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Promotions Procedures

Academic, Research and Teaching Fellows Promotions

Introduction Academic Staff Promotions Research Staff Promotions Teaching Fellows Promotions Senior Promotions Process


An introduction from the President and Provost

Promotion is the principal means by which UCL recognises and rewards the outstanding achievements of non-professorial academic colleagues. The thresholds for promotion at UCL are high, and widely recognised as such. It is entirely right that we should impose exacting standards. Promotion is not an entitlement. It is also important that our procedures are transparent and fair, ensuring equality of opportunity through a rigorous process of peer review, and consistent measures of academic excellence across the whole of UCL.

It is a four stage process. First, Heads of Department have a central role to play in advising candidates on promotions issues. Chances of success are not always easy to forecast.  Referees frequently differ in their view of the quality of a candidate's contribution. Heads of Department, in consultation where necessary with the Dean, are better placed than most to advise potential candidates, over a period of years, on the prospects of success and the appropriate time at which to bring forward an application. Every year a significant number of cases are unsuccessful, inevitably because the demonstrable strength of the claim to promotion is not yet clear-cut.

Second, the preparation and submission of an application. Do take great care with this. I have seen too many cases where insufficient attention to detail has led to failure to present the strengths of the case. The committee cannot do this for you.

Third, the applications are assessed by the three school based committees, whose deliberations lead to recommendations to be considered at the fourth and final stage, the main UCL Academic Promotions Committee, which I chair.

Some points to note: first, there are no pre-ordained quotas for promotion at UCL. Excellence is the primary criterion. There is no guarantee that the success rates of previous years will continue. Second, we are willing to recognise real talent and reward it early, particularly through promotion to a readership. Third, we only undertake promotions through the annual promotions round, in order to ensure comparability of excellence across the whole of UCL.  

Michael Arthur


1 Introduction to procedures  
2 Departmental and Faculty Selection and Submission Procedure  
3 Direct Route cases  
4 Personal Circumstances  
5 Teaching achievements and a Teaching Portfolio  

1          Introduction
This document defines the procedures to be followed in applying for and the process to be followed in reaching decisions on proposals for the promotion to academic, research and teaching grades. The criteria and procedure apply to both clinical and non-clinical academic, teaching and research roles, as well as Language Tutor roles.

2          Departmental and Faculty Selection and Submission Procedure
Every Head of Department*1 should consider whether or not it would be appropriate to convene a yearly "Review Panel" consisting of senior members of the Department to ensure that all staff are considered and assessed as to whether or not they should be put forward for promotion that year. Any such review panel should not use criteria more or less stringent or restrictive than those of the Academic Promotions Committee itself.  

Please note that cases for promotion must be considered on merit and submitted independently of the availability of funding.

3          Direct route cases (self-proposals)

Every member of the academic, research and teaching staff has the right to propose him or herself for promotion. All members of staff will receive notification of the start of the annual senior promotion exercise at the same time as Heads of Department, together with appropriate instructions for preparing a self-proposal. In all respects, the procedure will be the same as that for departmentally proposed candidates except that the self-proposed candidate will deal directly with the Faculty Dean.

The Head of Department will have no direct role to play but will, however, be informed by the Dean that the self-proposal has been made. The Dean will consult with whomever he/she considers appropriate when preparing the case for presentation to the School Committeee (SchCom).

4       Personal circumstances

In order that consideration can be give to all relevant factors, candidates are encouraged to indicate any individual circumstances that may have affected their output. Candidates may be disadvantaged if they do not disclose these details, however specific details do not have to be described (e.g. no need to describe a disability or disclose confidential medical information). A range of personal circumstances can be taken into account, some examples are as follows:

This is not an exhaustive list. If candidates have any personal circumstances which they consider to have had an impact on their output, these should be detailed with their application such as in the CV. Invitations (to supervise students or give talks for example) which could not be taken up should also be clearly listed under the relevant section in the CV.

Note: For applications for senior grades (9 and 10) candidates may prefer to submit a statement via the Head of Department so that only senior Academic Promotion Committee members see it and not the referees.

Note: Whilst the review panel/school committee/Academic Promotions Committee will make allowances for the quantity of output being affected by personal circumstances quality must be maintained.  Evidence of a candidate's work trajectory is important.

For further advice contact the HR Advisory Services.

5       Teaching achievements and a Teaching Portfolio

It is expected that the detailed evidence of teaching achievement will reside in a teaching record. Such a record is normally termed a "portfolio", the contents of which are records kept and owned by the member of staff for him/her to select from to make different presentations according to audience and purpose.

It is expected that academic/teaching staff will have maintained such a continuous record throughout their careers.

This is considered to be a normal part of a staff member's duties in many universities. It does not require an unacceptably large extra burden of work and should be seen, and accepted, as an important component of any case for promotion.  Documentation of this kind will, in any case, normally be required to inform your appraisal discussion.

Further guidance can be found in Presenting a case based on teaching achievement

1The Head of Department (HoD) is a generic UCL title for those who report directly to the Faculty Deans and includes Divisional and Institute Directors for the School of Life and Medical Sciences(SLMS).