Academic Promotion Procedure


Context and Purpose

Academic Promotion at the University of South Australia is conducted through a thorough and fair assessment process based on merit.

This Procedure outlines the processes and requirements that apply to the University’s annual Academic Promotion round in support of the Academic Promotion Policy (M- 26).

This Procedure applies to full and part-time, continuing or fixed-term Academic staff applying for promotion to Level B, Level C, Level D or Level E through the annual Academic Promotion round.


This procedure is managed by the People, Talent & Culture Unit.


The academic promotion process is confidential and all materials and deliberations will be held in the strictest confidence and considered only for the purposes of assessing applications for academic promotion.


Principles and Eligibility

1. Academic Promotion will be conducted on the basis of merit and equal opportunity.
2. Academic staff employed on a continuing or fixed-term contract are eligible to apply for promotion.
3. Applicants must have a current performance development and management plan approved by their supervisor in accordance with the Performance Development and Management Policy (HR 25.1) to ensure they have access to performance feedback and appreciation of their potential.
4. Applicants can submit separate applications to different academic levels in the same Academic Promotion round.
5. Academic staff who were unsuccessful in their application for the previous annual Academic Promotion round are ineligible to apply without written approval from the Provost & Chief Academic Officer for Level B and Level C applicants, or the Vice Chancellor for Level D and Level E applicants.
6. Casual staff, adjuncts and honorary appointees are not eligible to apply for Academic Promotion through the annual Academic Promotion round.
7. In exceptional circumstances the Vice Chancellor may convene an Academic Promotion panel to consider an application outside the annual process.

Application Timelines

1. The Academic Promotion round will be conducted annually and implemented to enable the announcement of successful academic promotions effective as of 1st January of the following calendar year.

2. Applications for Academic Promotion will usually be called no earlier than March and no later than the end of June each year, with applicants provided adequate time to prepare their application. Late applications will not be accepted after the advertised closing date.

Submission of additional information

3. Any additional information the applicant wants to submit following the closing date must be provided to no later than 5 working days prior to the shortlisting meeting. The Executive Officers will provide the information to the panel members. No changes to the application form or curriculum vitae are able to be made after the closing date.

4. The timelines for the annual Academic Promotion round will be published on the Academic Promotion Website and advised through staff announcements and other forums associated with the Academic Promotion round.

Information Sessions

1. Information sessions will be held annually in the lead up to, and during, the annual Academic Promotion round. These sessions will be coordinated by the People, Talent & Culture Unit and will provide comprehensive and detailed information on how to prepare an application for Academic Promotion relevant to each level. Specific information will be provided on the role of Academic Staff Activity Reports (ASAR) and other required data and how ‘appointment relative to opportunity’ is considered as part of the assessment process.

2. Additional support materials will be uploaded to the Academic Promotion Website.

Criteria for Promotion

1. Applicants for Academic Promotion must demonstrate evidence of:

• Achievement and sustained high performance at their current academic level;
• Performance at the academic level to which promotion is sought and an upward trajectory; and
• University staff core behavioural attributes and alignment to the University’s missions, values and strategic goals.

2. An applicant employed on a Teaching and Research Academic appointment must address leadership, the core attributes and all three areas of teaching and learning, research, and engagement

3. An applicant employed on a Research Academic appointment must address leadership, the core attributes and the research and engagement criteria. Applicants should also address the teaching and learning criterion in the event they have had a teaching allocation

4. An applicant employed on a Teaching Academic appointment must address leadership, the core attributes and the teaching and learning and the engagement criteria. If you have contributed to research, you may also address the research criterion.

5. Academic Promotion to an alternative appointment basis will only be supported in exceptional circumstances based on prior written approval from the Provost & Chief Academic Officer for Level B and Level C applicants and the Vice Chancellor for applicants for promotion to Level D and Level E.

Achievement Relative to Opportunity

1. The University is committed to ensuring that the principles of equal opportunity are applied in relation to the Academic Promotion process by providing the opportunity for evaluation of an applicant’s achievements relative to the opportunities that have been available to them based on their personal circumstances.

2. The Academic Promotion assessment process takes account of work arrangements that have progressed on a fractional basis by enabling applicants to outline relevant personal circumstances and working arrangements and the impact they consider these circumstances have had on their career progression, performance outcomes and achievements.

