Continuation Guidelines


Academic heads, mentors and pre-continuation staff members.


These guidelines are designed to be used by academic heads, mentors and pre-continuation staff and must be read alongside the Continuation Policy and Continuation Procedures documents.


The purpose of continuation is to determine that both the individual and the organisation have made the right choice in terms of an academic career with the University of Auckland.  In the continuation period newly appointed permanent academic staff members are provided with support and advice to enable them to meet clearly outlined performance expectations.  Their performance against these expectations is considered in the continuation review process

The continuation policy and procedures outline the process for establishing clear performance expectations for newly appointed academic staff members and for providing them with appropriate academic and career guidance until such time as they apply for continuation.  They also set out the process to follow when applying for continuation and the possible outcomes of the application.  It is important that all pre-continuation staff members appointed from 1 August 2015 are aware of the content of the Continuation Policy and the Continuation Procedures. 

Staff appointed between 1 January 2015 and 31 July 2015 also use the processes outlined in these documents although they have the option to use an alternative form which does not contain objectives if they have not had objectives set.



The Continuation Policy has three requirements:

  • All new academic staff members will develop an academic career portfolio which will be built on over time and will provide the basic framework for applications for continuation and promotion
  • All newly appointed permanent academic staff members will be provided with a mentor who will work with them to enhance their ability to meet or exceed these objectives and to develop their academic career at the University
  • All newly appointed permanent academic staff members will meet with their academic heads within the first six months of appointment to establish objectives for the next three year period. These objectives will be monitored and reviewed at least annually

The following material is intended to provide helpful information for all those involved in continuation to ensure this process is constructive and supportive.

Academic Career Portfolio

  • The academic career portfolio (ACP) and PTF-ST academic career portfolio are the documents that will be used to provide the basic framework for all continuation and promotions applications 
  • They are based on the performance expectations for each level as 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
  • The idea behind the academic career portfolio is that it is a record of a staff member’s academic progress while employed at the University; it should be updated on a regular basis (at least annually, although six-monthly would be preferable) 
  • It is important to note that most text boxes have a limit of 500 words so there is an expectation that editing will be required with each iteration
  • Lecturers and Research Fellows need to be aware that there are no specific requirements outlined for them as there are for other grades such as SL1 and SRF1 (refer Figure 1).  Instead they should be providing information and evidence that demonstrate they are meeting the standards for their level and that they are progressing towards the standards required at SL1 or SRF1
  • Figure 1 Example of how a lecturer might address this aspect of their teaching in the ACP after 18 months in post)

Academic Development:

Describe how you: (maximum 500 words)  

Have demonstrated leadership in independent development of courses, course materials and curriculum (Note: not required for SRF1 and SRF6)    R   R R R
Have carried out successful course or programme direction   R   R R R
Have led successful academic programme initiatives that have demonstrably enhanced the quality and delivery of courses and/or programmes at the University         R R
As a lecturer I have worked closely with colleagues to develop content and course materials for a new course in digital technologies which was offered for the first time this year.  My colleagues and I co-taught this paper and I was responsible for the sole delivery of 6 lectures for which I received positive lecturer evaluations. Next year I am timetabled to deliver most of the lectures and will trial a new online assessment that I developed in response to student feedback from last year which stated that given the nature of the course we should be more innovative in our assessment methodologies.  The plan is that I will then take over as course director the following year.
  • While Professional Teaching Fellows have clearly defined expectations at PTF1 for some standards, they should also show that they are making progress towards meeting the PTF2 standards where appropriate


  • The Continuation Procedures state that within six months of appointment, the academic head is to assign a mentor 
  • The purpose of the mentor is to provide additional support to new staff members during their pre-continuation term
  • The mentor can help the academic head and staff member set realistic objectives and should meet regularly with the new staff member (at least once every three months) to ensure that the staff member is on track or to suggest any appropriate amendments that should be discussed with the academic head 
  • The mentor should also be able to help the new staff member navigate the academic unit/faculty and University structures and processes.
  • Where possible the mentor should be at least one grade above the new staff member.  In the case of a newly appointed professor, the mentor should be a professor in the same faculty
  • Mentoring is recognised by the University as a significant service contribution 
  • It is important that the academic head keeps in touch with both the mentor and the new staff member to ensure that the relationship is working for both parties
  • It may, from time to time, be necessary to appoint a new mentor if for some reason the mentor is not able to fulfil their role or the relationship is not working for one or both of the parties
  • This should not be undertaken lightly as ideally mentors should be guiding the new staff member through to making her/his continuation application. Mentors may mentor more than one new staff member at a time as appropriate
  • More information about the role of a mentor and mentee can be found on the staff intranet at Mentoring and Coaching where you can find a useful mentoring guide as well as courses provided by the University to assist with developing successful mentoring practices

Note: A mentor cannot be an applicant nominated advisor for someone he/she has mentored.


