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Academic Promotions Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy sets out information for prospective applicants in relation to Academic promotion to:

  1. outline how Western Sydney University recognises and rewards academic staff who contribute to achieving the Sustaining Success Strategic Plan 2021-2026 and whose workplace behaviour reflects the University's values of boldness, fairness, integrity, and excellence;
  2. provide an identifiable career pathway for academic staff; and
  3. foster a culture of performance excellence.

(2) This policy applies to academic promotion to Levels B, C, D and E.

(3) This policy should be read in conjunction with the Privacy Policy, Code of Conduct, Records and Archives Management Policy, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Academic Promotion Guidelines and the Academic Promotion website.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purposes of this policy, definitions that apply can be found in the Policy DDS Glossary.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Strict privacy and confidentiality must be maintained by all staff involved in the receipt, discussion and determination of promotion applications.

Part A - Principles

(6) The University regards its policy and associated guidelines governing the promotion of its academic staff as an instrument for achieving its mission. Through promotion, the University acknowledges the contributions made by academic staff within the University and the wider community. A high level of commitment from the staff is integral to achieving the University mission.

(7) The University will recognise and reward sustained academic excellence through performance, contribution and achievement (relative to opportunity) in an equitable, transparent and consistent process of promotion.

(8) Promotion will be based on evidence of excellence and impact of contributions to the University's strategic goals in the field of academic practice of:

  1. learning and teaching;
  2. research and scholarship;
  3. engagement, governance and service.

(9) The University recognises that the focus of achievements will differ between individuals and may change across a career.

(10) The University does not impose quotas on the number of staff approved for academic promotion in any one round.

(11) The University has adopted the following principles, which govern actions in the promotion of academic staff:

  1. The University is committed to equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion. Consistent with state and federal legislation, staff should not be treated less favourably due to their sex, relationship status, pregnancy, parental status, breastfeeding, age, race, impairment, religious belief or religious activity, political belief or activity, trade union activity, lawful sexual activity, gender identity, sexuality, family responsibilities, or association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes. The University recognises that some of these attributes may impact on a staff member's capacity to work uninterrupted or on a full-time basis.
  2. The University will assess academic staff on their achievements relative to opportunity, based on requirements for promotion across the fields of academic practice of Learning and Teaching; Research, and Scholarship; and Engagement, Governance and Service. Applications will be assessed with consideration to fractional appointments, personal circumstances, or both. Non-traditional patterns of achievement, such as may be demonstrated by women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Peoples, people with disabilities and people from non-English speaking backgrounds will be taken into account. Particular consideration will be given to the impact that career breaks and part time employment have had on applicants with carer responsibilities, and accomplishments determined relative to opportunities provided, rather than solely on a quantitative basis. (Refer to the Academic Promotion Guidelines for further information). 
  3. The University will establish an Academic Promotions Committee to consider applications lodged by academic staff for promotion to Levels B, C, D and E.
  4. An applicant may apply only to the level immediately above their current level, and if successful will normally be appointed to step one of that new level.
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Section 4 - Procedures

Part B - Eligibility

(12) Academic staff are eligible to apply for promotion if, at the time of application submission:

  1. they have a continuing appointment or fixed-term contract, either full-time or part-time;
  2. they have served at least 24 months continuous employment at the University at time of application submission; and
  3. they have a current, signed workload agreement, and have participated constructively and in good faith in the Academic Performance Planning and Review process.

(13) Promotion of a person who is employed on a non-renewable contract does not vary the length of the contract.

(14) In exceptional cases, newly-appointed academic staff may be considered eligible for an early application for academic promotion. The decision to waive the eligibility period will be determined as part employment and probationary process, outlined within the Academic Promotion Guidelines.

(15) Academic staff may not normally apply for academic promotion within 24 months of a previous submission. Exemption to apply within 12 months will only be considered in exceptional circumstances as outlined within the Academic Promotion Guidelines.

(16) Academic staff are ineligible to apply for promotion if:

  1. they are employed on a casual basis; or
  2. their employment is externally funded, unless the funding includes provision to support the promotion.

Part C - Requirements for Promotion

Fields of Academic Practice

(17) Applications for academic promotion will be assessed against the University's general standards for appointments, described in the Position Classification Standards in the current University Academic Staff Agreement.

(18) Promotion is based on sustained academic excellence and the evidence of the quality and impact of contributions to the University's strategic goals in each of the three academic fields. Where an academic appointment specifically precludes or constrains contribution to one of these areas, the application will be judged against the relevant areas of contribution.

(19) Applicants are required to make their case to the Academic Promotions Committee, addressing three fields of academic practice:

  1. Achievements in Learning and Teaching, including but not limited to, any one or more of: engaged teaching, curriculum development, HDR supervision, educational leadership, Indigenous learning and teaching and student learning development.
  2. Achievements in Research and Scholarship, including but not limited to, any one or more of: engaged research, research impact (including knowledge transfer/commercialisation), research leadership, indigenous research and research partnership development.
  3. Achievements in Engagement, Governance and Service, including but not limited to any one or more of: institutional leadership at this University, academic citizenship, pastoral care of students and colleagues, contributions to higher education and other sectors, the relevant profession or academic discipline, Indigenous communities and other communities in Australia or overseas.

(20) It is expected that applicants will demonstrate sustained academic excellence through performance, contribution, and achievements (relative to opportunity) and impact across all three fields of academic practice (unless an exceptional case is made), for the level for which they are applying. Applicants will have regard to the requirements and expectations as described in the Position Classification Standards. It is recognised that the focus of the contribution and achievements will vary between individuals and disciplinary fields and may change across an academic’s career. Academic promotion is based solely on the merit of the case presented.

(21) Assessments of applications for academic promotion will consider applicants' overall career achievements and trajectory, but will focus on applicants' achievements over the shortest of:

  1. the previous five years;
  2. the period since the applicant's last promotion at the University; or
  3. the period since the applicant's appointment to the University.

(22) In the case of applicants with documented career interruptions, an extended timeframe of achievements may be considered as outlined within the Academic Promotion Guidelines.

Part D - Appeals

(23) Applicants whose application for promotion was determined to be unsuccessful may lodge a formal appeal of the decision. The grounds of any such appeal are limited to failure by the Academic Promotions Committee or the Office of People to comply with the process requirements of the policy or guidelines that had a material effect on the decision. Appeals by applicants contesting the decision of the Vice-Chancellor and President are not permitted. Refer to the Academic Promotion Guidelines.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(24) Academic Promotion Guidelines.

(25) Academic Promotion website.

(26) Code of Conduct.

(27) Conflict of Interest Policy.

(28) Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy.

(29) Records and Archives Management Policy.

(30) Privacy Policy.