Human Resources

Further advice and guidance for Academic Promotions 2024

If you are considering applying for promotion during the Academic Promotions process 2024, please view the recording of The Academic Promotions Advice and Guidance Session, held on Wednesday 14 February 2024, containing information on how the process is run, along with key advice and tips for writing your application in relation to your career pathway and promotion criteria points.


  • Professor Kate O'Riordan - Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Students
  • Professor Claire Smith - Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Innovation and Professor of Anatomy
  • Professor Debbie Keeling - Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Knowledge Exchange and Professor of Marketing
  • Professor Graeme Pedlingham - Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Experience and Professor of English
  • Matthew Naish - Assistant Director of HR: Reward & Retention

Video transcript

Matthew Naish: So good morning, everybody. My name is Matt Nash. I'm the assistant director here in HR, that has responsibility for the team that look after academic promotions. Just a quick disclaimer, my colleague Liv who would normally be running this session is unfortunately unwell, and so I've stepped in at the last moment. So apologies. If I'm unable to answer any questions you may have, but I will get back to you, should that be the case?

Matthew Naish: I'm delighted to say that we're joined today by some very eminent academics here at the university. So that is Kate O’Riordan, Debbie Kealing, Claire Smith, and I think Graeme Pedlingham, is also joining us, although I'm not sure he's quite here yet.

Graeme Pedlingham: I am indeed, Matthew.

Matthew Naish: Brilliant, thank you, Graeme. So I'm sharing my screen so I can't see any hands or anything like that, so apologies.

[Slide one reads: Aiming for Promotion at Sussex Workshop 2024]

Matthew Naish: The purpose of today’s session is to is to go through a little bit on the process.

Matthew Naish: but there are a lot of resources online, where the processes and guidance are stored. So, what I would suggest is the principle aim of this, is for academics to speak to other academics and get advice about the pathway that they are on, and what sort of evidence, or what sort of guidance that can be offered to those who are applying for promotion.

Matthew Naish: So, with that being said, I move on to the next slide, and just some general housekeeping.

[Slide two reads: Housekeeping.

Please keep your microphone switched off and ask questions via the chat.

The presentation will be in sections with a break for questions after each section - there will be a longer period for general questions at the end.

The session will be recorded and made available to those who cannot attend].

Matthew Naish: Please keep microphones off and ask questions via the chat. I can already see that there is something in the chat.

Matthew Naish: The presentation is in a couple of sections. And we will break at the end of each session to allow questions, and then there will be a significant period at the end, I hope, for further questions should they be needed.

Matthew Naish: And just to reemphasize, the session is being recorded, and this will be placed on our website for those who are unable to join it, so that they everybody can benefit from this this session.

[Slide three reads: Purpose of this workshop.

Help you think about career trajectories and career planning.

Ensure that the rules and procedures of promotion at Sussex are known and understood to all faculty; that the promotions process is transparent.

Ensure that our promotions procedures are fair and equitable – in line with our commitment to become a more Inclusive Sussex.

Encourage underrepresented groups to put themselves forward for promotion.

Advise on how to get help and support.

NB please refer to the full guidance on the Academic Promotions webpage when making your application. These slides are a summary rather than the full promotions criteria and guidance.]

Matthew Naish: So, the purpose of the workshop is to help and guide you on thinking about your career trajectories and planning.

Matthew Naish: We do have to maintain the integrity of the promotions process, so we have to ensure that the rules are followed and that they are clear and transparent and shared with you. The Promotion process needs to be fair and equitable and in line with our inclusive Sussex commitments.

Matthew Naish: I will reemphasize this point later, but we would absolutely encourage all people who are considering an application to submit an application. There is no sanction. If you're unsuccessful, then the feedback you receive will help guide your application for future years. So, if you're in any doubt, I would suggest that it would be worth putting in for a promotion.

Matthew Naish: And as I said earlier, we'll advise and help support with any questions.

[Slide four reads: Academic Promotion Tracks

There are three possible tracks for promotion at the University of Sussex. These are for staff on:

Lecturer - Education and Research Pathway (i.e., Teaching and Research)

Lecturer - Education and Scholarship Pathway (i.e., Teaching and Scholarship)

Research Fellow Career Pathway (i.e., Research Only)

Promotions under all three tracks are considered in the same Academic Promotions process – submission deadline for this year is 9am on Monday 11 March 2024.]

Matthew Naish: So as you will know the academic pathways is listed to 3 tracks. Education, research, education, scholarship and research pathway. They are all being considered under the same process. And just to be emphasized that the deadline for submission is Monday, the eleventh of March.

Matthew Naish: Once those are submitted, then they'll be considered by the first School Promotions Committee and initial decisions would be taken there.

[Slide five shows the three Academic Tracks]

What I'm going to do at this point is hand over to Claire Smith, who will take us through some information on the education and research track. So, Claire, over to you.

[Slide six reads: Lecturer B (Grade 8) – Education & Research

For Lecturers who reach the top point for Lecturer A (Grade 7.7 +), progression to Lecturer B will be the normal expectation – but an application must be submitted.

If not at the top of the scale, they can apply to progress to Lecturer B if they have demonstrated progress and achievement against all of the following criteria:

A PhD, or equivalent scholarly or relevant professional activity;

Active engagement in education and learning: submission of a teaching portfolio;

Demonstrated progress in research: publications;

Demonstrated progress in making applications for funding; in initiating or developing contacts with partners outside of the university; and in wider involvement in the subject area

Contribution to duties in the department or unit.]

Claire Smith: Thank you, Matthew. Good morning, everyone, and thank you. The team always put such detailed points in these slides that I don't want to don't want to read over them.

Claire Smith: So, I think it's starting on the education and research track. It's important to say, that this is the track that that I've that I've been on and have supported many individuals going through.

Claire Smith: So the start of the grade. 8 point, this is possible for individuals who might have already reached the top of grades 7. It isn't an automated process from 7 to 8 it is part of the norm and the expectation. But an individual must put an application forward to move from lecturer A to Lecturer B.

Claire Smith: There isn't a need for that individual to be at the top of lecturer, it depends on the on the evidence that they have, so that individual can progress from lecture a to be sooner than reaching the top of the scale. If they meet and can demonstrate the progress against the criteria that you have there below.

Claire Smith: One of the questions that very commonly get at this level. And also related to the balance of education. Research is the volume of activity. What's suitable for this level? And I can really recommend that individuals. Look at the criteria really, really closely.

Claire Smith: at a grade 8 level. It's heading towards being working as an independent educator and researcher, but also working collaboratively. So showing active engagement in education and learning and demonstrating successful outputs in research. And that might be related to funding applications, publications, conference presentations, and other types of types of output, including Knowledge Exchange.

Claire Smith: and with regards to the mix of education and research at this level. It might be more of a 50 50 balance, but it also might be 60, 40, for example, 70 and all of that is completely fine. And the key point is really around making sure that the application reflects. Where your way your balances and why that focus is there.

Claire Smith: and if we can move on, please.

Claire Smith: Thank you, Matt.

