Human Resources

Further advice and guidance for Academic Promotions 2023

Please see below the recording of The Academic Promotions Advice and Guidance Session held on Monday 20th February 2023.


Professor Kate O'Riordan - Dean of the School of Media, Arts & Humantities 

Professor Jessica Horst - Professor of Developmental Psychology and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Academic Expe

Jenny James - Reward Manager (HR)

Olivia Killick - Reward Administration Coordinator for Academic Promotions (HR)

Please note that these documents do not replace the detailed documentation on our Academic Promotions website.


FAQs for Academic Promotions 2023


Process FAQs 

Q1:         Why is there no automatic progression for research staff/different guidelines from 2021?

A1:         The Academic Promotion Process has included automatic consideration of Lecturer As at the top of their grade (with progression to Lecturer B being the normal expectation) since the implementation of the Framework Agreement and was agreed with the unions in 2007. This is because the Lecturer A role has always been considered the entry training/development grade for the established Lecturer post at Lecturer B, and the development process to Lecturer B is not normally expected to take more than four years. It is therefore expected that those Lecturer As at the top of the Grade 7 will be likely to meet the Grade 8 Lecturer B job description. There is a requirement within academic Schools for a number of staff to carry out duties at the Lecturer B level. There is no expectation that Grade 7 research roles are direct “training or development” roles for higher graded research roles. It is also less likely that a higher number of Researcher Grade 8 posts will be required on a particular project or research group. Research staff can however progress from Grade 7 to Grade 8 by demonstrating that they meet the promotions criteria for Grade 8.  It is for this reason that the University has reverted to the original agreed position.


Application Form FAQs 

Q6:         Can I submit additional documents/evidence with my application?

A6:         No, all information should be submitted on the application form and no additional documents will be accepted (with the exception of an Individual Circumstances form, Declaration of Conflict-of-Interest Form and Independent Assessor Form if applicable). However, if you wish you may include links to examples of your work that are available online.

Q7:         Can I get feedback on my application when I submit it?

A7:         You can ask your Head of School or other senior academic in your area for feedback on your application before you submit it if you wish, but those who administer the Academic Promotions are not able to give feedback on academic matters.

Q8:         If you are new to Sussex do your previous teaching evaluations, leadership and publications count? And if your application largely relies on prior experience as you are new to Sussex would that be a disadvantage?

A8:         No, this will not count, your previous experience will have been considered during your recruitment, as such only evidence attained within your current role will be considered.  However, applicants can refer to previous work or achievements to set their application in overall context but the case for promotion should be based on evidence and achievements since appointment at Sussex or last promotion, as applicable.

Q9: Are we permitted to draw on evidence presented for the Reader application, for a future Professorship application, given that progression to Reader is not a change of grade?

A9: Whilst the University does consider advancement to Reader a promotion, the Academic Promotions Criteria 1.3, statest: “In considering an application for promotion, the SPC and APATC will consider the progress that has been made since the applicant’s appointment to the University, or the applicant’s last promotion to a higher grade, whichever is the later.” Promotion to Reader is not a promotion to a higher grade (as Senior Lecture and Reader both sit at Grade 9) and therefore the view is that progress from before that point can be considered in somebody’s application to Professor. 

Q10:         What level of detail is required in the application form? How far back can one go?

A10:         Be as detailed as you can be, you should not assume any prior knowledge from the panel assessing applications.  With regard to the period of time you can reference in your application, you can go back as far as your previous promotion.

Q11:       The application form clearly states that all the output should be listed, not just from the date of appointment, am I wrong?

A11:       The application form does say that, and you may find it useful to set your career in context, however promotion will be dependent on the evidence provided since your last promotion.

Q12:       Is it being suggested to not say anything about achievements/publications, etc. on the application before joining Sussex?

A12:       Please see answer to question Q8 above.

Q13:       What does external profile within subject mean?

A13:       This means that your work and activities are recognised by your peers in the same discipline at other institutions, depending on the promotion you are applying for this could be nationally or internationally.

