Academic Promotion Procedure

1.    Introduction
2.    Scope and eligibility
3.    Criteria
        3.1  General requirements
        3.2  Criteria for Promotion to Associate Professor (Profile Level d2) Professor (Profile Level e)
        3.3  Criteria for Accelerated Progression to Profile Level d1
4.    Procedure
        4.1  General points
        4.2  Applications for promotion
        4.3  Preparation of applications
        4.4  First Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC1)
        4.5  Second Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC2)
        4.6  University Promotions Committee (UPC)
5.    Appeals

Appendix 1:  Timetable Summary
Appendix 2:  Promotion Committee Membership
Appendix 3:  Documentation summary


1.     Introduction

1.1     The promotion procedure is an annual event, usually commencing in the Autumn term. 

1.2     Academic promotion is a peer-assessment process.  Responsibility for decision-making lies with committees comprising members of academic staff.  The procedure is supported, overseen and managed by Human Resources (HR), who retain overall responsibility for its operation.

1.3     Consideration of equality issues in line with the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy is critical to the effective operation of this procedure, which is designed to ensure consistency and fairness in decision-making, and as much transparency as is compatible with confidentiality.

2.     Scope and eligibility

2.1  Promotion

2.1.1     This procedure covers staff for promotion to profile level d2 (Associate Professor) and profile level e (Professor) on all pathways in the Academic Career Pathway framework 

2.1.2     All academic staff on profile level c and above (all pathways) are eligible to apply for promotion at any level within their existing pathway.

2.1.3     Equal consideration will be given to applications from all eligible academic staff whether they are employed on a full-time, part-time, temporary or permanent basis.  Please refer to Guidance for Promotions Committees for specific guidance in relation to this.

2.1.4     Where staff are part of a job-share, each member of staff will be treated separately for promotion purposes.

2.1.5     This procedure also applies to all honorary appointments at the equivalent levels, where the holder is seeking a change of status.

2.2 Accelerated Progression

Accelerated progression to profile level d1 is available in exceptional cases only, where individuals have demonstrated development in the role at a significantly faster rate than would normally be expected.  For further information, please refer to the Progression Procedure.

Accelerated progression applies to staff on profile levels b or c moving to level d1, within their existing pathway.

3.    Criteria

3.1  General requirements

3.1.1     Where the individual has recently switched pathways, their contribution should be considered against the criteria of their current pathway, with evidence drawn from across their academic career.   

3.1.2     If any substantial element of the job is being performed unsatisfactorily (after due consideration of any relevant equal opportunity issues), then that fact will prevent promotion even if some excellence in other aspects of the performance of the role can be demonstrated. 

3.1.3     In addition to determining excellent performance, committees must be satisfied that the role-holder meets the relevant role profile.  Where the committee cannot so satisfy itself, the individual cannot be recommended for promotion.

3.1.4     Applicants on pathways 1 or 3 must have successfully completed the relevant CREATE (or equivalent) requirements.  Please see the application forms for accelerated progression and for promotion for details.

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3.2         Criteria for Promotion Associate Professor (Profile Level d2) and Professor (Profile Level e)

3.2.1     Candidates will be assessed using the Academic Promotions Framework (PDF, 315kB), which comprises four broad categories that describe the work that is part of any academic career at the University of Bristol.  There are 15 criteria spread across the categories capturing the full extent of academic practice.  Assessment requires candidates to submit evidence against 10 out of the 15 criteria, with a different mix of criteria prescribed for each pathway.  Assessors are looking for performance that is qualitatively and decisively superior to satisfactory.  

3.3         Criteria for Accelerated Progression to Profile Level d1

3.3.1     Unlike cases of normal progression (where the criteria are based on the individual satisfactorily meeting their existing role profile requirements and showing a readiness to move to the next level), cases for accelerated progression need to evidence that the individual is already demonstrating the competencies commensurate with Profile Level d1

3.3.2     The 'burden of proof' is on the person seeking accelerated progression.   Committees must be satisfied that the case for accelerated progression has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.

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4.          Procedure

In this procedure references to University postholders shall refer to that postholder or any member of staff nominated by them to act with full authority on their behalf.

4.1       General Points

4.1.1     Promotion is based on the written evidence submitted to the committees.  

4.1.2     Where an application does not meet the designated format and standards, following the CV standards and using the template ‌application forms for accelerated progression and promotion, it will be rejected before consideration and without right of appeal.

4.1.3     Compliance with deadlines is essential and will be enforced at all stages.  

4.1.4     Promotion is determined on merit and there are no quotas for the number of promotions to be made.

4.2       Applications for promotion

4.2.1     The annual procedure is initiated by HR, reminding all eligible staff of the opportunity to be considered for promotion and advising them to submit an application if they believe they meet the relevant criteria.

Note: When preparing your case, please take a look at this additional guidanceto help you take into account the impact of Covid-19.  If there is anything that you want to include, it should be as part of your application form in the space provided.

4.2.2     Applications should be submitted to the relevant Head of School by the specified deadline, using the ‌ provided application forms and following the CV standards.‌

4.3       Preparation of applications

4.3.1     Once applications have been submitted, it is the responsibility of the Head of School to review and provide feedback to candidates on the quality of their application. Candidates may be given an opportunity to amend their applications before they are submitted to the first Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC1). It is recommended that Schools encourage early submission from applicants to enable changes to be made to applications before the deadline.