3. The consideration of achievement relative to opportunity ensures that merit standards are being maintained and positively acknowledges what has been achieved by applicants with respect to the actual opportunities available to them.

4. Applicants are required to make explicit the relationship between these relevant personal circumstances or arrangements and the relative impact on the opportunities available to them and their career performance.

5. Relevant personal circumstances, or arrangements that might have resulted in limitations to opportunity may include, but are not limited to:

• Ill health and/or disability, whether temporary or permanent;
• Carer responsibilities;
• Part time or flexible work arrangements, planned or unplanned, including absence on parental leave; and
• Other relevant circumstances that have impacted the applicant’s capacity to perform at the required level.

Academic Promotion Application Process

1. Applicants should discuss their intent to apply for Academic Promotion with their Executive Dean / Dean / Director / Pro Vice Chancellor or equivalent and provide evidence of their achievements in the context of the academic level to be applied for to enable constructive feedback on an applicant’s readiness for academic promotion.

Content of Applications

2. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide detailed commentary and evidence demonstrating significant achievements relative to the desired promotion level. All commentary and evidence must align with the University’s criteria for promotion, including leadership impact and the core staff attributes.

3. Applicants are required to provide evidence demonstrating they are already performing at the level to which promotion is being sought, as well as evidence of an upward trajectory in performance.

Application Form
4. Applicants will be able to preview the online application form, commence and edit their application and submit their application for academic promotion via the online recruitment system prior to the prescribed closing date for the Academic Promotion round.

5. The application form must be submitted prior to the closing date. The form includes the following sections:

Part A – Personal Details
This section contains:

  • Applicant details
  • Equity information

Part B – Academic Promotion Details
This section contains current substantive position details
Level to which Academic Promotion is applied for

Part C – Case for Promotion
This section contains:
Academic Staff Activity Report
6. An Academic Staff Activity Report (ASAR) is a dashboard of information about an individual academic staff member’s activities and outcomes. The ASAR includes data from a number of University systems across the previous five years of an academic staff member’s employment

7. Applicants should access their ASAR and review and update their details as necessary prior to submitting their application for Academic Promotion.

8. At the close of the application period, the Executive Officers to each of the assessment panels will request a copy of each applicant’s ASAR from the Business Intelligence and Planning Unit (BIP) and will attach the ASAR to the individual application for promotion.

9. Academic staff applying for promotion are required to have an ORCID iD ( and must include their ORCID iD URL on their application form.

Weighting the areas of contribution
10 As part of the application, applicants are asked to provide a weighting to each criteria (teaching, research, engagement) reflecting their assessment of their areas of relative strength within their overall contribution regarding the quality, quantity, leadership and impact of their work.

11 The focus of weightings is on achievements and outcomes, taking into consideration leadership impact, influence, quality and quantity of work. Those activities weighted most heavily will receive a greater weighting in the assessment of the application and applicants should seek advice from their supervisor before determining their weightings. The weightings must total 100% and sit within the following boundaries;

  Teaching and Research Academic Appointments Research Academic Appointments Teaching Academic Appointments
Teaching 30 – 50% 0 – 20% 60 – 90%
Research 30 – 50% 60 – 90% 0 – 20%
Engagement 10 – 30% 1 0 – 30% 10 – 30%

Academic Promotion Panels may vary the weight if that will better support your application.

12 In exceptional circumstances, an Academic Promotion Panel may accept a higher weighting for engagement and a subsequent change to the teaching or research weighting (where applicable) based on prior written approval from

• the Provost & Chief Academic Officer, for applications to Level B or C ; and
• the Vice Chancellor for applications to Level D or E.

Weightings are not workload allocations. Weightings are intended to capture the emphasis of an applicant’s output with respect to the quality and quantity of their work and their leadership impact.

Achievement relative to opportunity
13 Applicants may submit an achievement relative to opportunity statement (maximum 1 page) as part of their application for Academic Promotion.

14 In the event an applicant does not want to disclose certain relevant personal information to an Academic Promotion assessment panel they can submit a confidential request for consideration to the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture. Details are provided on the Academic Promotion Website. All information submitted in relation to personal circumstances will be retained confidentially and used only for the purposes of assessing the relevant promotion application.

15 Academic Promotion Panel members will not take into account circumstances that are known to them but not referenced in applications.