Q14:       Will the panel consider internal University grants as evidence of successful research funding?

A14:       Yes

Q15:       Can a Reader in the 'Research and teaching' track apply for a Research Professorship?

A15:       You need to apply for promotion under your current track. If you want to switch tracks, you should discuss this with your Head of School as it is a separate process.

Q16:       For those on the research track (especially for Research fellow A to B), if you aren't named on a grant but you contributed to the writing of that grant, can you still reference it on the application? Additionally, are you able to reference grants you were part of but were not successful in obtaining that funding?

A16:       Yes, you are able to refer to this but should clearly set out the nature and extent of your involvement.

Q17:       There are portions of the guidance that ask for evidence, especially for demonstrating teaching and external engagement but as we are unable to submit additional documents, how should we provide this evidence? Is just stating these things and maybe providing quotes of feedback sufficient?

A17:       You must be able to evidence the statements you are making on the application form, as such you should include quotes or provide hyperlinks to the documents that provide the evidence to substantiate the statements within the application form.

Q18:       Should the Education & Scholarship portfolio be submitted separately or embedded in the CV application form?

A18:       It should be included in the application form, section 6 of the form is provided for this purpose.

Q19:       Is the education and scholarship portfolio the 2,000-word statement we are asked to provide?

A19:       Yes

Q20:       Do the applicants via the research pathway need to provide a 2000-word teaching portfolio?

A20:       You should include some information about teaching if there is a criterion on this in the level that you are applying for but there will not be so much emphasis on this section for the Research only pathway.  You should include a teaching portfolio for Education & Research pathway.

Q21:       Can you please explain what should be included in the teaching portfolio? Is this where you include quotes from teaching evaluations?

A21:       The Application Guidance provides examples of what should be included in the Education & Scholarship Portfolio

Q22:       I would apply for "Professorship", but consider the Readership as well, if unsuccessful. How should I fill in the box of "title"?

A22:       In the “title” box, you should insert the title you are applying for, if the panels feel that you do not meet the criteria for Professor but can justify an advancement to Reader, then this is what you will be offered, the same is true for all other levels.


Independent Assessor FAQs

 Q23:       Can I discuss my choices of Independent Assessors with my Head of School/Department before submitting my form?

A23:       Yes, you can liaise with senior academics for advise and support in selecting your independent assessors ahead of submitting your form, so long as the criteria and guidance of selection is followed.

Q24:       Do I see my Independent Assessments/HoS statements before they go to APATC?

A24:       This is not part of the process but you can request information relating to you under the University’s usual process for requesting access to personal data via a subject access request -

Q25:       Why is there a different process for obtaining Independent Academic Assessments for the Research/Education & Research and Education & Scholarship tracks?

A25:       We have found in the past found it difficult to obtain Independent Assessments by writing out to Assessors for applicants on the Education & Scholarship track. By holding an Education Panel the Assessors will come to us and will provide the Assessments that will be submitted to the second School Promotion Committee. We have introduced the Education Panel to make this part of the process work better for the University and the applicant.

Q26:       In the last cycle assessments from assessors who fulfilled those stated independence criteria were still rejected if they had known the applicant for a long time. Will this criterion apply this cycle?

A26:       The AP process documents state the following; “Independent Assessors will be completely independent and should not have previously collaborated closely with the applicant as a co-author or co-researcher; nor provided them with supervision.”  However, within disciplines which have a small academic community it may not be possible to find someone to provide the assessment who has had no previous contact with the applicant, in such cases this will be declared on the Assessor nomination form and the information made available to the School Committee and APATC if applicable.


Education & Scholarship FAQs 

Q27:       If I am currently on an Education & Scholarship track, can I apply for a promotion in the Education & Research track (and vice versa)?

A27:       You need to apply for promotion under your current track. If you want to switch tracks, you should discuss this with your Head of School as it is a separate process and cannot be done in the Academic Promotions Process.

Q28:       Can I apply for promotion as a Teaching Fellow?