4.3.2     The Head of School must prepare a Head of School report for each candidate and commission a Teaching report for accelerated progression candidates on pathways 1 or 3 and for promotion candidates providing evidence against any of the Education criteria ‌.

4.3.3     Where it is not immediately obvious to which Faculty an application should be sent, the Head of School should consult with the individual and refer to the relevant Deans for decision. 

4.3.4     HR will review all applications to ensure they meet the relevant format, referring any concerns to the Dean for a final decision on whether the application should be allowed to proceed.

4.4       First Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC1)

4.4.1     FPC1 should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2.

4.4.2     The role of FPC1 is to review all applications on the basis of the application form, CV and the Head of School report to determine whether there is a prima facie case for promotion or accelerated progression, and to confirm the level for which they believe a prima facie case exists (which cannot be higher).   

 4.4.3     Following FPC1, HR will confirm to all candidates whether their applications are being taken forward to FPC2 and whether this is at the level sought by the candidate.  Feedback will be provided to unsuccessful candidates by the Dean and their Head of School in a meeting as soon as possible.

 4.4.4     Where a prima facie case is deemed to exist, further reports will be commissioned as detailed in Appendix 3 and the application will be put forward to FPC2. 

 4.4.5     Where a prima facie case is not deemed to exist candidates may exercise their right to appeal (see paragraph 5.1).

4.5       Second Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC2)

4.5.1     FPC2 should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2.

4.5.2     The role of FPC2 is to review all applications on the basis of the application form, CV and all written reports and, where possible, make final decisions regarding the applications.  However, where necessary, applications may be referred to University Promotions Committee (UPC) for final decisions. 

4.5.3     FPC2 may award promotion or accelerated progression to a lower level to which the candidate has applied where it considers it appropriate to do so.  

4.5.4     Following FPC2, HR will confirm outcomes to unsuccessful candidates in writing.  Feedback will be provided to unsuccessful candidates by the Dean and their Head of School in a meeting as soon as possible.  All other candidates will be notified that their application is still under consideration and formal notification of outcomes will be issued following UPC.

4.5.5     Unsuccessful candidates may exercise their right to appeal (see paragraph 5.2).  

4.6       University Promotions Committee (UPC)

4.6.1     UPC should be constituted as detailed in Appendix 2.

4.6.2     The role of UPC is to review all applications referred to them to make final decisions regarding promotion and accelerated progression. 

4.6.3     UPC may award promotion to a lower level to which the candidate has applied where it considers it appropriate to do so.  

4.6.4     Following UPC, HR will confirm final outcomes to candidates in writing, with details of how to book a feedback meeting with their Dean and Head of School. Feedback will be provided for all successful and unsuccessful candidates by the Dean and their Head of School in a meeting as soon as possible.

4.6.5     Unsuccessful candidates may exercise their right to appeal (see paragraph 5.3).

4.6.6     Following UPC, the outcomes of the annual promotion procedure are reported to Senate.

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5.    Appeals

5.1     Appeals following FPC1 should be submitted to the Chief People Officer (Human Resources) within 20 working days of the date of the letter confirming the outcome, setting out the full grounds for appeal.  The Chief People Officer (Human Resources) will assign the appeal to the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor for consideration.  (Typically, this will be the Pro Vice-Chancellor who is responsible for the Faculty.)  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will neither re-assess the candidate, nor appraise the professional judgement of the members of FPC1 but will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will decide either to allow or dismiss the appeal.  If the appeal is allowed, the application will proceed to FPC2 and further reports will be sought as appropriate. In either case the decision of the Pro Vice-Chancellor will be sent to the candidate and is final.

5.2     Appeals following FPC2 should be submitted to the Chief People Officer (Human Resources) within 20 working days of the date of the letter confirming the outcome, setting out the full grounds for appeal. The Chief People Officer (Human Resources) will assign the appeal to the relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor for consideration (i.e. one who has not previously been involved in the case).  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will neither re-assess the candidate, nor appraise the professional judgement of the assessors or the members FPC2 but will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.  The Pro Vice-Chancellor will decide either to allow or dismiss the appeal.  If the appeal is allowed, the application will progress to UPC.  In either case the decision of the Pro Vice-Chancellor will be sent to the candidate and is final.  

5.3     Appeals following UPC should be submitted to the Chief People Officer (Human Resources) within 20 working days of the date of the letter confirming the outcome, setting out the full grounds for appeal.  The application will be reviewed by an independent member of the professorial staff appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.   The review will neither re-assess the candidate, nor appraise the professional judgement of the assessors or the members of the UPC, but will consider whether the promotions procedure has been properly applied.   Following the review, the Vice-Chancellor will decide whether the appeal should be upheld or dismissed. In either case the Vice-Chancellor’s decision will be sent to the candidate and is final.

5.4     Council has prescribed these procedures for appeals under the academic procedure and there is no further right of appeal or complaint in respect of any decision made under any of the appeal procedures set out in this paragraph 5.

5.5     Appeals, including outcomes, will normally be notified to the relevant Head of School, the Dean, the PVC who chaired the FPC and any other relevant party by HR. The person considering the appeal must consult with all relevant parties before they determine the outcome of the appeal. 

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