Academic Promotion Policy and Procedures


All academic staff members dealing with applications for academic promotion.

For the procedures to be followed for applications to Professor, please review the Professor Promotion Procedures.


To clarify the approach to be taken when dealing with a range of academic promotions at the University.


1. Promotion is to be based on merit.

Note - The grounds on which decisions are made in determining promotion are outlined in the  Academic Standards for Research Fellows, Senior Research Fellows, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors, Professors, Professional Teaching Fellows, and Senior Tutors

2. In the case of clinically active academic staff members, or staff members engaged mainly in research positions, a case may be made to the Faculty Staffing Committee (FSC) and University Academic Staffing Committee (UASC) for differing weightings of the formal standards.

3. In applying the criteria for promotion, all staffing committees are to give full and careful consideration to the expectations specified in the particular terms under which a staff member is employed (especially for staff engaged largely in teaching or in research, and those with large service loads).

4. The staffing committees must also take account of the relevant Faculty Practice Notes for the area concerned.

5. The procedures set out and supporting this policy are to be followed when considering applications for promotion, and when making recommendations and decisions on promotion applications.

6. The promotion of staff is not to be affected by the relative financial standing of academic units or faculties.

7. Staff members must not be promoted because of difficulties in recruitment and/or retention.

Note - Where there are recruitment and/or retention issues that involve a need to consider remuneration, a variable supplementary payment may be considered.

8. The University regards promotion to professor as a mark of distinction and is only to award such promotions where an academic staff member has demonstrated professional and academic eminence at an international level, and in accordance with the highest ethical standards.


Note: these promotion procedures do not apply to promotions to Professor, please review the Professor Promotion Procedures.

Promotion Round

9. There is only one promotion round in each year and the applicant must provide their application to the academic head by 15 August.

10. The dean or the Vice-Chancellor (for associate professor promotions), on the recommendation of the academic head, may or may not allow a special application for promotion to proceed to the Faculty Staffing Committee (FSC) at other times of the year.

Note: The applicant may or may not have applied recently for promotion.


11. The academic head is to encourage all worthy candidates to apply for promotion.

Note - These discussions may occur during the Academic Development and Performance Review (ADPR) process. It is the responsibility of the academic head to ensure that all staff are aware of the standards expected of staff for promotion, as outlined in the relevant Academic Standards.

12. Staff members may apply for promotion after being employed and having their performance evaluated for at least four teaching sessions (semesters, summer school, quarters) at the University, or one year for research only staff, and must demonstrate that they meet the standards for promotion to the grade sought.

Note: Staff members can apply from any step to a promotion point. The promotion points are: Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow 1; Senior Tutor 8; Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow 6 and Associate Professor.

13. In applying the standards, the University is to take account of achievements from the whole of the applicant’s academic career.

14. Where there are clearly recognised relative weightings between teaching, research and service for the applicant, these weightings must be drawn to the attention of, and be taken into account by, the department or School Staffing Committee (DSAC) and FSC through the application form.

15. Each applicant is required to complete the relevant application form.

Note - The academic career portfolio contains the information required for the application for promotion.

16. The Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Tertiary Education Committee (TEC) assessed quality scores are not to be used as criteria for the consideration of promotion.

Note - refer to PBRF and the Use of Information HR Policy.

17. The applicant must ensure that the application form includes adequate information on teaching, research and service (as relevant to their terms of appointment) to support their application.

18. Further supporting documentation may be provided to the academic head and the DSAC.

Note - this supporting documentation will not be provided to the FSC, unless the FSC seeks the material.

19. It is the responsibility of the DSAC to provide advice through the academic head to the FSC on the achievements reported in the applications and any supporting documentation.

20. It is particularly important that if an applicant is making a case for promotion that relies more heavily on one of the three areas of performance that there is strong supporting evidence is supplied that relates to this area.

21. Where an applicant has serious concerns that the FSC may not be receiving appropriate advice to make a particular promotion decision, the applicant may write to the FSC through the faculty office to apprise the FSC of their concerns.

Departmental Staffing Advisory Committee

22. All applications for promotion up to and including Associate Professor are to be reviewed by a Departmental Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC).

23. The DSAC is established to improve the range of advice and the quality of promotion decisions.

24. The academic head is to convene an appropriate DSAC comprising normally two to six departmental, school, discipline or other appropriate members.

