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Higher Education Academic Promotions Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) The Higher Education Academic Promotion Policy aims to appropriately recognise performance and leadership in academic work at Victoria University. Academic work includes teaching and learning, research, creativity and scholarship, academic leadership, engagement with industry, professions and community and service to the University.

(2) This Policy supports the career development of academic staff through promotion to higher academic classification levels. The Policy must be read in conjunction with the Victoria University Higher Education Academic Promotion Procedures. The Policy and Procedures apply to all members of Academic Staff, including academic staff with 'Research Only" appointments with the University.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(3) This policy applies to the promotion of higher education academic staff at Victoria University.

(4) It does not apply to:

  1. The promotion of Vocational Education staff, or
  2. The promotion of Professional staff.
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Section 3 - Definitions

(5) "Academic Classification" refers to the classification levels of academic work outlined in the Academic Classification Policy. For the purpose of Academic Promotions this does not include specific increments within the Academic Classification Level.

(6) "Applicant" is a person who has applied for a position.

(7) "Appointment" is the process by which an offer of employment is negotiated and formally proposed and consequently accepted.

(8) "Conflict of Interest" a conflict of interest may occur when a person in a decision making role in relation to academic promotion has an interest in the outcome (separate from their professional role), and which may appear to an independent observer to be sufficient to influence the objective exercise of his/her professional obligations or official duties.

(9) "Continuing Employment" means employment with no fixed end date. Where there is continuing funding and a need for the position into the foreseeable future, the position should be advertised as a continuing position.

(10) "Continuing Contingent Funding" is limited term funding provided from external sources, but not funding that is part of an operating grant from government or funding comprised of payments of fees made by or on behalf of students.

(11) "Delegated Officer" is an incumbent officer who holds a position which has been given a delegated authority within the People and Culture Delegations Policy.

(12) "ERA" refers to the Excellence for Research in Australia initiative and frameworks.

(13) "Equitable/ equality" means open to all without systemic, hidden or apparent bias on the grounds of any attribute prohibited by State and Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Legislation.

(14) "Fixed Term Employment" means employment with a specified start date to a specified expiry date. At the end of the fixed-term period, employment with the University ceases.

(15) "MSAL" refers to the Minimum Standard for Academic Level outlined in the Academic Classification Policy.

(16) "Promotions Panels" are panels established by the University for the purpose of assessing applicants' suitability for promotion.

(17) "Research Only Appointment" refers to a specific type of academic contract of employment where duties undertaken are restricted or substantially restricted to research only endeavours.

(18) "University" is Victoria University.

(19) "VUSAL" refers to the Victoria University Standard Academic Level outlined in the Academic Classification Policy.

(20) Victoria University (Academic & General Staff) Enterprise Agreement (current version)

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

Part A - Principles

(21) Victoria University's promotion process is guided by the following principles:

  1. Applications for promotion will be assessed on merit.
  2. Equality of opportunity and its underpinning principles, equity, diversity and social justice form the basis of conferring all forms of employment benefits at the University, including promotion. The Academic Promotions Policy and Procedures are informed by Victoria University's commitment to equity and diversity as expressed by the University's Equity and Diversity Policy for Staff and related or subsequent policies. Decisions and processes will not be influenced by irrelevant attributes or those upon which discrimination is unlawful, as proscribed by Equal Opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation;
  3. All staff involved in promotion processes must uphold the principles of confidentiality and privacy. Refer to the University's Staff Code of Conduct and Privacy Policy for further information.

(22) The criterion by which applications for promotion are assessed include:

  1. qualifications
  2. teaching and learning (including Honors and Postgraduate research supervision)
  3. research
  4. creativity and scholarship
  5. academic leadership
  6. engagement with industry, professions and community and
  7. service to the University.

(23) Different types of academic work will result in different strengths or focuses and result in the allocation of different weightings on particular criterion.

(24) The University has set minimum weightings for each of the criteria areas based on its underlying expectations for academic impacts and outcomes across criteria.

(25) Consideration of applications for promotion is driven by evidence of outcome and impact within the University and externally in alignment with the Minimum Standards for Academic Levels and Victoria University Standards for Academic Levels.

(26) An applicant's portfolio of evidence should address the strategic directions of the University as contained in the 'Victoria University Strategic Plan 2012 — 2016: Excellent, Engaged and Accessible', and other strategic level documents relevant to the criteria addressed.

(27) Assessment of applications will be guided by internal and external comparative benchmarking, including where appropriate the involvement of external assessors in addition to referees.

(28) There are no quotas on the number of academic staff promoted and as a result the number of successful applicants and their disbursement across Colleges will vary from year to year;

Part B - Eligibility

(29) All academic staff with ongoing and continuing contingent funded appointments (full-time or fractional), whose probation has been confirmed prior to the date upon which applications close are eligible to apply for promotion.

(30) Academic staff who have a fixed-term appointment (full-time or fractional) whose probation has been confirmed prior to the date upon which applications close and whose anniversary of three years' service with the University falls within the calendar year within which application is made and who have two years remaining to serve on their contract of employment, are eligible to apply for promotion.

  1. In the event that the person is offered a further contract of employment with the University, subject to there being at least two years remaining to serve on their contract of employment at the time of application.

(31) Applicants who have been employed by the University under a fixed-term or fixed task Research Only Appointment, whose probation has been confirmed prior to the date upon which applications close are eligible to apply for promotion.