[Slide seven reads: Senior Lecturer (Grade 9) – Education & Research

In considering promotion to this grade, each candidate’s performance will be considered in relation to all of the criteria below, but the Committees may, at their discretion, recommend promotion for exceptional achievement in some but not all of the criteria (case to be made for the latter).

Significant contribution to education and learning

Evidence of successful curriculum design or re-design

A national and/or international reputation in the field of study

Successful application for research funding; and the supervision of research students

Pro-active contribution to the unit, Department or School

Raising University’s profile.]

Claire Smith: The next level between is 8 to 9 so up to a senior lecturer.

Claire Smith: and at this point the individual’s performances are considered in relation to all of the criteria below.

Claire Smith: But, as it says, their committees out there to have at the discretion to recommend promotion. For in some, but not all, of the criteria and this is in recognition of that balance as I spoke about a minute ago. It's not possible, and I think very few individuals actually have a true 50 50 split that are on this pathway. So one of my top tips would really be about indicating very early on your application form, roughly what your percentages are and where your focus is, and part of making that really clear to the committee.

Claire Smith: So there is about significant contribution to education and learning evidence of successful curriculum design or redesign. And it's important that as part of both of those that it's there is, it's explained as to what that impact and evidence is, and within the remit of the work that you're undertaking.

Claire Smith: So it's quite difficult sometimes on committees, to understand when someone puts a name next to a module to understand the number of students on it, for example, to understand if there's any professional board requirements for it. What the impact of curriculum redesign, for example, has been.

Claire Smith: An individual as a grade 9 is expected to demonstrate national and international and or reputation in their field of study. And the field of study context part is really important to be able to explain in your application, what that type of impact looks like in evidence. It might be roles, for example, on serving as general editor roles, it might be in policy, it might be assessing grant applications or part of professional bodies. So there's quite a broad, broad range of examples.

Claire Smith: demonstrating success in research funding and in supervision and completion of research students both as Msc. Phd. Level.

Claire Smith: Again, the area of discipline, area of study that you're working in. You know, affects sometimes the balance of these as well. And that's fine. Just needs to come through really clearly in the application.

Claire Smith: At a senior lecture level, the individual is expected to be proactively contributing towards the unit. Whether that's at department school level and is engaged in activities that raise the university's profile.

Claire Smith: Thank you, Matt.

[Slide eight reads: Reader (Grade 9) – Education & Research

The title of Reader may be awarded to members of teaching faculty on any scale, but it is most usually used at Senior Lecturer level. The title is awarded as a mark of personal distinction for an important contribution to the advancement of the subject.

Exceptional level in research (substantial publications, sustained & independent research reputation)

Excellence in education and learning (evidence of innovation in course design and leadership in subject).]

Claire Smith: Reader, is the title that's awarded as a mark of personal distinction for contributions towards the advancement of the subject. Usually at the level at a greater grade 9 level. And for this it's exceptional to demonstrate exceptional levels in research, both in substantial publications and independent grant income, but also in education and learning and the evidence of innovation in course, design and leadership in the subject.

Claire Smith: Thank you.

[Slide nine reads: Professorship (Grade 10) – Education & Research.

Candidates for promotion to a Professorship will be expected to have made a broad, sustained contribution to their field and discipline nationally and internationally, and normally to have achieved exceptional performance in research.

Distinguished themselves by the volume and quality of completed research and to have demonstrated strong leadership, national and international standing and recognition.

Demonstrated leadership in the promotion of teaching in their subject and innovative thinking and practice.

Significant contributions to the work of the subject, School and the Institution by undertaking major leadership tasks or serving on relevant national, regional or local bodies.]

Claire Smith: Moving up to grade 10 for Professorship, individuals are expected to have made both broad and sustained contribution to their field and their discipline, both nationally and internationally, and have achieved exceptional performance in research.

Claire Smith: Again, the balance of whether this sits between 50, 50, 40, 60, etc. Varies at this time. So it's important that is clearly demonstrated.

Claire Smith: in particular. The sustained contribution and the national and international reach and impact of that is really important to bring across in the application

Claire Smith: the individual needs to have distinguished themselves by not only the volume, but also the quality of the completed research and have demonstrated strong leadership in that research field and have roles that recognize standing internationally and nationally.

Claire Smith: For example, in leading professional bodies at national or international level, contributing to the international agenda given the particular area.

Claire Smith: the individual is expected to have demonstrated leadership in the promotion of teaching in their subject, and of innovative thinking and practice. And as we said, depending on the balance, depends on the degree of evidence in both of those, but it is about demonstrating collectively and holistically, that they are a distinguished individual in both of those components.

Claire Smith: the individual is expected to undertake significant contributions of work related to the subject area, the school and the institution with examples of major leadership tasks, and serving on relevant, relevant bodies, and quite happy to give some further examples of those. I know these are in the criteria as well.

Claire Smith: Thank you. Time for questions.

[Slide ten shows the three Academic Tracks]

Matthew Naish: Yes, quite, thank you, Claire, so we will pause, as I said, between sections for some questions. So with that being said, I could see that there is a message in the chat.

Matthew Naish: So that's from Sarah King, who's asked “40/60, 50/50 split between teaching research but where does impact engagement sit? Will this be recognized.

Claire Smith: Yeah, thank you. Sarah. And I was including engagement within that. And just using very crude percentages that were coming to my head. And within the work planning model of course, it’s really important, that you’re not filling completely 50 50% of your time. If it's the time between teaching and research, to make sure that there is administration time, there is time for impact and engagement.

Claire Smith: so that would vary depending on the individuals role and their focus. So very much impact is really important as part of all of demonstrating impact in both the education and research in the applications. And what the evidence of that impact, is really vital, and whether that engagement is engagement within the local community through outreach activities, whether it's engagement in the subject area or engagement wider with them with policy bodies or various examples.

Claire Smith: If you have evidence of impact and engagement, then that's really important to bring through in all those levels.

Matthew Naish: Thank you, Claire.

Matthew Naish: I can't see any further questions coming through. Oh.

Matthew Naish: just as I say that. The instruction mentioned that only publish work that has been accepted for publication and as a digital object identify (DOI) is to be listed in promotion, application form. Accepted books and book chapters, can ISBNbe provided, since these do not have, DOI

Claire Smith: So in any application, it's really important to only put forward the evidence that has been accepted. It's

Claire Smith: putting forward things that’s just been, submitted, such as a Grant, the Panel cannot use that in terms of actual concrete evidence. So, for example, yes. Books. ISBN’s or evidence of publication of blocks or commentaries on websites. All those types of links and evidence can be provided.

Matthew Naish: perfect. Thank you for that. I can't see any more questions, in which case I will ask Graeme Pedlingham to step in and talk us through the education and scholarship track.

[Slide eleven reads: Lecturer B (Grade 8) – Education & Scholarship

For Lecturers who reach the top point for Lecturer A (Grade 7.7 +), progression to Lecturer B will be the normal expectation – but an application must be submitted.

If not at the top of the scale, they can apply to progress to Lecturer B if they have demonstrated progress and achievement against all of the following criteria:

Development of new modules, high standard of teaching performance

Use of feedback and best pedagogic practice to improve student experience, evidence of using knowledge from scholarship to enhance education and curriculum development

Academic advising

Contributions to relevant professional body or event

A significant contribution to School/Dept duties & responsibilities]

Graeme: Yeah, sure, thanks, Matthew.

