Professor Promotion Procedures


All academic staff members 


To set out the criteria and procedures applied by the University in considering applications for promotion to 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 the applicants must provide their applications in electronic form to the dean by 1 July

2.    The dean must forward the applications and their dean's reports in electronic form to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) by 15 July

Note - applications involve a number of external referees and may take some time to process

3.    The Vice-Chancellor, on the recommendation of the dean, may permit the consideration of out of round applications where the promotion may be critical to the strategic development of the University

4.    The out of round process may not be used within twelve months of an unsuccessful application for promotion to professor


5.    The University is to apply the following criteria when considering applications for promotion to professor:

  • academic standards for research fellows, senior research fellows, lecturers, senior lecturers, associate professors and professors
  • applicants for promotion to the grade of professor must have achieved, demonstrated and maintained a profound understanding of their discipline, a capacity to extend knowledge in that discipline, and the ability to communicate the results of scholarly endeavour in, and the precepts of, the discipline to students at undergraduate and graduate level, peers and others

6.    As a professor may be required to serve as academic head or to make an equivalent contribution to leadership in the University for a term or terms, it is also a normal requirement that she or he demonstrate qualities as an academic leader and manager

Note - these include an ability to foster academic achievement and excellence in others and to identify and exploit new opportunities in teaching, research and the provision of services for the benefit of the department

7.    A professor must also be able to lead the development of the academic discipline within the University and the community and to engage in policy and strategic development of the University as a whole

8.    Staff members are to apply for promotion to professor through the dean to the University Academic Staffing Committee (UASC)

9.    The dean must impartially encourage worthy candidates to apply for promotion on their merits

10.    Staff members may apply for promotion to professor after being employed and having their performance evaluated for at least four teaching sessions (semesters, summer school, quarters) at the University

11.    In the case of an application being unsuccessful, and unless the UASC recommends otherwise, the applicant must defer a further application for two years (no exceptions) from the time of the unsuccessful application

12.    Applicants are expected to document thoroughly a sustained, exceptional contribution to teaching and research

13.    Evidence in support of a claim for scholarly eminence in a discipline will include an appropriate range of the items listed in Appendix 1

14.     Applicants must ensure that such evidence is referred to in the application and also elaborate their specific plans for the continued development of their research and teaching contributions for at least the next three years

15.    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 UASC through the application form

16.    Each applicant is required to complete the application form

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

Dean and dean’s report

17.    The dean is to advise the UASC and its sub-committees by way of a written report submitted through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

18.    The dean will consult with the academic head and should consult other senior members of staff in the discipline or associated disciplines

19.    The dean’s report must:

  • provide thorough, impartial and analytical advice on the merits of application against the requirements of this policy;
  • a clear assessment of teaching, research and service evidence in the application;
  • rank the standing and impact of journals used for key publications (after consultation with the academic head or other professorial staff)

20.    The dean is to rank the application in relation to other applicants for promotion to professor, and assess the application in relation to standards that prevail for members of the professoriate


21.    The applicant must provide the names, addresses, fax numbers and email addresses of six possible external referees, along with a brief comment on why they have been chosen and the relationship they have to the applicant

22.    The Promotion Review Panel will determine which of these referees will be chosen

23.    At least two of the applicant’s nominated referees will always be selected but the panel may select up to four referees independently

24.    Applicants may contact their nominated referees but are to advise only that they may be approached to provide a reference

25.    Each referee must:

  • be from internationally well-regarded institutions such as the Group of Eight universities or similar
  • 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

26.    The referees must be asked to provide an assessment of the applicant’s merits and achievements as compared with their peers within the discipline nationally and internationally by reviewing the application

27.    Referee reports are not to be available to the applicant (refer to Non-Disclosure of Referee Reports to Applicant in the Promotions Policy)


28.    The University may seek the views of a moderator in addition to those of referees

Note - a moderator will be selected who has a broad view of the discipline

29.    The moderator is to act as an adviser to the UASC and its subcommittee, and must not be a referee or recent collaborator with the applicant

Note - they will be able to interpret the advice of the independent referee reports, and weigh these reports with the other available evidence

30.    The moderator must have no decision-making responsibilities

University Academic Staffing Committee

31.    The UASC is to establish a six person Promotion to Professor Sub Committee (PPSC) to:

  • consider all applications and recommend to the Vice-Chancellor as to which applications should proceed to referees
  • recommend to the Vice-Chancellor the membership of at least two four person Promotion Review Panels (PRP), with at least one panel for applicants from the Faculties of:

          Science / Engineering / Medical and Health Sciences

          Arts / Law / Business and Economics / Creative Arts and Industries/ Education

32.    Each panel is to comprise at least two members of the PPSC, and up to two co-opted members

33.    The panel will be chosen taking into account expertise, diversity and impartiality of decision making


PPSC assesses applications and dean’s report

34.    The PPSC is to consider the following documentation in relation to each applicant:

  • the application
  • the report of dean
  • other directly relevant reports
  • the Academic Standards Policy

35.    The PPSC may seek expert advice by temporary secondment of an advisor to the committee

36.    The PPSC is to consider whether the application should proceed to the next stage, or not

37.    The PPSC may refer the application back to the applicant to improve the presentation of the evidence

38.    The PPSC is to recommends to the Vice-Chancellor whether the application is or is not to proceed to the referee stage

39.    Where the PPSC recommends that the application is not to proceed, it will provide a short report with brief reasons regarding its recommendation for the consideration of the Vice-Chancellor

40.    Once the Vice-Chancellor had considered the recommendations of the PPSC and approved or declined these, applicants are to be advised as to whether their application is to proceed to referees

PRP determines referees and seeks referee reports

41.    The PRP is to select referees from the list provided by the applicant and any other referees that the PRP considers appropriate

42.    The application may proceed on the evidence available if a referee report(s) missing

PRP considers referee reports

43.    The PRP is to consider all available referee reports and determine whether the application and referee reports are to proceed to be considered by a moderator

PRP considers moderator’s report

44.    The PRP is to determine whether it seeks the views of a moderator. In such cases the PRP will consider the Moderator’s Report and will make a recommendation to the UASC

45.    The moderator is an adviser to the subcommittee, and must not be a referee or recent collaborator with the applicant

46.    The moderator may recommend a course of action but has no decision-making responsibilities

PRP recommendation

47.    The PRP must provide a short report with brief reasons regarding its recommendation for consideration by UASC

UASC considers PRP recommendation

48.    The Vice-Chancellor and the members of the UASC are to consider:

  • the recommendation of the PRP
  • the application 
  • the report of dean
  • other directly relevant reports
  • the standards contained in the policy

49.    The members of the UASC are to advise the Vice-Chancellor of their views


50.    The Vice-Chancellor is to consider the advice of members of the UASC, then decide on the application

51.    Where the Vice-Chancellor’s view is contrary to the advice of the members of the UASC (or the PRP), the Vice-Chancellor is to discuss the matter with the UASC prior to making a decision

52.    The Vice-Chancellor is to advise the dean, then the applicant of the decision, providing, in the case where an application has been declined, brief reasons and 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

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

Approval date: 19 April 2018

Review date: 19 April 2021