For more information, please contact Justene Knight, Senior People, Talent and Culture (PTC) Consultant - Responsible for Academic Promotion, on (08) 8302 1729 or email

The thing to remember is that the referee for academic promotion is different from the referee you would choose if you were applying for a position (job) at UniSA.

  • Job referee – someone who has worked with you and can talk about you and your work
  • Academic promotion referee – someone who has not worked directly with you but is recognised in the field and can look at your work and provide an objective assessment of the quality of what you do.

Referees who have worked closely with you (i.e. on joint research or publications, or as close recent work colleges or in supervisory positions, or who were your PhD or Masters supervisor) are not considered independent.

TIP: The level of 'independence expected' is similar to what is expected of an independent reviewer or assessor under HERDC peer review or an independent referee for an NHMRC Fellowship report.


Some examples of the difference between 'independent' and 'too close' may include the following:

IndependentToo close to you
Someone from the Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA) A sessional academic you have employed to assist you with your marking
Someone from the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Your Dean: Academic or Dean: Research (they are already on the panel)
Someone from ascilite (professional association for those engaged in the educational use of technologies in tertiary education) Part of the teaching team who works closely with you to implement the digital learning strategy into the course or program
Someone from your profession or industry who is aware of your work (ie the manager of a close colleague) A close colleague from your profession or industry whom you regularly collaborate with
Someone that your PhD / Masters supervisor recommends Your PhD / Masters supervisor
Someone from another university who teaches (or researches) in the same discipline as you The person is someone you worked very closely with in the last 5 years - ie just prior to coming to UniSA or they have just left UniSA
Someone who has provided a formal peer review of your work (especially from outside your school) Your course coordinator or program director (it might be reasonable for a new level A teaching academic to have their program director as their internal UniSA referee)
Someone who has referenced (and has been positively influenced by) a piece of your work Someone you have published with (more than once) in the past 5 years
Someone you had one grant with over 5 years ago Someone you have several grants (or contract) with (within the past 5 years)
Someone who sits on a board (that relates to your work with UniSA) with you Someone who sits on a board of a company you own
Someone who has directly been influenced by your work (ie a someone who has utilised your research to change practice) Your PhD / Masters supervisor or someone who you supervised
An expert in or someone recognised in your discipline field Someone who is a family member or in a close personal relationship
An industry partner or someone from industry who knows of your work but hasn't contracted you to do anything for them. Some who worked for you / you employed (within the past 5 years)
Someone you have done an annual or one-off guest lecture for Someone you worked for / was employed by (within the past 5 years)
Someone who is recognised as a thought leader or expert in their field - who has quoted / re-tweeted / blogged or referenced you and your work Someone you are regularly interviewed with, share tweet or blog dialogues etc or some other form of public debate where you are 'recognised' as part of team that is brought together to provide balanced public perspectives
A recognised expert who has had work published in a journal you edit Someone you co-edit regularly with
Someone who has sat on a review panel with you Your Head of School or Director: Research Institute (they provide a HoS report to the panel)
Someone who has worked at UniSA (but no longer does, for example, having moved on to a more senior role at another university) who did not work closely with you Someone who has worked at UniSA (within the last 5 years) but now left who was part of your team / school/ research area

Please note: These are only examples and not an exhaustive list.

No – you do not ask your referees to provide written reports as part of your application.

The academic promotion team is responsible for contacting the applicable referees and asking them for a written reference.

TIP: Only applicants who have been shortlisted may have referees contacted.

No – to ensure true independence is maintained applicants are asked not to contact their nominated referees or provide them with a copy of your application or supporting materials. As well as maintaining their independence it is also less stressful for applicants as you don't have to approach someone who doesn't know you and ask if they will be your academic promotion referee.

TIP: The academic promotion team will contact will contact referees at the direction of the Chair and panel.

You submit the names and contact details of your nominated referees using the relevant segment in the online application form.

TIP: You don’t have to include them in your CV.