Graeme: I won't repeat too much of what Claire's already said, because obviously there are parallels between the tracks here. But the education scholarship track is the one that's had probably the most revision over the past few years, and so hopefully, this will be helpful.

Graeme: looking at the grade 8 I'm not going talk through the slide particularly, I want leave plenty of time for questions, but sorts of things that somebody would be talking about in an educational scholarship application as evidencing the criteria, could be development of new modules demonstrable high standard of teaching performance. So again, how that is having the impact on students, how you're evidencing that, that can take lots of different forms, and I think, you know, you might be using quantitative evidence. You might be using quality of evidence, but that can be quite broad.

Graeme: how the scholarship aspect of the role is integrated within the teaching practice. That's a key element to try, and becomes increasingly important as we move up the promotion routes, so that could be use of feedback, use of best pedagogic practice that you are aware of within your subject within the wider field of higher education research and how you're using that to improve the student experience and enhance education,

Graeme: Academic advising, I've got question on that in the chat as well. So, what we'll be thinking about here is how to demonstrate effective academic advising practice. What has the impact of your practice been on students that you've been working with? How do you demonstrate that? And again, I think there's lots of ways of demonstrating that but a lot of the same things apply to academic advising as they would in demonstrating. excellence in teaching. So how are you using scholarship to inform academic, advising practice? How are you using best practice? Best practice from around the sector to do that? I think are all perfectly relevant for this.

Graeme: But we can come back to that in a minute. If people want to talk more on that.

Graeme: you might be making contributions to relevant professional bodies or subject networks. It might be contributing to events that are linked to education and scholarship and taking a role contributing to school or departments duties related to education as well. So that’s the kind of profile we might be thinking of at Grade 8.

Graeme: We move on, Matthew.

[Slide twelve reads: Senior Lecturer (Grade 9) – Education & Scholarship

In considering promotion to this grade, each candidate’s performance will be considered in relation to all of the criteria below, but the Committees may, at their discretion, recommend promotion for exceptional achievement in in some but not all of the criteria (case to be made for the latter):

Innovation in teaching, supervision or assessment

Sustained high quality teaching across the curriculum including integration of scholarship and professional practice with teaching activities, successful curriculum design or re-design at course level

Successful completion of major task with leadership, contribution to school management and supervision of others

Responsibility for and involvement in broader pedagogic arena

External profile in within subject]

Graeme: Thank you. So grade 9 we might be expecting evidence of innovation in teaching, individual innovation and in supervision and or in assessment. So a really broad array of activities that you could demonstrate innovation through. But how you're defining that innovation, and how you're evidencing it and demonstrating it is the key aspect.

Graeme: Here, we're seeing a sustained high quality teacher across the curriculum, integration of scholarship and professional practice. You might be thinking about rather module design course design at this point, how you're contributing to the development of potentially new courses or the redesign of existing courses.

Graeme: and then involvement with the school, the department, education life. Here we’re looking at a what we refer to as a major task within the school which involves an element of supervision of others likely as well. So again, that can take lots of different forms, lots of activity that happens within schools to try and improve education.

Graeme: And if you've taken a leading role in trying to drive some of that forward. That's the sort of thing you'd be. You'd be demonstrating here, and we can talk about examples of that. If it's useful.

Graeme: Your profile would be getting wider externally. So involvement in a broader pedagogical arena and building your external profile in relation to education within your subject.

Graeme: building your external profile in the subject, so I'll just clarify that a little bit. Whilst you might be contributing to, for example, a subject event, a conference on education at Grade 8, at Grade 9, you might be taking more active role in the subject network. You might be leading the organization of things that are happening at national level, you might be involved in activities that are possibly cross institutional that level.

Graeme: There's lots of ways that can be demonstrated. Lots of examples of doing that. So it's difficult to be prescriptive, but happy to discuss it further.

[Slide thirteen reads: Reader (Grade 9) – Education & Scholarship

The title of Reader may be awarded to members of teaching faculty on any scale, but it is most usually used at Senior Lecturer level. The title is awarded as a mark of personal distinction for an important contribution to the advancement of the subject.

Excellence in education and learning (evidence of innovation in development of new courses and programmes and leadership in subject).

Sustained and independent pedagogic research reputation (research grants, contracts or consultancies, doctoral student supervision, societal benefit or impact)]

Graeme: The reader role on the E&S track. Very similarly to the E&R, this is also grade 9. But a title that's conferring a particular personal distinction, making an important contribution, to an area of education within the subject. So that could be some element of particular innovation, something that had a particular impact could be within the university developing new programs that have had a particular impact, how you're demonstrating success with them.

Graeme: or it could be developing your pedagogic research reputation, which, again, is kind of external profile. So if there's a particular specialism that you're developing in relation to education, how is that? How is that having an impact more broadly? So, some examples of how that might be demonstrated here on the slide.

[Slide fourteen reads: Professorship (Grade 10) – Education & Scholarship

Candidates for promotion to a Professorship will be expected to have made a broad, sustained contribution to their field and discipline nationally and internationally, demonstrated leadership in the development of education in their subject and/or broader education field.

Evidence of quality in education and learning, innovation in development of new courses/programs, leadership in promotion of teaching and learning, innovative education practice adopted as best practice

Evidence of providing academic leadership development, mentoring and career management advice and leadership in education in subject area

Leadership of or holding senior office in a national or international subject association or pedagogic policy unit]

Graeme: Okay, if we crack on to Grade 10, Professorial level. Again, no qualitive difference, but a difference in terms of the level that you'd be working at Grade 10.

Graeme: So here, we're thinking about how you're evidencing, so the leadership of innovation effectively in teaching and learning. So how your own innovative practice is being adopted elsewhere and is starting to influence others.

Graeme: How you're demonstrating academic leadership in others, the development of others, mentoring coaching and career management. So that's a key aspect of that. And then leadership, talking about the external profile leadership of national international subject network. So whilst we're talking about contribution, then to active involvement, and then we're talking more about how are you taking a lead role in external networks or subject networks related to education? And again, there's a lot of ways that can be demonstrated. But that aspect of leadership is really important for that.

Graeme: and move on to the final slide. So continuing in grade 10

[Slide fifteen reads: Professorship (Grade 10) –Education & Scholarship (cont.)

Evidence of commitment to improving the student experience and/or leadership of a major change project at University level designed to improve the student experience

Publication of highly regarded textbooks, other significant teaching materials in higher education and/or publication of pedagogically driven research

Academic distinctions (e.g., academic awards and prizes).

A sustained contribution to the delivery of School and/or University education strategy, and influence on the formulation of strategy and policy in pedagogy that extends beyond the University.

Demonstrable leadership within the School, creating significant performance improvement over a sustained period]

Graeme: just as leadership is a key element externally, so, it is internally as well at grade 10. So you might be taking a lead role in possibly quite a major activity. To improve student experience or a major project within the university.

