Academic Promotion to Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor

Applicable to employees of the Central Academic Bodies and central activities of the University of London (the "central University").

1 Terms of Reference and Membership   
2 Annual Promotion Cycle 
3 Promotion to Senior Lecturer 
4 Promotion to Reader 
5 Promotion to Professor 
6 Assessment of Applications 
7 Timetable
8 Notification

1 Terms of Reference and Membership

The terms of reference and membership for the Committee are given in the Annex to Ordinance 6 which is reproduced here:-


Terms of Reference

  1. To establish procedures on behalf of the Collegiate Council for the appointment and promotion of Professors and Readers employed or to be employed by the central University, in accordance with Ordinance 4.
  2. To approve, and from time to time modify, criteria for Senior Lectureships, following appropriate consultation.
  3. To approve a procedure for considering urgent applications.
  4. To report all promotions and conferments of title to the Board of Trustees.
  5. To confer the titles of Emeritus Professor and Reader on retiring members of staff.
  6. To confer the title of Visiting Professor at the request of the School of Advanced Study or of a Director not within the School in accordance with criteria formulated by the Committee.
  7. The Committee may authorise the Vice-Chancellor or a sub-committee to deal with its functions under paragraph 5.

Vice-Chancellor (Chair)
Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Dean, SAS
Deputy Dean, SAS
A Director of a member-Institute, to be nominated by the Directorate of SAS
Dean of the University of London Institute in Paris
An external member (holding an academic appointment at another university).

Mode of Operation
The quorum for the Committee will be three members

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2 Annual Promotion Cycle

During the first part of each academic session, the following promotions procedure will be implemented so that all eligible academic staff can apply for promotion.  In addition, at that time all eligible staff will be reviewed by their Institute (i.e. a member-Institute of SAS, ULIP, etc.) and others may then be advised to apply as a result of that review.  In very exceptional cases, a member of staff employed on non-academic scales but engaged in scholarly or scientific work may be considered by the Committee on the recommendation of an Institute Director or the Dean of the School of Advanced Study.

Staff eligible for consideration for conferment of title under these procedures are as follows:

  • Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, and Readers whether full-time or part-time; and
  • exceptionally, full-time or part-time members of staff employed on non-academic scales but engaged in scholarly or scientific work so long as such work represents a significant contribution to the academic work of their Institute and the central University.

During this annual promotions exercise, all academic staff who apply for consideration will be reviewed initially by their Institute including staff encouraged to apply following the annual review.  In exceptional cases, proposals for conferment of title of Professor or Reader from the London Deanery and from the Post Graduate GP Education Deanery for Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) may be made but these will initially be considered under the relevant procedures governing the London Deanery and KSS. 

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3 Promotion to Senior Lecturer

For promotion to the Senior Lecturer grade, a member of academic staff must satisfy one of the following promotion routes:

An exemplary contribution in one or more of teaching, research and administration over a sustained period, but not such as to meet the criteria for a Readership. Exemplary performance will usually be required in at least two of these areas, and in no case will a person be promoted who is not active in research.  A sustained contribution is interpreted as meaning that an individual can demonstrate not only the qualities on which their contribution is based but that their contribution has been demonstrated over a period of years. 

Applicants will probably be at the top of the Academic Level 8 scale (Lecturer) already.

An exemplary contribution in research, and although not yet up to standard required for promotion to Reader, with clear indications that such further promotion is likely in the near future.  Performance in teaching and administration must be adequate.

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4 Promotion to Reader

Promotion to Reader will primarily be in recognition of the person's standing and promise in the relevant subject or profession as established by important contributions to its advancement through publications, creative work or other appropriate forms of scholarship or performance, and through teaching.  Other contributions to the work of the Institute, the University, learned societies and other relevant bodies will also be taken into account.

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5 Promotion to Professor

Promotion to Professor will primarily be on the basis of outstanding research coupled with a strong record of teaching and administration.  Regard shall be had to the person's national/international standing in the relevant subject or profession as established by outstanding contributions to its advancement through publications, creative work or other appropriate forms of scholarship or performance, and through teaching and administration.

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6 Assessment of Applications

Applicants will be assessed under the following headings when being considered for promotion to Senior Lecturer, Reader, or Professor.

