilities plan; and
    • Enrolled in the Level A Academic Mentoring program; or
  • For applicants that hold a Masters by coursework, they must have made substantial progress in their Masters by Research and the following:
    • completion of Nature Publishing Group modules (Effective Scientific Writing and Effective Collaboration in Research).
    • enrolled in the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and produce an expertise and capabilities plan.
    • enrolled in the Level A Academic Mentoring program.

Articulation can be discussed with your supervisor and, if required, the candidature panel.

  • For applicants from creative disciplines, that hold a Thesis by exegesis, they will be enrolled in modules similar to Nature Publishing Group, Vitae Researcher Development Framework and produce an expertise and capabilities plan and enrol in the Level A Academic Mentoring program. Contact the Executive Officer for further detail.
Minimum Standards for Academic Levels (MSALs): The Minimum Standards for Academic Levels are a generic listing of standards and/or expectations of an academic at each level.  For further information refer to the  Federation University Australia Union Enterprise Agreement 2019-2021
Performance Review and Development Program:

The University's performance management process whereby:

  • the strategic priorities and objectives of the University and relevant Portfolio/Institute/School/Directorate/Section 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.
Procedural Observer: The Procedural Observer (or nominee) for the promotions panel will be internal 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 Level B (Higher Education) procedure. The Procedural Observer has no voting rights on the promotion committee.
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.

For ‘Scholarly Teaching’ appointments, applicants are not required to rank the ‘Research and Creativity’ Area of Achievement.


For academic promotion purposes there are two types of referee:

  • internal referee - a person employed within the University;
  • external referee - a person not employed within the University and who has not been employed at the University during the three years preceding the application or an international referee who is an internationally recognised authority in a relevant discipline, field or profession and resides outside Australia.

A testimonial document does not represent a reference in the context of the Policy and Procedures.

Referee Report Template: This template provides the applicant a self-nominated referee with an opportunity to provide character and skill ability commentary relevant to their particular experiences and expertise.
Teaching Expectations for Academic Staff: The Teaching Expectations for Academic Staff (Part B) provides academic level teaching expectations and related examples of evidence to support applicants responding to the Learning and Teaching Areas of Achievement.

Policy Statement

  1. The Academic Promotion for Level B (Higher Education) Policy  is part of an integrated system of human resource management which aims to attract, retain, develop and motivate the people needed to achieve the University’s Strategic Plan. It complements and is complemented by the academic appointment processes, Performance Review and Development Program, and staff development programs and 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 which are formally recognised and rewarded and also contribute to the achievement of the strategic directions of the University and culture to which the University aspires;
    • provide a career structure and 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 standards of performance expected at each academic level;
    • provide a fair and equitable system that recognises and rewards sustained achievement;
    • encourage, acknowledge and reward leadership and engagement in the University and in the community; and
    • facilitate alignment between the reward for high achievement of individual academic staff and the Institute/Academic Organisational Unit's staffing structure, budget and strategic directions.
  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, a staff member needs to demonstrate that they are performing satisfactorily 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 Discipline Leader/Director, Academic Operations  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 Institutes and other Academic Organisational Units to assess candidates seeking promotion from Level A to Level B with a committee chaired by the Executive Dean (or nominee) of at least Academic Level C and with University and Institute/Academic Organisational Unit representation on the committee.
  6. The implementation and outcomes of the Academic Promotion for Level B (Higher Education) Policy  will support and be supported by the University’s Equal Opportunity and Valuing Diversity Policy through providing the opportunity for assessment of achievement relative to opportunity, with a candidate able to specify personal circumstances that might 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 Executive Dean has specific responsibility for ensuring that appropriate procedures and other systems are in place for compliance with the Academic Promotion for Level B (Higher Education) Procedure.
  3. 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 Executive Officer to Executive Deans.
  4. Information Sessions conducted by Executive Officer to applicants.