Graeme: You would be potentially demonstrating your scholarship through outputs, for example, textbooks, teaching materials of pedagogically driven research; that can be quite broad, I don't think we should get stuck on sort of traditional publication outputs, necessarily. There's lots of ways of demonstrating that scholarship through external dissemination. Which might be publication. It might be other forms as well. So can talk about examples of that.

Graeme: you may well be able to point to academic distinctions, both internally and externally awards and prizes.

Graeme: You'd be contributing to the strategy of the university. Be involved in development of an education and aspect of education in strategy at school or university level. And finally, speaking to that aspect of leading change or leading a kind of activity that's got a major impact. How you're involved in leadership within the school and able to point to the impact of your role, how you've driven change and how that’s demonstrable impact.

Graeme: So that's very quick, because I want to leave some time for questions, and I'm going to hand over to Debbie in a second to talk about the research track as well.

[Slide sixteen shows the three Academic Tracks]

Matthew Naish: yeah. Thanks, Graeme. So, there are a couple of questions that have come in. So if I if I just go through those.

Matthew Naish: Jacob has, asked whether somebody who's in the discretionary zone grade 7 would go to grade 8.2 rather than grade 8.1? Yes that is what would happen. Yes, you would go to 8.2. If you're in the discretionary zone.

Matthew Naish: If you’re at Grade 7.7 do you still need to demonstrate with the criteria. Yes, the answer is, you need to submit an application, and that will be assessed as normal. But the expectation is that you would be promoted.

Matthew Naish: So there's a couple of questions on process so I will look at those later, if I may. But just to say, generally speaking, when you're promoted, you start at the bottom of the grade.

Matthew Naish: but there's nothing to say that you can't skip a level. You could try and be promoted from Grade 7 to Grade 9. It would be extremely unlikely and very rare. But there is nothing that specifically prohibits that.

Matthew Naish: question, research and recreation within E&S so Graeme I think this ones for you. Most of those are cross institutional, we also do not supervise doctor students. So how are we supposed to fulfil that?

Graeme: Really, really good question, Camilla. Thanks. And I think the research reputation phrasing is probably a little bit misleading there. To be honest, because I think the kinds of things in education, scholarship that might be speaking to that reader level, that kind of sense of personal distinction, for example, could be securing grant funding from organizations like the QIA or like CEDA or institutions that are focused on education development within higher education. So, there are those kinds of grants.

Graeme: It could be things like civic engagement. I know there's quite a few schemes around at the moment, but I think your basic engagement within teaching and there's funding available through some of those. So the funding dimension is relevant but I think there'd be lots of ways of demonstrating that personal distinctiveness.

Graeme: I think establishing a teaching focus network, would be an example of something, developing a kind of cross-institutional program of activity or something that's kind of tackling a shared problem across institutions. I've seen examples of that happen previously as well.

Graeme: The Doctoral student’s question, I think, is fair. I think there's going to be some subject differences in that some subjects that might not be relevant, in some subjects, it might be, but I think I don't think that would be. That would be a prescriptive element. It might just be something somebody could use as evidence a personal distinction.

Matthew Naish: Thank you. Graeme.

Matthew Naish: The next question is, is it possible to be transferred from education, scholarship to the education and research track? It is possible, but not within this process. The academic promotion process means you have to apply on the track that you're on. If you wanted to change track that’s an individual school decision, so I would recommend you talk to your head of school around that.

Matthew Naish: I think that's some of the questions answered. But please shout or repost, if I haven't covered anything.

Matthew Naish: Otherwise, we will move on to Debbie Keeling, who will take us through the research track.

Matthew Naish: Debbie, over to you

[Slide seventeen reads: Research Fellow B (Grade 8) - Research

Broadly equivalent to Lecturer B. Research Fellows appointed at or promoted to this level will normally carry a level of responsibility appropriate to a person with substantial research experience.

Evidence of significant independent contributions to the design and execution of research

Creditable record of sustained research

Evidence of independent research reputation and professional recognition

Ability to lead and manage a small research group or programme or assist in the running of a larger group or programme

Supervision of others – PhD, Junior staff, Teaching

Playing a constructive role in obtaining research funding

Successful engagement in teaching] shows

Debbie Keeling: Hello, everybody! I'm really delighted to be talking about structured research pathway. When I started my career, which was quite a long time ago, unfortunately, there was no real structure like this. So I would say, absolutely grasp this both hands because it's a marvellous opportunity to have this kind of structure in place for those on a research pathway.

Debbie Keeling: I'm going to give you an overview of the progression and on the research pathway it is an emphasis on developing your independence and you'll see that come through in the criteria as we go through. And it's also an emphasis on developing and the significance and the reach of the impact that you're having with your work, but also in terms of building collaborations, different sort of collaborations and really having a strong narrative about developing. An area, an impact pattern, a field or indeed research itself.

Debbie Keeling: I want to sort of emphasize that point about having a very clear narrative in your application about what you're doing, why, you're doing it. What the value of that is just explaining the value of what you're doing to the promotions panel helps them enormously understand the importance of what you're doing. So really work on that narrative.

Debbie Keeling: but also particularly with the research track is. keep an eye on the balance of your work of your Cv. Keep it as rounded as you can. That's in terms of developing not only your impact, but also the sort of activities you're involved in, the sort of funding that you're going for, and the nature of the leadership roles that you're developing.

Debbie Keeling: We're starting with Research Fellow B because that's what you would be applying to. You can see that it carries a level of responsibility, appropriate to somebody who has substantial research as part of their remit. And what you're starting to do here is establish that you are making or starting to make significant contributions that. There is that development.

Debbie Keeling: There is that story there around, how you're developing your profile, that you are contributing to research groups, to supervision of others and to obtaining research funding. But the emphasis again is on that development. So, at this point you are most likely to be working more as a team. But you'll be making those significant contributions. And you're able to evidence and articulate what those contributions are in those various areas.

Debbie Keeling: People on the research track are also engaged to teaching. And you will have something to say about teaching. Well, obviously, that will depend on the nature of the agreement that you have with your line manager and the head of school.

[Slide eighteen reads: Senior Research Fellow (Grade 9) - Research

Senior Research Fellows are equivalent to Senior Lecturers and Readers. The research profile of those appointed on or promoted to Senior Research Fellow will be at least commensurate with those appointed as or promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Appointment at or promotion to Senior Research Fellow will only be made where the candidate can demonstrate individual research achievement.

Managing and planning research may be a part of that achievement but will not be the principal justification for appointment or promotion. Evidence of independent research over a continuing period.

Established national reputation and known or developing international reputation

Successful supervision of doctoral students]

Debbie Keeling: The next level up is grade 9, Senior research fellow. Broadly speaking, this is equivalent to the Senior Lecturer/Reader positions that we've heard about in the other 2 tracks. And

Debbie Keeling: You see that increasing and it’s in both the evidence of independent research and over a continuing period. So, managing and planning research, it says, may be part of that achievement, will not be the principal justification for appointment or promotion. I think this is a significant, really important point between, if you're managing something versus you are leading on it.

Debbie Keeling: You have gone and got the money, you have designed, put it into place, taken a significant role in pushing that forward rather than being in a position where you are literally managing a process that somebody else has put in place, and that's a distinction that if you're looking for opportunities to look for an opportunity where you can take that lead. You can develop that independence for yourself, and this is the grade at which we really see that switch.

