Associate Professor Promotion Procedures


Academic staff members applying for promotion to associate professor


To set out the criteria and procedures applied by the University in considering applications for promotion to associate professor.

Nothing in this document is to override any collective agreement (CA) or any individual employment agreement (IEA); where there is conflict in the wording, the CA and/or IEA is to prevail.


Promotion round

1.    There is only one promotion round in each year, and each applicant must provide their application to the dean by 15 August

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

3.    The FSC is to proceed to consider the application only where there are exceptional circumstances and where significant additional information has become available.

Note - the applicant may or may not have applied recently for promotion


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

5.    It is the responsibility of the academic head to ensure that all staff members are aware of the standards expected of them for promotion, as outlined in the Academic Standards for Research Fellows, Senior Research Fellows, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors and Professors Policy  referred to the Academic Standards Policy

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

7.    Where there are clearly recognised relative weightings between teaching, research and service for the staff member, these weightings must be drawn to the attention of, and be taken into account by, the Department or School Staffing Committee (DSAC), FSC and University Academic Staffing Committee (UASC) through the application form

8.    Each applicant is required to complete the application form

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

Note - refer to PBRF – Use of Information HR policy

10.    The applicant must ensure that the application form includes adequate information on teaching, research and service to support their application

11.    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

12.    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

13.    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 that relates to this area

14.     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

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

Departmental Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC)

15.    The academic head is to convene an appropriate departmental/school/discipline/other staffing advisory committee (DSAC) comprising normally two to six departmental, school, discipline or other appropriate members

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

17.    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

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

19.    The DSAC is to provide advice through the academic head to the FSC on the applicant’s:

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

20.    The DSAC is to assess the merits of the applicant according to the grounds outlined in:

  •  Academic Standards Policy          
  •  Faculty Practice Notes, and
  •  Academic Staff Collective Agreement 

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

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

22.    The report of the academic head is to include advice concerning the views of the DSAC

Note - there is no separate DSAC report

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

Note - neither the Academic Head Report nor any Referee Report is provided to the DSAC

Note - as the DSAC is intended to provide detailed disciplinary advice, a DSAC is not required in a one-department faculty as the FSC is able to provide this level of expertise

Referee reports

24.    Three external referees are to be asked to provide an assessment of the applicant’s merits and achievements as compared with their peers within the discipline nationally and internationally based on a review of the application

25.    The applicant is to designate one of the referees, and contact the referee to ensure that they are willing to assist

26.    The academic head is to designate two referees

27.    The academic head may consult with persons other than the applicant about potential referees

28.    The academic head is to advise HR of the names and details of each referee

29.    Referee reports are not available to the applicant

Academic head advice to Faculty Staffing Committee

30.    The academic head must forward all applications to the FSC irrespective of whether or not the head has supported a particular promotion

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

  • compares the applicant’s  application with the required standards for promotion
  • summarises the considerations of the DSAC
  • lists those consulted

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

32.    Where an academic head is an applicant for promotion to associate professor, the dean or nominee is to carry out the functions of the head for all promotions from that department to this grade

Faculty Staffing Committee (FSC)

33.    A FSC is to be constituted in accordance with the Faculty Staffing Committee Policy

34.    The FSC must include a member of the UASC for the purpose of considering applications for promotion to assist with University-wide equity in decision making

35.    The committee is to be chaired by the dean

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

37.    The dean with the academic head must ensure that there is clear detailed evidence for the FSC (and the UASC) of research, teaching and service achievements

Note - prior to considering any promotion applications, the FSC should discuss the interpretation of the Academic Standards policy in the context of the disciplines of the faculty

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

  • the application
  • the Academic Head Report
  • the Referee Reports - any ranking information from the academic head
  • other directly relevant reports (for example any report from a research funding body)

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

40.    The FSC must not consider hearsay information

41.    The academic head may discuss his/her report with the FSC on the request of the head or FSC

42.    The head must retire from the meeting prior to the FSC deciding on its recommendation

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

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

Recommendation of the FSC to the UASC

45.    All applications for promotion to associate professor are to be forwarded to the UASC

46.    The FSC is to recommend to UASC that the promotion be awarded or declined

47.    The FSC advises the UASC on every application for promotion to associate professor

48.    Both the views of the FSC and the views of the dean will be provided to the UASC by the dean

49.    If the view of the dean is different to the FSC, the dean must discuss this with the FSC prior to making the recommendation

50.    Where the dean has not recommended promotion and the UASC supports this decision, the dean is to write a letter to the applicant for distribution through HR

51.    HR must ensure there is a letter ready for mailing to each applicant

52.    Each letter is to include an invitation to discuss the decision with the dean as Chair of the FSC, or other person, to assist with guiding the applicant’s career.

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

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

Dean’s advice for the UASC

55. The dean, as Chair of the FSC, is to provide to HR for UASC consideration:

  • a completed FSC Report for UASC – Promotion to Associate Professor Form for each applicant considered worthy of promotion to associate professor
  • a ranking of all faculty applicants for associate professor
  • any ranking provided by the academic head
  • copies of the application, referees’ reports and other material for all applicants
  • a copy of the FSC Decision Form, with brief reasons for each decision to recommend or decline promotion to associate professor


56.    The UASC is to consider in strict confidence:

  • the application
  • Academic Head Report to the FSC
  • FSC Report for UASC - Promotion to Associate Professor
  • any ranking information from the FSC
  • referee reports
  • other directly relevant reports (for example any report from a research funding body)

57.    The UASC may call the dean to present on a specific application, and in particular if the UASC is coming to a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor which is different from that of the dean

58.    The UASC is to recommend to the Vice-Chancellor on all applications for promotion to the grade of associate professor which are presented to it

59.    The recommendation of the UASC and brief reasons for the recommendation are to be recorded in a standard format during the meeting


60.    Where the Vice-Chancellor’s view is contrary to the UASC’s view, the Vice-Chancellor is to discuss the matter with the UASC prior to making a decision

61.    Where the Vice-Chancellor’s view is contrary to the dean’s view, the Vice-Chancellor is to advise the dean of this view

62.    The Vice-Chancellor is to decide on each application, and advise the dean of the decision(s)

63.    The Vice-Chancellor is to write to each applicant with the decision and provide an invitation to discuss the decision


The following definitions apply to these procedures:

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

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full time or part time basis

Referee means an external individual to the University who will:

  • be of high international standing
  • normally be at the grade of Professor
  • be from the discipline, or an allied discipline, of the staff member
  • not be a recent collaborator with the applicant in research

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory

Owner: Human Resources Director

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor

Approved date: 01 August 2015

Review date: 01 August 2018