A28:       Teaching Fellows can make an application for promotion on to the Education & Scholarship track

Q29:       In explaining my teaching philosophy and practice in the application, can I use examples from my teaching prior to joining Sussex?

A29:       Where you have developed your teaching philosophy at another institution it may be appropriate to include this on your application, but evidence of your practice should refer to your time employed at Sussex.

Q30:       What do we mean by scholarship? Is the research and publications you write on the area that you teach relevant?

A30:       Yes, where you are writing scholarly articles on your subject area these can be included.

Q31:       Can I still write about research grants and publications in an Education & Scholarship application?

A31:       If that information is relevant and supports your application then yes you should include this, but please speak to your HoS for more detailed information.

Q32:       Could you elaborate with some examples of the meaning of 'responsibility for and involvement in broader pedagogic arena'?

A32:       This could be numerous and is not limited to these examples but may be involvement in contributing or leading pedagogic strategy – perhaps as part of a module or course lead. It may be an area of responsibility such as assessment lead. Or it may be contributing to professional or learned societies pedagogic agenda.

Q33:       There still seem to be a challenge for the education and scholarship route to professorship. It still requires the publication of books, research etc. but it is unlikely we have time to do this because those of us who are senior are likely to have more significant leadership in their workloads.

A33:       Where your personal circumstances prevent you from achieving the required volume of publications these should be described in the Personal Circumstance section, or in your individual circumstances form, but it is the expectation that applying for a Professorial role will include publications.

Q34:       Can you include any scholarly activity e.g., an article that you may be writing at the time of making the promotions application but have not yet completed/been published?

A34:       All evidence that relates to publications must either be published or have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) available from the published who intends to publish your work online.

Q35:       We are asked to write 2,000 words of a teaching statement, including teaching achievements and scholarship achievement. Could you elaborate on that, give examples?

A35:       These are always very individual and therefore not possible to give a complete example. Your statement should tell a story about you and your teaching- highlighting your achievements- for example if you started to use a different teaching mode – flipped classroom and how that went - the key message of evaluation- how you shared and disseminated your practice to support others. The more senior the application the more this should focus on educational leadership - including changes you implemented and evaluated at module and course level. It is important to demonstrate impact in your statement- irrespective of the level of application.

Q36:       Some colleagues on the Education and Scholarship track hold research grants that don't meet the criteria for scholarship. Should they include these on the application as scholarship achievements?

A36:       When making your application you should include evidence that addresses the criteria for prootion at the level for which you are applying, in the categories set out on the application form.

Q37:       Could you please elaborate on achievements for teaching and achievements for scholarship, which are two of the portfolios?

A37:       Achievements in teaching may involve different aspects- it is frequently but not limited to demonstrating course, school, and university level recognition in teaching e.g. teaching awards. It may also be comments from External Examiners and course evaluation comments and scores. Achievements in scholarship may include invitation to be an external guest speaker at another institution or conference, publication of peer reviewed pedagogically focused articles, election to a professional body or learned society for a specific role.

Q38:       If we’re going for professorship on the scholarship route how do we get a mentor?

A38:       Details of how to get a mentor can be found here This is a University-wide scheme, but some Schools also have local mentoring arrangements, you should discuss this with your Head of School.


Lecturer A to Lecturer B FAQs 

Q39:       If I am at the top of Lecturer A will I automatically get promoted?

A39:       It is the normal expectation that those at the top of Lecturer A will have been through a process of training and development and will be ready for promotion to Lecturer B, unless there are causes for concern in their performance. However, you must submit an application form to be automatically considered and promoted. If you do not submit an application, you won’t simply be given the promotion. Those Lecturer As who are not at the top of the scale can apply for promotion to Lecturer B and must provide evidence that they meet the criteria.

Q40:       For lecturer A to B, do we have to meet all criteria stated on the slide?

A40:       If you have reached the top of grade 7 (lecturer A) then it is assumed you are likely to have met these criteria however, as stated in A38, an application is still required, and you should address the criteria in that application.  If you have yet to reach the top of the grade, then you will have to meet all the criteria to achieve promotion.