Debbie Keeling: Like all the other pathways, your external reputation, your external contribution is important. And there are lots of different ways in which you can do that as we've heard. Many of the examples we've already heard are very relevant to this, on advisory boards, for example, being part of a big international team and also let's not forget one of the things we haven't really talked about is collaborating with organisations, collaborating with companies. And there's a lot that you can do in that area in terms of really pushing forward your reputation, but also working with companies to have an impact.

Debbie Keeling: And and of course, it is important that you are not only contributing to, but you are successfully supporting doctoral students to completion. And it's also important to reflect on how you have enabled people, Doctoral students, to develop their career to get to that point and beyond. So don't forget those elements of your supervision. Put that into your narrative as well.

[Slide nineteen reads: Senior Research Fellow (Grade 9) – Research (cont.)

Ability to lead and manage a major research group

Ability to attract significant external research funding

Substantial evidence of positive relationships with partners outside the University

Capacity to contribute to departmental policy formation

Commitment to the broader work of the University though administrative roles or serving on relevant committee

Successful engagement in teaching or supervision]

Debbie Keeling: To continue with grade 9, you'll see there is sort of number of examples of sort of things that you might be doing. Leading, managing a research group, or attracting and or attracting external research funding, they normally go together.

Debbie Keeling: That idea of collaboration; building the evidence around the positive relationship that you're having with partners outside of the University. We're talking about all sorts of different partners. And I think in research, we really recognize that you'll be working with multiple partners, you'll be working with multiple disciplines, possibly. And

one of the things you might want to reflect on is how you have managed all those elements of that sort of relationship that you might be having? How have you negotiated relationships with external partners? How have you negotiated across disciplines across our academic institutions?

Debbie Keeling: There's lots of important things in there that you can reflect into your promotion application, and also make sure you provide good evidence of that.

And obviously there is an expectation that you will contribute both to your department and the university, so we'll be looking there for what sort of additional roles you might be taking on.

Debbie Keeling: and again, as Graeme said, not to be too prescriptive about that. But there will be roles that you might want to reflect on that you can develop.

Debbie Keeling: I would also say, think about how administrative roles fits into the profile that you are trying to develop, the career you're trying to develop. So the administrative roles should really go hand in hand with the sort of profile that you are trying to develop.

Debbie Keeling: And at this point there again, you will be taking part in teaching, and what you present there will be based on what you have agreed with your line manager and or head of school around your engagement in teaching.

Debbie Keeling: next slide, please.

[Slide twenty reads: Research Professor (Grade 10) – Research

The research profile of a candidate for appointment at or promotion to Research Professor will be commensurate with those seeking appointment to a Professor.

Evidence of outstanding, distinguished contribution to the discipline through publications, creative work and other appropriate forms of scholarship.

Evidence of academic distinction and international reputation for outstanding research achievements.

Proven ability to devise and direct large research projects, including leading large multi-disciplinary teams and/or collaborating with groups in other higher education institutions/ other sectors].

Debbie Keeling: There's quite a lot of slides for research, Professor, so I won't go through each point. But it is essentially what we would expect from somebody who is promoted to Professor on whatever track there is. A very similar expectation that you are evidencing your contribution.

Debbie Keeling: It could be a discipline. It could be multiple disciplines. It could be the development of research. So that you are really pushing forward and making a contribution to an area and you're able to evidence that through a sort of mixed portfolio which could include publications but would also include the other points here around research grants, for example, and other ways of engaging with partners.

Debbie Keeling: You're obviously continuing to develop your distinctiveness as an academic, your reputation. And we're looking for you to be constantly expanding the reach of that. So that's why it says international reputation there because it's sort of broadening out the scope of the sort of impact, the sort of contribution you want to make.

Debbie Keeling: And a research professor, would be expected to have had a significant contribution to large research projects, to be bringing that in to be leading and more complex teams. So multi-disciplinary teams and multi partner teams and evidencing what you would have been focusing on in terms of developing those different sorts of relationships, both inside and outside of the institution.

Debbie Keeling: Next slide, please, Matt

[Slide twenty one reads: Research Professor - (Grade 10) – Research (cont.)

Proven ability to inspire colleagues to develop their own research potential.

Proven ability to attract significant external research grants, contracts and/or consultancies.

Substantial evidence of successful relationships with partners outside the university, in support of their research, for example members of the general public, policy makers; NGOs etc.

Evidence of successful supervision of doctoral students.

Evidence of successful engagement in teaching or supervision

Commitment to the broader work of the University and HE though taking on major administrative tasks or serving on committees and working parties.]

Debbie Keeling: And what goes along with that is, you will be able to prove your ability to inspire colleagues, to have attracted external grants, to have had those successful relationships.

Debbie Keeling: The same point about doctoral students remains there; evidencing your contribution to that, but also how you've helped people develop, how you've mentored people. Again, successful engagement in teaching and it sort of goes without saying that when you get to professorial level. We are looking for people who've taken responsibility to contribute to the administration of the university.

Debbie Keeling: That’s it.

Matthew Naish: Yes, so I think that's it. So, for the research side, again. I'll just pause there to see if there are any questions come through on the research element.

Debbie Keeling: I think there is one; how do you prove that you significantly, independently contribute to the design and execution of research? For example, being a PI, taking the research through the stages of design, ethics, etc. What if you're not PI?

Debbie Keeling: Well, you can also be a CO-I. You can also be a named researcher who's contributed to the process. So, it depends on the level of the expectation that you'd have but as you develop your career, you would be expecting to at least be taking a Co-investigator role and you should be challenging yourself to take a PI role as you move up the field. But before that you will have other things that you can do. And if you're involved in

Grants, agree a specific role that you you're going to take and you're going to work on, because then you can articulate that in your promotion application.

Matthew Naish: Thank you. Debbie. There is a question here; if you are research grade 7 and feel like you meet. for example, 80%. Of the grade, 9 Criteria, is it better to apply to grade 9 and hope to be approved, or safer to just apply to grade 8?

Matthew Naish: Well, I mean, if you want to. But I mean, I think my advice would be that you need to speak to your head of school in that case and get some guidance from them about what sort of thing the promotion panel will be looking for. I think it's an individual decision. I don't think I can, or anybody here can give that advice, so I think you need to make that decision after speaking to your head of school,

Debbie Keeling: yeah, absolutely, I agree with you. Next question, how will you demonstrate managing and planning if you do not money or depend on line manager?

Debbie Keeling: I'm not totally sure I understand the question. In what context would you not have the money? If you've got a research project. Can I have a bit more context to that question, please.

Matthew Naish: Manoj would you like to come on and speak and just explain what you mean by that?

Manoj Tripathi: Hello! So, there was a one statement you mentioned to prove yourself that managing and planning but if people are like a research fellow under a line manager, whatever the projects they are getting you are not in, how can you demonstrate that?

Debbie Keeling: Sorry that's really broken up for me.

Matthew Naish: The line isn't very clear. I don't think we caught all of that.

Debbie Keeling: I think I understand that the question is, how do you move from demonstrating your managing and planning?