Commentary on achievements and core attributes
16 The commentary on achievements should highlight the main focus of the applicant’s work and the overall impact of their contribution. This statement may include a summary of research outputs (i.e. impact factor, h-index), income, HDR students, education and/or engagement etc

17 The commentary is limited to four pages and should include:

• A short executive summary
• A brief summary of new achievements since the last academic promotion or since joining UniSA (as applicable)
• Commentary on the quality and impact of achievements within the discipline and a focus on leadership impact.

18 A final fifth page is required containing a self assessment of how effectively the applicant models and demonstrates the UniSA staff core attributes.

19 Academic Promotion assessment panels will focus primarily on evidence of leadership at UniSA, particularly how an applicant mentors and leads junior colleagues and exercises their leadership impact through collaboration across disciplines.

Curriculum Vitae
20 The curriculum vitae (CV) provides a summary of an applicant’s career activities to the date of their application. The following page limits apply:

Level B or C - no more than 5 pages
Level D or E - no more than 10 pages

Summative peer review of teaching report
21 Applicants for Academic Promotion as a Teaching and Research Academic or Teaching Academic are required to submit a Summative Peer Review of Teaching (SPRT), undertaken no more than 3 years prior to the application, as evidence of teaching quality. Applicants for promotion as a Research Academic are not required to submit a peer review of teaching.

22 The UniSA summative peer review of teaching process is managed by the Teaching and Innovation Unit (TIU). The SPRT process involves the following phases:

1. A meeting between the applicant and their Dean of Programs/supervisor or equivalent to discuss and initiate the summative peer review process.
2. A pre-review meeting between the applicant and two ‘reviewers’ to discuss the context of the activity/resource to be reviewed (30-60 mins max).
3. The review of the activity/resource (60 mins max).
4. A single moderated peer review report generated by the reviewers which is sent to the applicant for a response and then to their Dean of Programs/supervisor or equivalent (30-60 mins).

23 Late SPRTs or requests for exemption from lodging an SPRT will not be accepted unless in exceptional circumstances with written approval from the Provost & Chief Academic Officer via the lodgement of the Approvals for Promotion Form. 

Senior Academic Report

24 Applicants are required to submit a report from either their Dean of Programs, Dean of Research, Executive Dean, Director of an Institute (FII or CCB), Director of a Unit (TIU, RIS and UniSA Online) or their academic supervisor.

25 The report will be based on the application for promotion and focused on the applicant’s leadership of the discipline, the institution and engagement with industry.

It will include:

  • Overall comments about the applicant’s case for promotion
  • Comments on how the applicant demonstrates the core attributes
  • Contribution to leadership
  • Contribution to teaching and learning (if applicable)
  • Contribution to research (if applicable)
  • Contribution to engagement
  • Areas for future development
  • Whether the supervisor supports the application for promotion and the basis on which their view has been formed.

26 Applicants can include a one page response to the senior academic report, but this is not a specific requirement of the Academic Promotion process. The template for the report, and statement in response, is available from the Academic Promotion Website.

Independent assessors
27 An independent assessor is a person who is an internationally recognised expert within the applicant’s discipline/field. An assessor does not act as a referee, but as an eminent expert who is invited to offer a balanced and confidential assessment of the merits of the application and an indication of the applicant’s academic standing, impact and influence.

28 A person who has worked closely with the applicant (for example on joint research or publications or as a close work colleague) is not considered independent and will not be contacted as an independent assessor. To ensure independence is maintained, applicants are asked not to contact their nominated independent assessor, or to provide them with a copy their application or other supporting materials

29 Candidates will be asked to provide names of two (2) independent assessors relevant to their discipline

30 The Executive Officer will request reports from nominated independent assessors, should they be required by the assessment panel, after the closing date. The Executive Officer will work closely with the UniSA Library and the applicant’s Executive Dean/Dean/Director/Pro Vice Chancellor or equivalent to identify additional names and contact details of potential independent assessors. Reports provided by independent assessors will be confidential to the assessment panels and a copy will not be provided to the applicant

31 All nominations of independent assessors will be external to UniSA, demonstrate independence and any additional names obtained from the Executive Dean/Dean/Director/Pro Vice Chancellor will differ from the list provided by the applicant. The Chair of the Academic Promotion Panel may seek further recommendations from panel members.

Approvals for Promotion Form

32 The Academic Promotion approval form must be completed for applicants who require approval for the following reasons:

  • Approval to reapply if unsuccessful in previous year
  • Approval to vary weightings
  • Approval to apply outside the substantive academic position in which they are employed (eg Teaching and Research Academic, Research Academic, Teaching Academic)
  • Approval to submit a late summative peer review of teaching.

