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Academic Staff Promotion Policy

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Note: Dec 2020 - A new version of this policy has been approved and will be published in January 2021 together with a new procedure and guidelines. Academic staff planning to apply for promotion in 2021 should wait for the new policy and associated documents to be published or contact for more information.

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) An appropriate promotion policy is one of the ways in which Charles Sturt University (the University) recognises the achievements and professional development of its academic staff.

(2) Academic staff promotions allow the University to identify and foster academic leadership, as defined in The CSU Academic: A Guide to Evidence in Promotion. Staff promotion enables evidenced and consistent outstanding achievement and performance at the current level, which is aligned with the University's strategy and mission to be recognised and rewarded.


(3) This Policy applies to:

  1. academic staff of the University, who hold a fixed-term or continuing appointment in a full-time or fractional capacity at level A, B, C or D;
  2. the Academic Staff Promotion Committee appropriate to the applicant's level; and
  3. employees involved in the administration of Academic Promotion applications and documentation.


(4) This Policy must be read in conjunction with:

  1. Code of Conduct;
  2. Academic Staff Probation Procedure;
  3. Academic Staff Promotion Guidelines - Applicants;
  4. Standards, Expectations and Qualifications Policy - Academic Staff;
  5. Academic Staff Teaching Qualifications and Equivalent Professional Experience Policy;
  6. Teaching and Professional Work Function Policy - Professional Activity;
  7. the current Enterprise Agreement 2013-2016; and
  8. any policies and procedures designed to enhance academic best practice (e.g. Academic Senate policies and University Council Rules).
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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) In this Policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Academic field - academic discipline or field of study that is taught and/or researched.The terms "academic field" and "academic discipline" may be used interchangeably within the Academic Staff Promotion Policy, Academic Staff Promotion Procedure and Guidelines.
  2. Academic Staff Promotion Committee - is a generic title used to refer to both the Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee and the University Professorial Promotion Committee.
  3. Domain - is based on current practice and relevant legislation as informed by historical notions of a university. Charles Sturt University identifies three specific academic activities, which are termed "domains" and encompass much more than the traditional and restricted concepts of teaching and research. These academic activities are:
    1. influencing university, profession, community;
    2. promoting learning; and
    3. creating knowledge.
  4. Dimension - each domain is characterised in The CSU Academic: A Guide to Evidence in Promotion by scope of activity, which comprises the following dimensions:
    1. personal and professional development;
    2. student engagement and learning;
    3. application and integration of scholarship;
    4. design and development;
    5. discovery and extension of new knowledge; and
    6. leadership and collaboration.
  5. Evidence - refers to demonstrable activities, outputs and outcomes that illustrate and support claims being made. The Academic Staff Promotion Committee will evaluate evidence for demonstration of excellence, quality, innovation and impact. Evidence should be provided in the application, supervisor statement and report from the referees. All applicants should refer to The CSU Academic: A Guide to Evidence in Promotion for further information.
  6. Ex officio - is Latin for "from the office," to describe someone who has a right because of an office held. A substitute may only attend a meeting for an ex officio member of a committee where they are acting in the position that has ex officio membership of the committee.
  7. Professional Practice - Professional practice in this policy refers to people who practise in professions, occupations or disciplines through drawing on a formal body of knowledge. It also refers to a field of knowledge that relates to the professional, ethical and/or moral dimensions of being a practitioner in a particular profession, occupation or discipline.
  8. Research - refers to the creation of knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.
  9. Scholarship - refers to:
    1. academic study, achievement or learning at a high level;
    2. engaging in personal but rigorous intellectual inquiry and development, involving values such as honesty, integrity, open-mindedness, scepticism and intellectual humility; and
    3. making transparent the processes and outcomes of scholarly activities.
  10. Secretary, Academic Staff Promotion Committees - representative appointed by the Executive Director, People and Culture to manage the academic promotion process.
  11. Supervisor - refers to the line manager of an applicant. In most cases, this will be the Head of School but, where the applicant is a Head of School or an Associate Dean, for example, the supervisor is the relevant Executive Dean. If the applicant is an Executive Dean, then the supervisor is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). In the case of academic staff appointed to a Research Centre and not to a School or Faculty, then the supervisor is the Centre Director. For academic staff appointed to Divisions or Offices, the supervisor is the Director, Executive Director, Dean of Students or Pro Vice-Chancellor of the relevant Division or Office.
  12. Teaching - is a multi-faceted, complex and collaborative activity that has a performative aspect of working with students online or face-to-face in formal and informal settings; it also incorporates other foundational activities such as curriculum development, assessment and ongoing professional learning about teaching. In Australia, the Office for Learning and Teaching provides criteria against which teaching excellence awards are judged. These include: approaches that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn; development of curricula and resources that reflect a command of the field; approaches to assessment, feedback and support that foster independent learning; support for equity and diversity; and scholarly activity.
  13. Work function - refers to the description of an employee's appointment as recognised in the University’s Enterprise Agreement.
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Section 3 - Policy