25. The academic head or a professor is normally to be chair of the DSAC.

26. The DSAC is to comprise other colleagues who are not seeking promotion, bearing in mind equity principles, issues of conflicts of interest, and the need for strict confidentiality.

27. The DSAC is to provide advice through the academic head to the FSC on the applicant’s contribution (as applicable depending on their grade):

  • quality of publications or other research outputs
  • teaching achievements
  • service contributions

28. The DSAC is also to consider and advise on the reports of the DSAC advisors and assess the merits of the applicant according to the grounds outlined in:

  • the relevant Academic Standards policy
  • Faculty Practice Notes, and
  • the Academic Staff Collective Agreement (ACA)

29. The report of the academic head must include advice concerning the views of the DSAC.

Note - There is no separate DSAC report.

30. The DSAC is to rank applicants where there is more than one applicant for promotion to a grade.

31. The ranking is to be strictly confidential between the DSAC, the academic head and the FSC.

32. Where the academic head’s advice differs from that of the DSAC, the academic head is to present both views through the Academic Head Report.

33. The Academic Head Report and/or referee reports are not provided to the DSAC.

Note - as the DSAC is intended to provide detailed disciplinary advice, neither a DSAC nor DSAC advisors are required in a one-department faculty. The FSC is able to provide this level of expertise.

Academic head advice to FSC

34. The academic head must forward all applications to the FSC irrespective of whether or not the academic head is supportive of a particular promotion.

35. The academic head is to provide to the FSC a completed Academic Head Report Form which:

  • compares the staff member’s application with the required standards for promotion summarises the considerations of the DSAC (as applicable)
  • appends the relevant advisors’ report (as applicable)
  • reports lists those consulted

Note - the Academic Head Report Form is not provided to the DSAC.

36. Where the academic head is an applicant for promotion, the dean or nominee will carry out the functions of the head for all promotions from that department to the grade or level sought by the head.

Faculty Staffing Committee

Note: An FSC is to be constituted in accordance with the Faculty Staffing Committee Policy and Procedures.

37. The FSC is to include an external faculty representative to assist with consistency in University-wide decision making.

38. The FSC is to be chaired by the dean.

39. The specific approval of the Vice-Chancellor is required to delegate this responsibility.

40. Prior to considering any promotion applications, the FSC is to discuss the interpretation of the Academic Standards Policy in the context of the disciplines of the faculty.

41. The FSC is to consider, in strict confidence (with each FSC member having a copy available):

  • the application and supporting evidence the academic head report
  • the DSAC advisor reports or referee report (as applicable)
  • any ranking information from the academic head
  • other directly relevant reports (for example any report from a research funding body)

42. The FSC may seek such additional information as it sees fit.

43. he FSC must not consider hearsay information.

44. The academic head may discuss their report with the FSC on the request of the head or FSC.

45. The head must retire from the meeting prior to the FSC deciding on its recommendation/decision.

46. In exceptional circumstances, the FSC or applicant may seek an interview between the FSC and applicant.

47. If the FSC is on the point of reaching a decision that is not in accord with the recommendation of the academic head, then the FSC may consult the head.

Advice of the FSC

48. The FSC is to recommend promotion, or recommend that promotion be declined, to the dean and UASC (in the case of applications to Associate Professor).

49. The recommendation of the FSC must be based on consideration of the grounds outlined in the Academic Standards Policy.

50. The FSC is to determine if there are issues that are to be brought to the attention of the academic head.

The dean

51. The dean is to consider the recommendation of the FSC. If the dean’s view is contrary to the FSC’s view, the dean is to discuss the matter with the FSC further prior to making a decision.

52. For all applications below Associate Professor, the dean is then to approve or decline to approve promotion. For applications for promotion to Associate Professor, the dean is to recommend that the promotion be awarded or declined and follow the steps outlined in the Associate Professor Promotion Procedures, Recommendation of the FSC to UASC.

53. Brief reasons for the decision of the dean are to be recorded on the FSC/Dean Decisions - Academic Promotions Form and forwarded by the dean to the Director of Human Resources.

54. The dean is to write a letter to each applicant and provide a copy of these letters to Human Resources. Each letter is to include an invitation to discuss the decision (whether approved or declined) with the dean as chair of the FSC, or other person, to assist with guiding the applicant’s career.

55. The faculty office is to hold the promotion application file for at least two years, after which it may be destroyed.