(32) It is a pre-requisite to application that applicants have completed their Staff Performance and Development Plan cycle for the relevant year (including development of a Plan and a rated review of the Plan). Staff will not be penalised in the event of exceptional and unforeseen circumstances such as long-term leave or illness or where the Supervisor/ Manager has not completed required actions to facilitate agreement of a Plan or review of a Plan.

(33) Applicants who are not successful in gaining promotion cannot normally reapply in consecutive years.

(34) Applicants can normally only seek appointment to the academic classification immediately above their current classification. See the Academic Promotions Procedures regarding exceptional circumstances.

Part C - Promotion Panels

(35) There shall be a University-wide Higher Education Academic Promotion system, with final approval of Panel composition and recommendations by the Vice-Chancellor. Refer to the Higher Education Academic Promotions Procedures for information relating to Panel composition and proceedings.

(36) Promotion panels shall have an Equity and Diversity observer nominated by the Vice President, People & Culture. However, non-attendance by the observer does not preclude the Panel from obtaining a quorum or from proceeding with deliberations.

(37) Where an application is made by an Indigenous Australian staff member, the relevant promotion panel will be increased by the inclusion of an academic who identifies as an Indigenous Australian. This person will be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor and may be a staff member of Victoria University or an external representative.

Promotion to Academic Level B or C

(38) All applications for promotion to level B or C will be considered by the relevant PVC Colleges and Distinctive Specialisations Panel:

  1. PVC Colleges and Distinctive Specialisations with responsibility for the Colleges of: Arts; Education, Law and Justice; and Engineering and Science.
  2. PVC Colleges and Distinctive Specialisations with responsibility for the Colleges of Business; Health and Biomedicine; and Sport and Exercise Science.

(39) Applicants for Levels B and C who are not from a particular College should submit their applications under the panel most relevant to their discipline.

Promotion to Academic Level D or E

(40) A University Promotion Panel will consider applications for promotion to academic level D and E.

Part D - Assessment

(41) Panel members assess each application and make judgements as to whether the applicant is performing to the expectations for their current Academic classification level or at the level sought through promotion. This assessment will be based on the application, supervisor, referee and assessor reports in reference to the criteria the applicant has nominated in accordance with the Procedures.

Referees and Assessors

(42) Applicants for promotion must nominate two academic/professional referees, one of which must be external to the University.

(43) For applications to levels D and E the Chair of the Panel will also seek an independent external assessor's report from a person in a field appropriate to the application, based upon advice from the supervisor.

(44) Normally the Panel would not obtain an Assessor for applicants to Academic Level B or C. However, an external assessor (from a field appropriate to the application) may be approached at the discretion of the Chair of the Panel, or, approached as a result of an appeal process.

Part E - Application

(45) Applications will be restricted in length and will be required to follow a prescribed format as outlined in the Higher Education Academic Promotion Procedures .

(46) The emphasis within the application should be upon evidence, outcomes and impact rather than assertion and activity alone. A guideline as to the evidence suggested to be contained in the portfolio within the application is contained within the Higher Education Academic Promotion Procedures.

Preparation and Information Sessions

(47) Applicants are strongly encouraged to approach their Dean of College for general advice and engage a Mentor/ Advisor to assist in the promotion process.

(48) The University will provide a minimum of one prospective applicant information session in each promotion round to assist applicants with general information regarding preparing an application for promotion.

(49) The University will offer training to members of Promotion Panels. New panel members are expected to attend training or to be trained on an individual basis by the Chair of the Panel.

Notification of Outcomes and Feedback

(50) Applicants will be notified in writing of the status of their application as successful or unsuccessful. All applicants will be offered a verbal feedback session with the Chair of the panel, or other nominated panel member, following announcement of decisions concerning applications for promotion. Applicants will normally be provided with a summary of feedback on their application from the Panel.

Part F - Appeals

(51) Academic staff may appeal against promotion decisions affecting them on the grounds that the University Promotion Panel has not followed correct procedures or has breached the principles of procedural fairness which, in the opinion of the appellant, materially and adversely affected a decision on an application for promotion. Refer to the Higher Education Academic Promotions Procedures for information on the appeals process.

Part G - Accountabilities

Implementation Plan

(52) The Policy, Procedures and relevant information sessions will be periodically brought to the attention of relevant staff at the time of the call for promotion applications via global announcement and updated intranet content on the People and Culture Intranet site.


(53) People and Culture will strictly monitor compliance of the Promotions Policy and Procedures on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Distinctive Specialisations).

Effectiveness of this Policy

(54) The periodic Policy review will take into account all feedback received on Policy operation. At the end of each promotion process, the Promotions Panel will provide feedback on both the effectiveness of the Policy and Procedures in delivering applications of the required standard and on the efficient management of the associated processes.

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Section 5 - References

(55) Academic Classification Policy (containing Minimum Standards for Academic Levels and Victoria University Standards for Academic Levels)

(56) Australian Research Council - ERA

(57) Equity and Diversity Policy for Staff

(58) Measures of Individual Research Activity Policy

(59) Privacy Policy

(60) Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedures

(61) Staff Code of Conduct

(62) Yannoneit Employment Strategy

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Section 6 - Procedures

(63) Academic Promotions Procedures

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Section 7 - Guidelines

(64) Nil