Q41:       Can you be promoted from Lecturer A to Senior lecturer (considering one has met all the criteria for SL)?

A41:       Yes, however you should clearly state in the application form which role you are applying for.


Lecturer B, Senior Lecturer, Reader & Professor FAQs 

Q42:       How long does it usually take to progress from Lecturer B to Senior lecturer?

A42:       There is no typical time period, this will depend on a number of factors such as the quality and quantity of your output (regardless of track), but essentially it is entirely dependent on whether you meet the criteria. For further guidance you should speak to your Head of School or other line manager/mentor.


Senior Lecturer to Reader/Professor FAQs 

Q43:       Since both are Grade 9, is there a salary increase from Senior Lecturer to Reader?

A43:       Although both are scale 9 roles the normal practice is to grant an increase on the salary scale. This will include incrementing into the discretionary part of the zone where you are already at the top of the non-discretionary part of grade 9.

Q44:       For promotion to Professor, if it is achievement over the whole academic career, would that include time before Sussex if we had jobs at other universities before coming here?

A44:       You can refer to previous achievements to set your application in overall context but your case for your current promotion should be made on evidence from your time at Sussex/since your last promotion as applicable.

Q45:       For promotion to professor, is it still lifetime achievement?

A45:       As with other all promotions the evidence used for promotion will be based on the evidence acquired since your last promotion.  Please see answer to Q8 & Q43 above.


Personal Circumstances FAQ’s 

Q46:       What would be your advice on how to frame personal circumstances in a personal statement?

A46:       There is no prescribed format, but you should provide dates and indicate how the circumstances have impacted your opportunity to perform against the promotion criteria in terms of output.


General FAQs 

Q47:       Can one apply from Lecturer A to Lecturer B (Grade 8), but, say, to somewhere in the middle of Grade 8 and not the bottom of Grade 8?

A47:       When you are promoted to the next grade you are promoted to the bottom spine point. So, it would be 8.1 in this example.

Q48:      How many faculty members who apply for promotions (per school) are actually promoted? Several of us probably meet all the criteria and present these well in the application, but is there a cut off number per school?

A48:       Promotions are determined solely on the strength of the application form, there are no predetermined limits to the number of successful promotions.

Q49:       How long should one wait for next promotion once s/he has been promoted?

A49:       There is no specific time limit, however evidence used for the previous promotion will not be considered for a subsequent promotion to the next level, therefore in practice this means you will need to have been performing your current role for long enough to accrue the relevant evidence to support your new application

Q50:       What happens if you’ve recently changed tracks (from Education & Scholarship to Education & Research)? How much cross-referencing of both criteria of tracks do you need to make in the application?

A50:       Where there are common criteria between the 2 you should use the evidence you have gained from either track to support your application.  However, evidence from one track that has no bearing on the other track should not be included.   You should seek further guidance from your Head of School.

Q51:       How can an applicant ensure they're given 'a major task with leadership' in order to contribute to school management?

A51:       You should discuss this with your Head of School, they will know the opportunities that exist within your School and which would be suitable.

Q52:       What does the University identify as under-represented groups?

A52:       This question was raised as the presentation stated that the University “Encourage underrepresented groups to put themselves forward for promotion”.  The University is aware that there is an underrepresentation of those who have a protected characteristic(s) (such as ethnicity or gender) within its more senior academic roles.  We are actively encouraging those with a protected characteristic to apply for promotion, however the same standards of academic rigour will apply.

Q53:       Are there contractual differences between being a professor (‘education and research’ track) or a research professor? E.g., in term of teaching/admin duties? And if there are differences, can you jump from an ‘education and research’ track into a ‘research’ track?

A53:       Yes, there are contractual differences, details can be seen here;

You cannot jump tracks during the promotions process, you can only apply for promotion on the track you are currently on.  If you want to change track you should speak to your HoS about this as it is a separate process.