56. The applicant may request the return of material provided for the application.

Equal opportunities in promotion

57. In order to support the University's commitment to the principle and practice of equity and promotions processes are to be monitored and reports provided on equity, fairness and consistency of process.

58. Professorial promotions are to be monitored by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity).

Part time, fixed term and research contract staff members

59. Part time and staff members on fixed term appointments may apply for promotion.

60. In the event that a staff member applies for promotion that would take effect after the end of the term of the contract, any consideration of the application does not bind the University to provide employment beyond the term of the contract.

61. Staff members on appointments covered by research grants may apply for promotion and will be considered on the merit of the case presented against the criteria of this policy.

62. In cases where the research grant has not provided for the increased costs of promotion, the University is to underwrite the cost and use its best endeavours to have it met by the granting agency.

Conflicts of interest

Note - The University’s Conflict of Interest Policy should guide committees when considering applications for promotion.

63. Any conflict of interest between an applicant and a member of an FSC must be disclosed at the beginning of the meeting.

64. The chair is to determine whether the conflict is such that the conflicted member must:

  • leave the room during the discussion and recommendation
  • remain in the room but not take part in the discussion and recommendation
  • remain in the room and answer questions but not take part in the discussion and recommendation
  • if the chair determines that no conflict of interest exists, the member may participate fully in the discussion and recommendation

Note - Examples of conflict of interest are:

  • the applicant reports to the member of the FSC. This would require the member to leave the room
  • the member has been a Department or School Staffing Committee (DSAC) adviser for the applicant or a member of the DSAC considering the application. This would require the member to leave the room
  • the applicant is a relative, close friend or close collaborator. This would require the member to leave the room
  • the applicant is a colleague in the member’s department. The member may stay in the room but cannot take part in the discussion

65. The dean must delegate her/his role as chair or member of the FSC during the consideration of any applicant for whom the dean has carried out the functions of an academic head in the last two years.

Joint appointments

66. Where a staff member holds a joint appointment between two departments, the advice of both academic heads and a combined DSAC is to be considered.

Note - There will be two Academic Head Reports for the FSC.

67. Where the departments are in different faculties, the deans are to consult with the staff member and determine which FSC will consider the application for promotion. The FSC is to be advised by two nominees from the FSC of the other faculty during consideration of that application.

Disclosure of reports to applicant

68. The Academic Head Report and/or DSAC Advisor Report and/or Academic Head Advisor Report is to be disclosed to the staff member on request after the completion of the promotion round and the communication of results.

69. This report is to be used only for the promotion assessment purpose intended, and is to remain confidential to the applicant and their employment adviser.

70. Any ranking of the staff member must not be disclosed as this affects the privacy of other persons.

Non-disclosure of referee reports to applicant

71. The staff member may only seek promotion to associate professor and professor on the basis that referee reports are supplied to the University in confidence, that the reports will not be released to the staff member, and that the identity of referees nominated by the academic head or University will not be disclosed to the staff member unless their permission has been provided to the University.


72. There is to be a right of appeal against non-promotion on the grounds of a failure in procedure that is so substantial that it may have affected the decision.

73. There is to be no right of appeal against non- promotion on the grounds of the judgement exercised by the University.

74. Where a staff member has concerns about procedure, they are to discuss these first with the academic head and/or dean depending on the promotion grade sought.

75. If the staff member remains concerned about procedure, they are to then discuss this with the dean.

76. If after discussing the procedure with the dean, the staff member considers that they have grounds for appeal under this clause, they may lodge a written appeal through the dean to the Vice-Chancellor, providing such appeal is lodged within 90 days of the advice of the non-promotion decision.

77. The dean is to take such steps appropriate to resolve the concerns of the staff member.

78. Where the concerns are not resolved, the dean is to forward the appeal with a report to the Vice-Chancellor on the issues raised by the staff member.

79. The Vice-Chancellor may appoint a two or three person committee of senior academic staff to advise the Vice-Chancellor.

80. The committee is to discuss the appeal with the staff member (and employee representative, if any).

81. The committee is then to consult with the Vice-Chancellor, after which it will decide the appeal.

82. The committee is to provide the decision and brief reasons for the decision to the staff member.

83. The decision is final.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head means heads of departments, schools and other teaching and research units at Level 3 in the University Organisational Structure.

Staff member means an individual that is employed by the University on a full time or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory
Owner: Human Resources Director
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Approval date: 16 May 2018
Review date: 16 May 2023