Manoj Tripathi: Okay, let me repeat it again. For example, if you do not have one, your own grant, like Epsilon, and you are appointed by line manager, but you are at Grade 8, so the all the money that is in the project is coming from the line manager. You do not owe any money your own. So how can you demonstrate that you're independent in managing planning.

Debbie Keeling: I think part of that is that you, in your role as a research fellow, I would expect that part of your role would be around managing and planning the process. The projects are so sort of diverse that it's difficult to give you a specific example. But,you would have been sort of taken on to do with certain tasks, and that's true. You are being employed by somebody, for who is the PI. But then what?

Debbie Keeling: Well, if I were you on this track, I would be looking for other opportunities to demonstrate independence. That could be applying for other smaller grants, for example, to complement the work that you're doing. It could be in leading on some of the potential publications or other outputs. It could be on leading tracks or workshops or being active in the field. What I would advise anybody sort of starting off in a research career is to project yourself into the future.

Debbie Keeling: If I were a research Professor, what would I like to be known for? What would I? Where do I want to be. I remember one of the first questions I was asked when I went for a research associate role was, where do you want to be in 10 years’ time? They weren't interested in what, I was going to do on the particular project, because they knew I could do that. But they wanted to know what I was bringing to the project in terms of developing that area. Further, what were my ambitions.

Debbie Keeling: On a research pathway, you really have to have a very clear idea, or at least seek out a mentor that can help you to develop that, about where you really want to be, and why and how you can develop that career. And it is you taking the initiative to do so.

Debbie Keeling: Did that answer your question?

Manoj Tripathi: Yes, a bit. I got some good ideas, some critical ideas from that, thank you.

Matthew Naish: Marvelous. Thank you. Debbie. There's one more question in the chat, and then we'll move on to the next stage, which is the process part of the presentation. So, the question is, conference papers were invited as the keynote speaker, that sounds very specific, and in the context of my field, though generally only 9 conference keynote speakers for 6,000 attendants. Would it be okay to mention the talks delivered as invited speakers in workshops or seminars?

Debbie Keeling: I would say, I would interpret conference quite widely, because it depends on your specific area of work as well. What large scale events like that are relevant, and who you want to reach? And also you might want to be looking at like a portfolio of different types of talks reaching out to different audiences. So yeah, I would understand that in its wider sense.

Matthew Naish: Thank you, Debbie, yeah. And I and I and I would concur. and I would say, that's true, for most criteria, cast your net widely for examples. Don't be too concerned about the specific little language in the criteria. Use as many examples you possibly can do evidence that you meet the criteria

Matthew Naish: So if we move on to the next segment which is the process.

[Slide twenty two reads: The Process

You complete a Promotion Application Form which includes a personal statement of up to 300 words demonstrating how you meet the criteria – follow the Application Guidance

Applicants wishing to declare individual circumstances (circumstances which may have affected the progress of your career, e.g. career interruptions due to family responsibilities, ill-health or disability etc.) can use the Individual Circumstances Form and send it to along with their application for promotion. These are confidential unless you confirm you are happy to share with the panels – refer to point 4 in the Process Guidance document

In the interests of best practice, since last year, applicants applying for Senior and above under the Research and Education & Research pathways are responsible for providing details of Independent Academic Assessors using the Independent Assessors Form and submitting to along with their application for promotion:]

Matthew Naish: I will fly through this quite quickly to allow some about further time at the end for questions. All of the guidance, all of this information is on our website and there is a link to this at the end, so if you want further information, please go to that. Or you can email and I or one of the team, will get back to you as soon as we can.

Matthew Naish: So first thing, you need to complete a promotion, application, form and that includes a personal statement of about 300 words and demonstrating how you meet the criteria.

Matthew Naish: There is an individual circumstances form which you may want to include, and that is essentially where you have had personal circumstances that have impacted your ability to meet the required quantity of work.

Matthew Naish: So typically, this might be, a single parent who is working part time and is unable to produce the quantity of work that would normally be acceptable. But the quality of that work needs to maintain the standards that we would expect.

Matthew Naish: Applicants applying for senior positions, and above are responsible for providing details of independent academic assessors. So those are the people who comment on your work, your reputation, whatever it may be, that the University seeks as independent confirmation of your standing as an academic.

[Slide twenty three reads: The Process

For Senior Lecturer or Senior Research Fellow – four assessors required, (2 UK Institutions, 1 Non-UK Institution and 1 reserve – which is usually Non-UK).

For Readers – five, (3 UK Institutions, 1 Non-UK Institution and 1 reserve – which is usually Non-UK)

For Professors and Research Professors – five, (2 UK Institutions, 2 Non-UK Institution and 1 reserve – which is usually Non-UK)

Assessors need to be independent rather than a referee. You should not communicate with the Assessor about your promotion application and request for an assessment.

External education experts will join a panel chaired by the PVC Education and Students to provide Independent Assessments for those on the Education & Scholarship track

Full guidance on identifying Independent Academic Assessors is available on the form and discussions with line managers/Heads of Schools are encouraged if required.

Matthew Naish: Senior Lectures and Senior Research fellows, 4 assessors are required. 2 UK institutions, 1 non-UK institution and 1 reserve. For Readers it’s 5, 3 UK institutions, 1 non-UK institution and 1 reserve. And for professors it's also 5, 2 UK institutions, though 2 non UK institutions and 1 reserve.

Matthew Naish: I would say having reserve is really helpful, because often we will get declined by external academics to provide an independent assessment, because they have done it for others as other institutions, or that they are just too busy. So having that reserve means that we can really make sure the process is one as efficiently as possible.

Matthew Naish: As I said, assessors need to be independent. They can't have collaborated with you in the recent past, and you should not communicate with them during promotional application process.

Matthew Naish: We do run a slightly different process for those on the E&S track and that is that we have an independent panel chaired by the PVC, Kate O’Riordan, for education and students, to go through those. And that's partly because historically, we were unable to retrieve independent assessments for those in the education scholarship pathway, and this process provides that independent robustness to the process.

[Slide twenty four reads: The Process

Applications are considered by School Promotions Committees (SPC), which include:

HoS, a PVC or nominee, a Professor from another School, DRAKE, DTL, Academic staff from the School at SL or above reflecting academic diversity of School, HR, Secretary

Requirement to complete Unconscious Bias training

In the interests of transparency, since 2022 Schools are required to publish the names of all those who will sit on the SPC. Applicants may refer to this list and where they believe a committee member may have a conflict of interest, they should declare it using the Conflict of Interest Form and send it to along with their application for promotion - follow the Conflict of Interest Guidance]

Matthew Naish: Applications are considered at the first stage by the School promotion committee that is made up of the academics you can see in front of you. All of those are required to complete unconscious bias training, and we do in HR, run reports to make sure that those who are on the panel have done the training and where they haven't, we advise the head of school to get them on the training as soon as possible.

Matthew Naish: Since 2022 schools are required to publish the names of all those who sit on the school promotion committees, and that so that we can make sure that we follow the conflict of interest element of the guidance, which is to ensure that the process is transparent, robust and fair. And more details of that, as I say, are in the guidance documents available on the website.