  • One of the main goals of the continuation process is to ensure that newly appointed academic staff know what was expected of them to succeed at the University of Auckland and in their application for continuation
  • In order to help them achieve this, all newly appointed permanent academic staff members will meet with their academic head in the first six months of appointment to discuss and agree a number of objectives that will help set a clear direction over the next three year (pre-continuation) period
  • It is envisaged that staff members will have objectives in each of the areas of teaching, research and service (as applicable to their role)
  • Professional teaching fellows will have teaching and service objectives, while a lecturer will have objectives in all three areas
  • The objectives will reflect the standards of the grade the new staff member is appointed to
  • Objectives for lecturers should be different in scale and complexity from those set for a newly appointed professor

The meeting

  • The main purpose of the initial meeting is to start the academic career development discussion which will continue at each successive academic development and performance review (ADPR). However, the documented objectives for each staff member are the key output of this meeting
  • All parties should come to the meeting prepared to discuss what the staff member hopes to achieve over the next three to five years.  This could include what their research outputs might be, where they might look for funding, what contribution they can make to teaching, when they should be looking to be promoted to the next grade and what they need to accomplish to do so
  • The discussion will consider when staff members should be applying for Research and Study Leave and how they can best make use of that leave, what professional development is available to them (PTF) and what contribution they can make to the academic unit, faculty, University, discipline and/or profession/community
  • Once this discussion has occurred, objectives can be formulated to assist in achieving the required outcomes

Objective setting

  • Objectives can be written by either the academic head or the staff member and should be recorded on the Application for Continuation or PTF-ST Continuation Application form.  Objectives should then be reviewed and if necessary amended at each subsequent ADPR

Writing smart objectives

  • Objectives should be SMART.  That is, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound


The objective should contain some of the following: what, where, why and who


How much, how many, how will the staff member know the objective has been accomplished?


Is this possible? Are the appropriate resources available?


Is this objective relevant to the staff member’s role/grade, career development plan, and academic unit/faculty/University strategy plan?

Time bound

What is the timeframe for completion? What are the milestones (what should be achieved each year)? Is the timeframe realistic?

  • The following pages contain examples of possible objectives that may be useful in starting the process
  • Please note that it is important to be realistic when setting objectives.  The number and complexity of objectives will relate to the grade to which the staff member has been appointed
  • It is expected that a new staff member will have three-five objectives in each category


  • The following objectives are examples only and if used should be modified according to the requirements of the academic unit and disciplinary area 
  • Any numbers used are for the purposes of demonstration only
  • Please see objective setting for continuation – examples (link) for a list of the types of activities/goals that can be turned into SMART objectives for each disciplinary area
Example Research Objectives   


Example Objective



Lecturer/Research Fellow

Submit for publication at least two articles based on your PhD within the first 12 months of appointment. In addition submit at least three articles for publications in national and/or Australasian journals by July 2018. (In your objectives you should name the journals).

Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow

Apply for two internal or external grants within the first two years of appointment

Associate Professor

Present a minimum of three international meetings/conferences in the pre-continuation period. Two of these should be as an invited speaker.


Become a mentor for at least two early career academics in your academic unit or faculty after 12 months of appointment and prior to three years of service being completed.

Example Teaching Objectives   


Example Objective




Develop a new set of lectures in (specify course here) to be given in Semester 2 2016. The lectures will be evaluated by students and peer reviewed.  Changes that result from evaluation and review should be implemented for 2017

Senior Lecturer (and potentially Senior Research Fellow)

Begin co-supervision of at least two Honours and two Masters candidates.

Associate Professor

Recruit and begin supervising at least two doctoral candidates in 2016 with at least one new candidate per year after that in the pre-continuation period


Contribute to teaching on at least one undergraduate course and one post-graduate course and develop one new course in either area

Note – all permanent staff members who are new to teaching must enrol in and complete the Teaching Catalyst Programme run by the Centre for Learning and Research (CLeaR) within the next 12 months. It is strongly recommended that all staff new to teaching at the University of Auckland should also have this as an objective.

Note - While specific activities for Professional Teaching Fellows have not been separately identified many of the teaching and service examples could be used when setting objectives for PTFs. 

Example Service and Leadership Objectives   


Example Objective




Volunteer for at least one service role in the department/school which you will fulfil for a minimum of two years pre-continuation. (Service role to be agreed and named)

Senior Lecturer /Senior Research Fellow

Establish a connection to at least one professional or disciplinary group (specific groups should be named here) by the end of 2016.

Associate Professor

Make an active contribution to at least one faculty/University committee and undertake that role for at least 12 months prior to continuation


Be a member of at least one national or international external professional or disciplinary group.

Note – all service and leadership contributions should be aligned to the Leadership Framework

Further support

If have any feedback as to how these guidelines could be improved or require further assistance with Objective Setting please contact your faculty HR manager or advisor  


The following definitions apply to this document:

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

Mentor means an academic staff member who provides additional support to a new staff member during their pre-continuation term. A mentor will be at least one grade above the new staff member.  In the case of a newly appointed professor, the mentor should be a professor in the same faculty.

Staff members 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

Owner: Director, Human Resources  

Content Manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory

Date approved: 19 April 2018

Review date:  19 April 2021