  • Teaching and Learning
  1. The quality of teaching.  Evidence offered could be from student questionnaires (which should be accompanied by a commentary from a senior member of the Institute on their worth in relation to the particular courses taught) and/or by direct observation of teaching.
  2. Contribution to course development, innovation, and planning, including production of teaching materials and/or assessment methods.
  3. Supervision of postgraduate research students (evidence could include numbers of students and completion rates)
  4. Involvement in special teaching duties (e.g. access courses, continuing education, staff development activities).
  • Research
  1. Quality of research output as evidenced by published works, including books, articles in refereed journals, editorships, reviews, and surveys. The Committee is unable to take account of unpublished work.
  2. Creativity and contribution to the body of knowledge of the subject, as evidenced by national and international standing amongst peers.
  3. Research grants obtained and research projects managed.
  4. Contributions to and/or organisation of conferences and colloquia.
  5. Provision of specialist advice to outside bodies and other work as a consultant.
  • Administration
  1. Responsibility for specific areas of activity, programmes, or projects within an Institute (e.g. admissions, student welfare, quality assurance, graduate studies, examinations, and monitoring of research programmes, etc.)
  2. Contribution to the management and day-to-day running of the University through membership of University, School of Advanced Study, and Institute committees and working parties and other initiatives.
  3. Contribution to the standing of the University in the life of the local, national, and international community.  This shall be taken to include service to the UCU locally or nationally, service to the University generally, or service on external bodies as an Institute or University representative or otherwise.
  4. Generation of income, including income from teaching.
  5. Contribution to the work of learned societies, Research Councils, and other public or scholarly bodies.

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7 Timetable

By 30 September the HR Division will write to all Directors of Institutes employing academic staff to remind them of the current procedure for Academic Promotions

From 1 October Directors of Institutes will write to all academic staff informing them of the procedure and inviting them to consider making an application for promotion.  The letter will make clear that all eligible staff will be considered, what information should be included in the application, and will give a date by which applications must be received.  At the same time each Institute will review all of its staff to identify any who might be advised to apply.

Applications, which may be submitted in electronic form, should be in a standard format, which will include a curriculum vitae, list of publications with page numbers, and statement of application indicating how the criteria required for promotion have been met.  All applicants for promotion should supply details of two referees, which will be taken up by the Institute in all cases.  Directors of Institutes will also select an additional referee in respect of those applying for promotion to Reader or Professor.

Institutes will consider all applications in accordance with the criteria for promotion set out above.  Where the Institute assess that there is a prima facie case for conferment of the title of Reader or Professor, the names of at least two appropriate Experts should also be forwarded to the Committee.

Directors of Institutes will subsequently prepare a comprehensive set of applications from their Institute accompanied in each case by the required references considered by the Institute and the names of Experts where required.  Directors will forward these together with their Institute's recommendations and indicating an order of priority to the HR Director by the end of January.

The HR Director will forward the applications along with supporting references and recommendations to each member of the Committee. By 21 February the members of the Committee will advise the HR Director which applications should be forwarded to Experts for external advice

By 30 May the full Committee will meet to consider the applications including any recommendations from the London Deanery or KSS.  It will be open to the Committee to request external Experts' advice on any case where such advice had not already been sought or to seek further advice in individual cases as thought appropriate.  The Committee will make the final decisions about conferment of the title of Reader or Professor and promotion to Senior Lecturer.

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8 Notification

The HR Director will ensure that Directors of Institutes are informed as soon as possible of the outcome of all applications from their Institute.  Normally the Vice-Chancellor will write to all successful applicants informing them of the results of their applications and a copy will be sent to their Institute Director at the same time.  The Secretary of the Committee will inform unsuccessful applicants.

Those selected for promotion and/or those on whom a title is to be conferred will also be informed of the date from which this is to take effect and the salary to be paid.  Normally promotions will be from 1 September following the date of decision.

Those whose applications are not successful should discuss the reasons with the Director of their Institute.  There is no appeal on academic grounds against a decision of the Academic Promotions and Titles Committee but unsuccessful applicants are free to re-apply in a subsequent academic session and, in so doing, should consult their Director of Institute and other senior colleagues for advice.

Where unsuccessful applicants allege that they suffered detriment on procedural grounds, a request for a review of their application and the way it was considered should be made to the Director of Administration within 28 days of the date of notification of the decision.  The Director of Administration will then decide whether to conduct an investigation and/or to ask the Academic Promotions and Titles Committee or its Chairman to reconsider the application on the basis of the information provided.

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