[Slide twenty five reads: The Process

First School Committee takes place late March to April and decides the final outcome of promotions from Grades 7 to 8, and whether others should proceed to next stage

For those who are proceeding – Independent Academic Assessments are obtained

Second School committee takes place in July and decides the final outcome for promotions to Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow, and whether applications for Reader/Professor are strong enough to recommend to Academic Promotions, Advancements and Titles Committee (APATC)

HoS provides statement for cases going to APATC

APATC meets in September and makes a final decision on cases for promotion to Reader and Professor

Unsuccessful candidates receive feedback from HoS at each stage

The effective date for all promotions will be 1 October 2024.]

Matthew Naish: So typically, the first school promotion committees take place late March to April. That's round about a 4 week period. Following that, confirmation will be sent out of those successful moving from Lecture A to lecture B and research fellow A to research fellow B. I should say that the although the promotion is confirmed at that stage, it's not actually implemented until the first of October, and that's consistent for everybody, as it says, at the bottom of the slide there.

Matthew Naish: Following that first School Promotion Committee, Independent assessments are sought and obtained. Those are then submitted to the second School Promotion Committee, who will consider the application again in light of the independent assessments received.

Matthew Naish: For those who again are seeking promotion to senior lecturer or Senior Research fellow, that second school promotion committee will confirm that outcome. For those who are seeking conferment of the title of Reader or professor, those applications then go to a final stage of moderation which is the academic promotions, advancements, and titles committee, and that's normally held in mid September. That's chaired by the Vice Chancellor PVC’s and heads of school cluster leads.

Matthew Naish: In September, then all this final decisions would be made, all candidates would be written to, and we will do our very best to make sure that all of the applications, so all the successful promotions are processed in the payroll for October but depending on the volume and other considerations that may not always be possible, but we will do our absolute best to make sure people receive the new rates of pay from the first of October.

[Slide twenty six reads: Don’t Forget…

If you think you can evidence the criteria – apply! Don’t be put off by assumptions about the outcome

Prepare your case well

Clear presentation of application form

Don’t submit first draft

Follow the Application Guidance

Explicitly address the Promotions Criteria – use the language

Provide publication lists with list of authors, explanation of roles, page numbers etc.

Education & Scholarship portfolio particularly important for those applying under Education & Scholarship pathway

Tell a clear story

Explain and interpret patterns in your career / discipline

What is new since last promotion?]

Matthew Naish: As said earlier, if you think you can evidence the criteria, then apply.

Matthew Naish: Don't be put off by any assumptions about the outcome. As I said, feedback that you will receive if you're unsuccessful, would be vital in determining or guiding your future applications, and it is therefore in my view at least, never a bad thing to apply.

Matthew Naish: Prepare your case well, with clear presentation of application. Don't submit your first draft. Seek guidance from others. Talk to your head to school, talk to your line, managers. Anybody who you think can offer you some advice. I would encourage you to speak to them.

Matthew Naish: Be explicit in how you're addressing the criteria. Provide publication lists. And absolutely, importantly, make sure that you are submitting a portfolio on the education, scholarship, portfolio pathway.

Matthew Naish: Tell a clear story and be very clear about what is new since the last promotion. Generally speaking, promotion committees will look at the evidence submitted that you have attained since the last promotion.

[Slide twenty seven reads: Don’t Forget…

Provide evidence to back up the story and explain patterns.

E.g. Has your book been reviewed? Provide a quote.

What roles have you had, what have you done, what difference did you make?

STAR – situation, task, activity, result

Seek advice and guidance.

Through the appraisal process

From colleagues within Schools

Get a mentor – Mentoring : Organisational Development : Schools and services : University of Sussex]

Matthew Naish: And don't forget, provide evidence to back up the story. Remember the Acronym STAR; Situation, what happened? Task, the task you undertook, Activity, what activity was entailed and finally the Result, what the impact was.

Matthew Naish: As I said, seek guidance from as many people as you can especially those who are more senior than you as they have been through the process and will be able to offer important guidance.

[Slide twenty eight reads: Further information

Further detail of the promotion criteria and process is available at: services/promotionrewardprocedures

Process Guidance

Promotions Criteria

Application Form

Application Form Guidance

Individual Circumstances form

Conflict of Interest Guidance

Conflict of Interest Declaration form

Independent Assessor Guidance and Nomination Form

NB please refer to the full guidance on the Academic Promotions webpage when making your application. These slides are a summary.

Matthew Naish: As I say, further information is available on our website, and that includes all the forms and guidance documents you need. I would also say, please refer to the full guidance on that information page these slides are a summary no more than that.

Matthew Naish: And that's it. That's the end of the presentation. There are more items in the chat. So, I will go to those. But I will stop sharing my screen.

Matthew Naish: Question, Professor level applications won't be considered by the schools until July, but will be will only consider evidence available in March, is that correct? No, that's not quite correct. So, the first School promotion committee will consider all applications, so that includes professorial applications, but they will then have a second consideration in in July. And that's the same for Reader positions too.

Matthew Naish: Question, How do you prove that you're significantly, independently contributed to the design and execution of research? Debbie I might hand that over to you or anybody else who might want to answer that?

Debbie Keeling: I think it was quite similar question to the previous. I’ll put some examples of when I was an RA, which was basically a Grade 7 and I can see Claire's already put some things in, but it's I mean, significantly and independently contributing maybe 2 different things. Independently is really taking the lead, primarily as a PI, but it could be a CO-I, and that’s where the significant comes in. You can play a significant role in research, even if you're not one of the people who got the funding.

Debbie Keeling: It's very specific example, but I basically led on the gaining ethics process in the NHS and it's a hugely complicated process and that was a significant contribution to that that project. I didn't win the money, but I made that significant contribution. There are other examples. So I would say, if you are not the Pi or Coi, then you should be having a talk to the pi and Coi’s about how you can develop your independence, and how you can make a contribution to that project in such a way that you are developing that independence.

Matthew Naish: Thank you, Debbie. We are slightly over time now I was just wondering if I could give the final word to Kate O’Riordan as PVC for any final words of wisdom. I will take the questions that we are unable to answer and address those and respond to those who have asked them. So, Kate, sorry to put you on the spot. But if I may hand over to you for final words of wisdom

Kate O’Riordan: That's alright thanks Matt. I guess like what you said at the beginning, if you're thinking about applying, it's always worth applying. It's like any practice and process the more you do it the more you understand it and getting feedback is always a gift.

Kate O'Riordan: So I would, recommend thinking about it and if you're not applying, then thinking about your profile and your work, and what you're doing in relation to the published criteria as a kind of way of thinking longer term, I suppose about your orientation towards the university, towards higher education and is probably a good practice to get into.

Kate O’Riordan: Someone asked about, will the criteria change year on year? Largely, no. Some processes and some elements change, but the kind of the general criteria across this university, and in relation to other institutions has similarities across HE.