(6) This Policy is based on principles of:

  1. recruitment, retention and development of high performing academic staff who contribute to the University's mission and operate in accordance with its Code of Conduct;
  2. equity, fairness and flexibility in workplace arrangements;
  3. organisational productivity and performance;
  4. commitment to transparency of process, based on merit and equal opportunity for all academic staff;
  5. recognition of the variety of academic activity and differing forms of output that are characteristic of different disciplines;
  6. recognition of the widely varying combinations of academic activity, the balance of which is likely to change over time for any one staff member; and
  7. recognition of diversity in the ways in which individual academic staff contribute to the University's mission and the wide variety of academic work that is appropriate to that mission.

(7) It is expected that all staff will engage in an appropriate mix of activities across all three domains, in alignment with their work function and current workload allocation.

(8) Level C is identified as the expected level that will be reached by most academic staff at Charles Sturt University during their career. Promotion beyond Level C is restricted to those showing sustained exceptional performance beyond the expectations of a Level C (or D) appointment.

(9) Anti-discrimination and affirmative action / Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) legislation is promoted within the process of Academic Promotions. The New South Wales and Commonwealth Acts, as listed below, cover discrimination in employment, education and other areas on the grounds of sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), race (including colour, ethnicity, descent, ethno-religious identity, national identity and background), marital status, disability, homosexuality, age, transgender status, and carers' responsibilities (employment).

  1. Racial Discrimination Act 1975
  2. Sex Discrimination Act 1984
  3. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  4. Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
  5. Age Discrimination Act 2004
  6. Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 No 48 NSW


(10) There will be an annual round of promotions at which academic staff of the University, who hold a fixed-term or continuing appointment in a full-time or fractional capacity at Level A, B, C or D, may apply for promotion to the next appointment level. An applicant may make only one application in a promotion round. This does not preclude promotion by two academic levels where, in the view of the relevant Academic Staff Promotion Committee, such accelerated progress is warranted. In the case of staff at Level B, where the relevant Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee recommends promotion by two academic levels, the relevant Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee will approve the promotion to Level C and forward the application to the University Professorial Promotion Committee with its recommendations.

(11) Academic staff employed on the basis of a fixed-term contract are also eligible to apply, but promotion of a person who is employed on a non-renewable contract does not vary the length of the contract.

(12) Academic staff whose employment is externally funded are not eligible to apply for promotion unless the funds include provision for an increase to support the promotion.

(13) Staff in a joint appointment (e.g. with the Department of Health, Department of Family and Community Services or the Department of Human Services) may be eligible to apply, depending on the circumstances of the agreement.

(14) To be eligible for promotion, the following conditions must be met:

  1. staff have satisfactorily completed the requirements for probation; and
  2. individual performance is considered to be satisfactory, as determined by their supervisor, as a result of their most recent probation meeting or Employee Development and Review Scheme meeting.

(15) An academic staff member may not normally apply for promotion in consecutive years, unless the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) invites resubmission on the recommendation of the relevant Academic Staff Promotion Committee and Executive Dean of the applicant's Faculty, or unless there is a new and significant reason for early resubmission. The latter will require the support of the relevant Executive Dean and approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).


(16) The Executive Director, People and Culture is responsible for developing, reviewing and overseeing the Academic Staff Promotion Policy, including Procedure, Guidelines and Forms for academic staff promotion.

(17) The Executive Director, People and Culture, has delegated authority to approve the Academic Staff Promotion Policy, Procedure, Guidelines and Forms, following review by the Academic Senate and after the Policy has been endorsed at a meeting of the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team.

(18) Applicants are responsible for familiarising themselves with this Policy and associated documents. They must notify their supervisor of their intent to apply for promotion, prepare and submit an accurate application adhering to all timelines, and assist in identifying potential referees who can provide Academic Staff Promotion Committees with independent advice.

