Promotion Policy and Procedures


All academic staff members


To clarify the approach to promotion 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 and Professors and the Academic Standards for 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 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


Equal opportunities in promotion

9.    The University is committed to the principle and practice of equity and promotions processes are to be monitored and reports provided on equity, fairness and consistency of process

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

Part time, fixed term and research contract staff

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

12.    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

13.    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  

14.    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

15.    An applicant must not serve as a member of the FSC during promotion considerations

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

17.   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

18.    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

19.    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

20.    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

21.    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

22.    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

23.    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

24.    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


25.    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

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

27.    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

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

29.    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

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

31.    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

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

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

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

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

36.    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

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory

Owner: Human Resources Director 

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor 

Approval date: 01 August 2015    

Review date: 01 August 2018