Part D – Declaration

This section contains:

  • Acknowledgement of the details in the applicant's ASAR.
  • Acknowledgement that the information provided is true and correct.

33 Applicants are required to select yes or no to the questions within the declaration and sign their application.

Academic Promotion Panels

34 Academic Promotion panels will assess applications and provide advice and recommendations to the Chair of the panel based on their assessment.

35 At the discretion of the Chair, panel members may in exceptional circumstances submit their comments in writing, attend remotely or tender an apology for a meeting or a part of a meeting.

Promotion to Level B and Level C

36 The University, through People, Talent and Culture (PTC), will establish two University panels for assessment of applications for promotion to Level B and Level C:

 Panel A:

UniSA Business
UniSA Creative
UniSA Justice and Society
UniSA Education Futures

Panel B:

UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences
UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance


37 Each of the University’s Level B and Level C panels will comprise:

• The Provost & Chief Academic Officer or nominee (Chair);
• The Executive Deans of each of the Academic Unit aligned to the discipline focus of the Panel;
• Deans of Research and/or Deans of Programs only where there are applicants from that Academic Unit and/or Program being considered;
• If required, the Chair may in exceptional circumstances nominate an extra or alternative academic member at Level D or above;
• An Executive Officer.

38 Academic staff applying to Level B and Level C from outside the Academic Unit structure will have their application considered as follows:

• UniSA Online, Research and Innovation Services, and the Teaching Innovation Unit will submit their application to Academic Promotion Panel A (Level B and Level C).
• The Future Industries Institute (FII) or the Research Portfolio will submit their application to Academic Promotion Panel B (Level B and Level C).

39 A panel may choose to refer an application to the other University Level B/C promotion panel if they determine that the other panel offers a more appropriate discipline context and alignment in terms of assessing the case for promotion, or in the event a conflict of interest is declared and required to be managed.

Promotion to Level D and Level E

40 The Vice Chancellor, through PTC, will establish a Senior Academic Promotion Panel (Senior Panel) to assess applications for promotion to Level D and E.

41 The Senior Panel will comprise:

• The Vice Chancellor or nominee (Chair);
• At least one external member, at Level E Professor (or equivalent);
• The Provost & Chief Academic Officer;
• The Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise;
• The Executive Deans;
• The Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture;
• An Executive Officer.

Academic Promotion Panel Meetings

42 The promotion panels will convene as follows :


Panel members will review all applications against the criteria for the level applied for and determine:

  • Whether the applicant is promoted on the basis of the evidence provided; or
  • A report from an independent assessor is required; and/or
  • The applicant will be invited to interview; or
  • The applicant is not promoted.

Independent assessor reviews

Panel members will review all applications and assessor reports and determine:

  • Whether the applicant is promoted on the basis of the evidence provided; or
  • The applicant will be invited to interview; or
  • The applicant is not promoted.


Panel members will meet with the applicant and determine:

  • Whether the applicant is promoted on the basis of the evidence provided; or
  • The applicant is not promoted.


43 The Level B and Level C promotion panel will forward their recommendations to the Vice Chancellor for approval and once approved, the Executive Officer will forward the outcomes to Academic Board for noting.

44 The Level D and Level E Senior Panel will forward their recommendations to University Council for noting.

Notification of Outcomes

45 Applicants will be provided with an update on the progress of their application no more than 10 business days after each key stage of the process

46 For applicants to Level B and Level C, once recommendations have been approved by the Vice Chancellor, and by Council for applicants to Level D and Level E, the Executive Director: People, Talent & Culture will formally confirm the outcome in writing.


47 Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with an opportunity to meet with their Executive Dean/ Dean/ Director/Pro Vice Chancellor for meaningful and constructive feedback.


48 Unsuccessful applicants can appeal the outcome of the Academic Promotion round only on the grounds that due process was not followed.

49 In the event an unsuccessful applicant seeks to lodge an appeal on the grounds that due process was not followed, they should contact the Executive Officer of the relevant Academic Promotion Panel who will ensure the appeal is responded to.

Further Assistance

Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture

Recruitment Central team within People, Talent and Culture

People, Talent and Culture Managers: Business Partnerships

Academic Promotion intranet pages