Academic Promotions – Proposed changes to Associate Professor & Professor promotions criteria

In 2016 the University introduced a new promotion process and set of criteria that recognised the increasing diversity of academic roles and the more varied career paths evident in a progressive global university environment. After extensive consultation with academic staff the five Pro Vice-Chancellors developed a set of revised Level 1 and 2 promotion criteria which were agreed to by SLT and successfully rolled out in 2016.

In introducing the new Level 1 and 2 criteria and process, SLT agreed that following the completion of the 2016 promotions round consideration would be given to the establishment of a revised set of criteria for promotion to Associate Professor and Professor for implementation in 2018.

This page outlines the consideration process, the various opportunities for staff to engage and participate, the timetable and stages of consideration, methods for providing feedback, how the process will be facilitated, evaluated, and decisions made.

Please note that this is not a reconsideration of the Level 1 and 2 promotions criteria. The concern of this consultation is Associate Professor/Professor only.


All academic staff are invited to submit written responses to a set of feedback prompts, and make any additional comments. Submissions need to be sent to Peter Nilsen in PoD: by Friday 23 June. A set of feedback prompts can be viewed below:

Feedback Prompts

What would you like to change about the current Associate Professor/Professor promotion process?

What are the implications of creating a Professorial track for:

a) Clinical and professional practice staff

b) Teaching scholars

What do you like/not like about the new Level 1 and 2 promotions criteria? Are they applicable to promotion to Associate Professor/Professor? If not, why not?

What are the benefits/drawbacks in retaining the current two-tier model whereby the applicant is considered for promotion to Professor by demonstrating outstanding performance and leadership in Research and Research Training or demonstrating high performance and leadership in research and research training combined with outstanding leadership in teaching (including assessment and curriculum development) and/or service (both to the University and the external community)?

For those applying under Research and Research Training, is the requirement to demonstrate ‘acting as a primary reference point’ in their field too high a bar?

Should applicants be offered the opportunity to comment on the Heads of Unit and PVC letters of support prior to the application being considered by the University Promotions Committee?

Should the University Promotions Committee have information on whether the candidate has made previous applications for promotion at this level and if so the basis upon which they were unsuccessful?

Should the University Promotions Committee forward unsuccessful applications for Associate Professor back to the College Promotions Committees for consideration for a promotion at a lower level?

For those who have sat on the University Promotions Committee, what do you like/not like about the process? What changes would you make to the process?

Should applicants be ranked by PVC’s prior to being considered by the University promotions Committee? If so, by who and what purpose does this ranking serve?

How could the University support more Māori and Pasifika applicants to pursue promotion to Associate Professor and Professor?

Should all referees be external to Massey?

What would be an appropriate number of referee reports for promotion to Associate Professor?

What would be an appropriate number of referee reports for promotion to Professor?

Should there be a stand-down period between major promotions?

Do you have any other comments, concerns or observations relating to the academic promotions process or guidelines?

Submissions need to be sent to Peter Nilsen in PoD: by Friday 23 June


Workshops will be held on each campus to discuss the questions with PVCs and the AVC RAE.

Please see dates below:

  • Tuesday 13 June, 12.30pm Wellington
  • Wednesday 14 June, 12.30pm Palmerston North
  • Thursday 15 June, 12.00pm Auckland

Venues to be confirmed.

Further consultation

Following the first consultation PVCs and the AVC RAE will consider the responses and decide whether to proceed with revision of the Associate Professor/Professor promotion criteria. If a decision is made to amend the current criteria and process a draft set of criteria will be presented to staff and feedback sought through a second consultation period. Further communications will be sent to all staff outlining the timeline and dates of workshops on each campus.

Following a second consultation period further refinements my take place with a final revised set of criteria being put forward for final approval by the SLT.

Should the new criteria be implemented, this will be in time for the 2018 promotions round. The 2017 promotions round will continue as normal due to commence on 12 June 2017.

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