Kate O'Riordan: Mentoring, talking to people who've had successful applications. All of those sorts of things, talking to other people. I've experienced both being mentored and mentoring people in relation to promotions and found it really useful. And I haven't had anyone that said, oh, it was not useful talking to someone who's already put an application. If you can get people to share applications, that's also kind of helpful. So I guess the other element about the talking to people is, if you've got any questions, ask, it's supposed to be transparent. It's supposed to be a system that is able to be understood and is accessible. So if it's not give us feedback and talk to people.

Kate O'Riordan: Thank you. And thanks to everyone who's helped support the session. And all the best.

Matthew Naish: Thank you, Kate, and yes, my thanks especially to Kate, Debbie, Graeme and Claire for devoting their time and sharing their wisdom with us all.

Matthew Naish: This presentation will be put online shortly, so for those who weren't able to join us, this would be available and for those who want to review the presentation, it will be posted as soon as we can as well.

Matthew Naish: With that being said, I'm going to end the meeting now. Thank you very much for joining us. I hope you found it useful and good luck with your promotion applications.

Thank you.

This video does not replace the detailed documentation on Academic Promotions.*

FAQs for Academic Promotions 2024


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 

Q2:         Can I submit additional documents/evidence with my application?

A2:         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.

Q3:         Can I get feedback on my application when I submit it?

A3:         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.

Q4:         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?

A4:         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.

Q5: 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?

A5: 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.

 Q6:         What level of detail is required in the application form? How far back can one go?

A6         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.

Q7:       The application form clearly states that all the output should be listed, not just from the date of appointment, am I wrong?

A7:       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.

Q8:       Is it being suggested to not say anything about achievements/publications, etc. on the application before joining Sussex?

A8:       Please see answer to question Q4 above.

Q9:       What does ‘external profile within subject’ mean?

A9:       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.

Q10:     What does ‘successful PhD supervision’ mean?

A10:     That the student has been awarded their PhD. So you have supported and supervised to completion.

Q11:       Will the panel consider internal University grants as evidence of successful research funding?

A11:       Yes

Q12:       Can a Reader in the 'Research and teaching' track apply for a Research Professorship?

A12       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.

Q13:       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?

A13:       Yes, you are able to refer to this but should clearly set out the nature and extent of your involvement.

Q14:       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?

A14:       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. To add, finding opportunities for external engagement with scholarship, your School cluster's academic developer is a very useful source of advice, and the Education Enhancement team, who also publicise opportunities.

Q15:       Should the Education & Scholarship portfolio be submitted separately or embedded in the CV application form?

A15:       It should be included in the application form, section 6 of the form is provided for this purpose.

Q16:       Is the education and scholarship portfolio the 2,000-word statement we are asked to provide?

A16:       Yes

Q17:       Do the applicants via the research pathway need to provide a 2000-word teaching portfolio?

A17:       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.

Q18:       Can you please explain what should be included in the teaching portfolio? Is this where you include quotes from teaching evaluations?

A18:       The Application Guidance provides examples of what should be included in the Education & Scholarship Portfolio

Q19:       I would apply for "Professorship", but consider the Readership as well, if unsuccessful. How should I fill in the box of "title"?

A19:       In the “title” box, you should insert the title you are applying for. If the panel feels that you do not meet the criteria for Professor they may consider you for the title of Reader instead, as long as there is evidence you meet the criteria for a Readership.

 Independent Assessor FAQs

Q20:       Can I discuss my choices of Independent Assessors with my Head of School/Department before submitting my form?

A20:       Yes, you can liaise with senior academics for advice and support in selecting your independent assessors ahead of submitting your form, so long as the criteria and guidance of selection is followed.

Q21:       Do I see my Independent Assessments/HoS statements before they go to APATC?

A21:       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 -

Q22:       Why is there a different process for obtaining Independent Academic Assessments for the Research/Education & Research and Education & Scholarship tracks?

A22:       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.

Q23:       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?

A23:       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 

Q24:       If I am currently on an Education & Scholarship track, can I apply for a promotion in the Education & Research track (and vice versa)?

A24:       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.

Q25:       Can I apply for promotion as a Teaching Fellow?

A25:       Teaching Fellows can make an application for promotion on to the Education & Scholarship track

Q26:       In explaining my teaching philosophy and practice in the application, can I use examples from my teaching prior to joining Sussex?

A26:       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.

Q27:       What do we mean by scholarship? Is the research and publications you write on the area that you teach relevant?

A27:       Yes, where you are writing scholarly articles on your subject area these can be included.

Q28:       Can I still write about research grants and publications in an Education & Scholarship application?

A28:       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.

Q29:       Could you elaborate with some examples of the meaning of 'responsibility for and involvement in broader pedagogic arena'?

A29:       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. A broader pedagogical area might be taking a leading role in fostering inclusivity in teaching within a given area, or might be leading on assessment design or improving feedback.

Q30:       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.

A30:       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.

Q31:       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?

A31:       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. For accepted books and book chapters, an ISBN can be provided if there is no DOI.

Q32:       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?

A32:       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.

Q33:       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?

A33:       When making your application you should include evidence that addresses the criteria for promotion at the level for which you are applying, in the categories set out on the application form.

Q34:       Could you please elaborate on achievements for teaching and achievements for scholarship, which are two of the portfolios?

A34:       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.

Q35:       If we’re going for professorship on the scholarship route how do we get a mentor?

A35:       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 

Q36:       If I am at the top of Lecturer A will I automatically get promoted?

A36:       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.

Q37:       For lecturer A to B, do we have to meet all criteria stated on the slide?

A37:       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 A35, 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.

Q38:       Can you be promoted from Lecturer A to Senior lecturer (considering one has met all the criteria for SL)?

A38:       Yes, however you should clearly state in the application form which role you are applying for.

 Lecturer B, Senior Lecturer, Reader & Professor FAQs 

Q39:       How long does it usually take to progress from Lecturer B to Senior lecturer?

A39:       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 

Q40:       For promotion to professor does it make any difference if you are currently Senior Lecturer or Reader?

A40:       It is possible to apply for Grade 10, Professor, if an individual is Grade 9, so it doesn’t matter if you are a Senior Lecturer or Reader. They key is about the evidence and demonstrating it.

Q41:       Since both are Grade 9, is there a salary increase from Senior Lecturer to Reader?

A41:       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. To note, the discretionary zones on the pay scale are the zones in the dark grey bands. They are given as the output of the DPR process rather than the promotion process (reward for good performance but not full promotions).

Q42:       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?

A42:       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.

Q43:       For promotion to professor, is it still lifetime achievement?

A43:       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 Q4 & Q39 above.

Personal Circumstances FAQ’s 

Q44:       What would be your advice on how to frame personal circumstances in a personal statement?

A44:       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

Q45:       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?

A45:       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.

Q46:      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?

A46:       Promotions are determined solely on the strength of the application form, there are no predetermined limits to the number of successful promotions.

Q47:       How long should one wait for next promotion once s/he has been promoted?

A47:       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.

Q48:       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?

A48:       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.

Q49:       How can an applicant ensure they're given 'a major task with leadership' in order to contribute to school management?

A49:       You should discuss this with your Head of School, they will know the opportunities that exist within your School and which would be suitable.

Q50:       What does the University identify as under-represented groups?

A50:       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 sex) 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.

Q51:       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?

A51:       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.