Division of the General Counsel, Governance and Compliance

Code of Practice on Academic Titles

ACADEMIC PROMOTIONS, ADVANCEMENT AND TITLES COMMITTEE

CODE OF PRACTICE ON ACADEMIC TITLES

(Approved by UEG on 11 February 2019)

 

Preamble

1. The University’s Academic Promotions, Advancement and Titles Committee is empowered under the University’s Statutes and Regulations to confer or remove academic titles.

2. Regulation 15 (Titles for Academic Appointments) refers to a Code of Practice that will set down “the standards of behaviour – for example in relation to equalities matters – required of individuals who hold a title awarded by the University and the process by which the… Committee may remove a title where the University has reasonable cause to do so.” 

3. This Code of Practice sets out the:

a)      Standards of behaviour required of academic title holders.

b)      Process by which the Committee may remove an academic title, where the University has reasonable cause to do so.

c)      Process by which a person who has had their academic title removed may appeal against the decision of the Committee.

4. Responsibility for establishing and maintaining this Code of Practice lies with the University Executive Group.

Definitions

5. The definitions in Regulation 15 shall have effect.

6. Additionally, in this Code of Practice the following definitions apply:

a)       “Academic title holder” means any person upon whom the University has conferred an academic title whether or not that title is held pursuant to a term of employment.  

b)      “Code of Practice” means this Code of Practice on Academic Titles.

c)       “The Committee” means the Academic Promotions, Advancement and Titles Committee.

d)      “Decision” means the determination of the Committee made in accordance with paragraph 27.

e)      “Standards of behaviour” means those matters detailed in Part 1 of this Code of Practice.

f)        “The University’s Values” has the meaning set down in paragraph 11 of this Code of Practice.

g)       “Write” or “writing” includes email, delivery in person, or a letter posted by First Class mail to the recipient’s last known business or personal address.

Application

7. Subject to paragraph 8, this Code of Practice applies to all academic title holders whether they are:

a)       Members of the Teaching Faculty;

b)      Members of the Research Faculty;

c)       Members of Visiting Faculty;

d)      Members of Honorary Faculty; or

e)      Emeritus Professors or Readers.

8. For those title holders mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) pf paragraph 7, this Parts 2 and 3 of this Code of Practice will only apply if the disciplinary procedure described in Regulation 31 has been concluded (including all appeal stages), and a finding of gross misconduct has been recorded against the title holder. 

 

PART 1: STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOUR REQUIRED OF ACADEMIC TITLE HOLDERS

Conduct required of academic title holders

9. Academic title holders are required to:

a)       Conduct themselves with dignity, honesty and integrity.

b)      Demonstrate respect for others.

c)       Behave in accordance with the University’s Values.

d)      Adhere to the University’s policies on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Equality and Diversity Policy.

e)      Abide by the University’s policies on harassment and bullying: Bullying and Harassment Policy.   

10. It is further expected academic title holders will not bring the University into disrepute.

 The University’s Values 

11. The University’s Values are:

a)       Kindness: we seek to be known as a kind institution. We will care for each other and for the world around us, in responsible, sustainable ways. We will value collegiality and mutual support across all our actions and activities.

b)      Integrity: we will ensure that everyone within our community is treated with dignity and respect.

c)       Inclusion: we will value and celebrate the diversity of our campus community and partners and what they bring to our activities.

d)      Collaboration: we will put collaboration at the heart of all that we do, seeking out productive and creative relationships. We will acknowledge and celebrate everyone’s contribution.

e)      Courage: we will speak out on issues that concern us and will face up to difficult challenges. We will support those who have the courage to change and be bold, innovative, creative and experimental. Through the transformative power of education, research and engagement, we will work for a better world.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

12. Academic title holders are required to adhere to the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy, in particular: 

a)       Promoting equality and diversity, providing an inclusive and supportive environment for all;

b)      Sustaining an inclusive and supportive study and work environment which affirms the equal and fair treatment of individuals in fulfilling their potential and does not afford unfair privilege to any individual or group; and

c)       Promoting an environment free of harassment and bullying.

 

Not bringing the University into disrepute

 

13. Academic title holders must not bring the University into disrepute.

14. Actions or communications (howsoever made), that may be taken as evidence of bringing the University into disrepute include (but are not limited to):

Those that demonstrate hostility towards, or could reasonably be expected to generate hostility in others towards, individuals or groups of individuals by reason of a protected characteristic (as defined in the Equality Act 2010).

 

Academic freedom

15. This Code of Practice recognises that academics have freedom to:

a)       carry out teaching and research; and

b)      publish the outcomes of research,

in ways which question and test established ideas and may present unpopular points of view, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges.

16. Nothing in this Code of Practice is intended to undermine that academic freedom.

 

PART 2: PROCEDURE FOR REMOVAL OF AN ACADEMIC TITLE

Cause

17. Where the University has reasonable cause to consider that an academic title holder has not met the required standards of behaviour the Committee may remove an academic title.