(19) Supervisors are responsible for providing applicants with consistent and accurate advice, organising an appropriate mentor, and counselling successful and unsuccessful applicants, as required by this Policy and the related Procedure. Supervisors are responsible for nominating referees in consultation with the applicant.

(20) The Secretary, Academic Staff Promotion Committees is the individual designated to fill the secretarial role in respect of both the Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee and University Professorial Promotion Committee. It is not the individual(s) providing administrative support to these committees.

Number of Promotion Positions

(21) The number of promotion positions to be made available is not normally pre-determined. Promotion is merit-based and not limited by quotas except in exceptional circumstances.

(22) If the Vice-Chancellor decides to place a limit on the number of positions available at any or each academic level, then the number of promotion positions available will be publicised when inviting applications for promotion.

Applications for Promotion and Their Assessment

(23) An application for promotion must be made in accordance with the manner, format and page limits prescribed in the Academic Staff Promotion Policy and related Procedure, and submitted on-line to the Secretary, Academic Staff Promotion Committees by the advertised closing date.

(24) The Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee will assess applications for promotion to Lecturer (Level B) and Senior Lecturer (Level C), and make recommendations to the Executive Dean for determination.

(25) The University Professorial Promotion Committee will assess applications for promotion to Associate Professor (Level D) and Professor (Level E), and make recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor for approval. The Vice-Chancellor will report to the University Council about the approved professorial appointments.

(26) Where an applicant is not a member of a School or Faculty, and is applying for promotion to Level B or Level C, then the applicant's supervisor in consultation with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and/or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) will determine the appropriate Faculty Academic Staff Promotion Committee to consider the application.

(27) The nominated members of the Academic Staff Promotion Committees will be appointed by the Executive Deans or Vice-Chancellor, in accordance with clauses 76-82 and 83-90 of the Academic Staff Promotion Procedure.

Conflict of Interest

(28) Actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest must be addressed. Procedures for handling any potential conflicts are addressed in the University's Conflict of Interest Procedure.

Assessment of Applications

(29) Applications will be assessed in accordance with the Academic Staff Promotion Policy and related Procedure.


(30) There is no provision for an appeal against an unsuccessful application other than in cases where the applicant has reason to believe there has been a significant procedural irregularity.

(31) Decisions of Academic Staff Promotion Committees at Faculty and University levels shall be made on the merits of the applications for promotion. Such decisions shall be final and not subject to review or change.

Extraordinary Promotion Application

(32) An application for promotion may be considered outside of the usual promotion round upon request of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor where an individual has been offered another post and there is a clear case for retention.

(33) Applications for promotion out-of-round must satisfy all other conditions for promotion. If there has been a previous decision not to promote at the University, there must be persuasive evidence of a significantly stronger case.

Effective Date of Promotion

(34) Academic promotion (including the outcome of an extraordinary promotion application) will take effect from the first pay period commencing on or after the formal notification in writing to the applicant of the successful outcome of their application. This includes change to a successful applicant's title to Lecturer (Level B), Senior Lecturer (Level C), Associate Professor (Level D) or Professor (Level E).

Reporting and Review

(35) The Vice-Chancellor will report the following minimum requirements to the Academic Senate at the completion of each annual Promotion round:

  1. the number of applicants in the round at all Levels B through D, with breakdown to Levels, Campus, Faculty, School, gender and primary domain;
  2. the number of promotions approved, broken down as in clause 35a;
  3. the number of cases where an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) box was ticked;
  4. the number of appeals and outcomes;
  5. any problems or issues identified by the different committees. This will include a report on any delays (beyond prescribed time limits) in providing feedback to all applicants; and
  6. any out-of-round applications and promotions since the previous report, broken down as in clause 35a.

(36) The University is committed to ad hoc review of the Policy, Procedure and Guidelines. The Academic Senate will pro-actively engage with the report by the Vice-Chancellor and provide feedback on any relevant issues to the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team for action. A systematic cycle of review and evaluation of the Policy and Procedure is to be formally conducted after five years, using the data collected by the Division of People and Culture as a starting point for sector benchmarking.

(37) Information contained in an application, including reports by referees and discussions within Academic Staff Promotion Committees, shall be confidential, subject to any requirement of disclosure by law, including under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No 52. Any committee member who breaches confidentiality will be required to withdraw from the Academic Staff Promotion Committee and may be subject to disciplinary action.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(38) Refer to the Academic Staff Promotion Procedure.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(39) Refer to the Academic Staff Promotion Guidelines - Applicants.