 Burden of proof

18. The burden of proof to be applied in this procedure is the balance of probabilities.

 Initial procedure

19. Where paragraph 17 applies, the following procedure applies:  

a)       A complaint about an academic title holder’s fitness to hold that title may be lodged with the Head of Governance Services for submission to the Committee.

b)      A complaint may be received from any person and does not need to be in a particular format.

c)       Upon receipt of a complaint, the Head of Governance Services will:

                                                             i.      notify the relevant Head of School that a complaint has been received about the academic title holder and invite the Head of School to make written representations to the Committee; and

                                                             ii.      convene a meeting of the Committee as soon as reasonably practicable.

d)      The Committee will consider the complaint and any written representations from the relevant Head of School and determine whether it considers there is substance to the complaint.

e)      If the Committee considers that the complaint is without substance, it shall dismiss the complaint.

f)        If the Committee considers that there is substance to the complaint it shall cause the Head of Governance Services to write to the academic title holder with details of the complaint and any written representations received from the relevant Head of School, and invite the academic title holder to make representations to the Committee.

g)       If the Committee considers that it requires further information from someone other than the academic title holder, it may direct the Head of Governance Services to make reasonable endeavours to obtain that information.

h)      If the further information referred to in (g) is obtained, a copy of it shall be sent to the academic title holder so that the academic title holder may make representations to the Committee about that information.

i)        Upon receipt of a reasonable request to be accompanied, the Committee may allow an academic title holder to be accompanied at a meeting by a companion, provided:

                                                             i.      the Committee is satisfied that the attendance of the companion will not be prejudicial to the fair determination of the complaint; and

                                                             ii.      the companion is not permitted to respond to questions on behalf of the academic title holder.

j)        The academic title holder is to be permitted to make oral representations to the Committee, but may choose only or additionally to make written representations.

k)       If, despite reasonable endeavours to obtain it, the further information referred to in (g) cannot be obtained, the Committee may proceed without that information.

l)        The Committee will adjourn to a date and time that provides reasonable time for:

                                                             i.      such other persons from whom further information may be sought, to provide that information; and

                                                             ii.      the academic title holder to prepare representations to the Committee.

 

Consideration of the complaint

20. The Committee shall reconvene at the appointed time to consider the complaint.

21. The Committee will set out the details of the complaint, any written representations received from the relevant Head of School and any further information obtained through its enquiries.

22. If the academic title holder has attended the meeting, the academic title holder shall be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint and make representations to the Committee.

23. If the academic title holder has not attended the meeting but has submitted written representations to the Committee, those representations shall be read out to the Committee.

24. The Committee may ask questions of the academic title holder if the academic title holder has attended the meeting.

25. If the academic title holder has not attended the meeting and the Committee considers that there are questions that it wishes to put to the academic title holder before making a decision, the Committee may adjourn to a later date and cause the Head of Governance Services to send those questions to the academic title holder.

26. Where paragraph 25 applies, paragraphs 20 to 24 shall apply to the reconvened meeting. 

27. The Committee must consider:

a)       the complaint;

b)      any written representations from the relevant Head of School;

c)       any further information obtained through enquiries; and

d)      any representations made by the academic title holder,

and decide whether the academic title holder has failed to meet any of the required standards of behaviour. 

28. The Committee may be advised by the University’s General Counsel as required.

Sanction

 29. If the decision of the Committee is that the academic title holder has failed to meet any of the required standards of behaviour it may impose such sanction that it considers appropriate given the circumstances of the case. 

30. Sanctions include, but are not limited to:

a)       Removal of the right to use the academic title conferred on the academic title holder.

b)      Suspension of the right to use the academic title conferred on the academic title holder for a specified period of time.

c)       A letter of reprimand issued to the academic title holder.

31. Where the Committee decides to suspend or remove an academic title it must stipulate the date from which this sanction is to take effect.

Record

32. The decision of the Committee and any sanction imposed shall be recorded into the Minutes of the Committee.

33. The Head of Governance Services must write to the academic title holder with details of:

a)       the decision;

b)      any sanction imposed by the Committee and an explanation of this; and

c)       where relevant, information about how to lodge an appeal and the time limit for doing so.

 

PART 3: APPEAL PROCEDURE

Grounds for appeal

34. Where the Committee decides that an academic title holder has failed to meet any of the required standards of behaviour, the academic title holder may appeal to the Chair of Council for a review of the decision if, in the academic title holder’s reasonable opinion, at least one of the following conditions exists:

a)       Condition 1: the Committee erred in fact: where the Committee based the decision on an error in fact.

b)      Condition 2: procedural irregularity: where the Committee did not follow the process stipulated in Part 2 of this Code of Practice.

c)       Condition 3: manifest unreasonableness: where the Committee has made a decision that no reasonable decision maker could make, given the facts of the matter.

Lodging an appeal

35. The academic title holder must submit a written appeal (“Notice of Appeal”), to the Head of Governance Services within 10 days of the date of the decision letter.

36. A Notice of Appeal submitted after 10 days from the date of the decision letter will not be considered unless the Chair of Council considers that there were significant impediments that prevented the academic title holder from complying with the 10 days’ time limit.

37. A Notice of Appeal must explain why the academic title holder considers that Conditions 1, 2 or 3 (or any combination) are met.

Consideration of the appeal

38. No oral representations will be made on appeal.

39. The Chair of Council shall consider the matters set out in the Notice of Appeal, the original complaint, any other information that was before the Committee, and the decision letter.

40. The Chair of Counsel may be advised by the University’s General Counsel as required.

Determination of the appeal

41. The Chair of Council may:

a)       Uphold the appeal.

b)      Remit the matter to the Committee for further consideration, in which case the Committee’s new decision shall be final.

c)       Dismiss the appeal but substitute a different sanction to that imposed by the Committee.

d)      Dismiss the appeal in its entirety.

42. There will be no further right of appeal beyond the Chair of Council.