Promotion to Professor

  • Eligibility 

    Professors will normally be members of the academic staff but other members of staff may be considered for a professorial appointment if they satisfy the promotions criteria.

  • Professorial advancement 

    There are four professorial grades:

    Grade S1 (spine points 51 - 54) At this level, professorial staff are expected to satisfy the criteria for one of the five pathways and to be achieving at a nationally-recognised level of excellence. They will be expected to demonstrate a national level of recognition by their peer community as a significant contributor to their field of work, and to have an emerging international reputation. 

    Grade S2 (spine points 54 - 57) At grade 2, Professors are expected to demonstrate a significantly higher level of recognition and achievement than at grade 1. In particular, they are expected to be able to demonstrate international reputation and recognition as well as status as a leading national figure in their field. They will also be expected to have achieved awards or fulfilled roles within or outside the University which are consistent with the level of recognition by their peer community. 

    Grade S3 (spine points 58 - 61) At grade 3, Professors are expected to demonstrate output and peer esteem which clearly identify them as a leading international contributor to their field of work. They will be making an outstanding and pre-eminent contribution to the reputation of the University through gaining major awards and honours, and achieving a level of proven international “leading-edge” excellence in research, teaching, professional practice, enterprise, knowledge exchange or academic leadership. 

    Grade S4 (spine point 62 minimum) At this level, Professors will be recognised as leading their field internationally and be able to demonstrate an outstanding level of peer esteem. The Vice-Chancellor has the authority to determine the level of remuneration that is appropriate for professors appointed to this grade.

    Established and personal professorships may be permanent or for fixed, renewable terms. Unless a professor already holds a higher salary in a senior management post, internally-promoted professors will be appointed to the Professor grade S1 scale. In the case of promotion to higher professorial grades, candidates will be appointed at the base salary of the new grade, or at the next higher spine point to the point at which they are currently being paid. Professors who are subsequently appointed to a higher graded management post will transfer to the substantive scale for that post.

    Applications for promotion to Professor must be made against the criteria for one of the five pathways. The pathways to professorial promotion all recognise achievement of the highest distinction and are based on achievements and on an expectation of a continuing contribution in the area for which the title is awarded.

    The five pathways are:

    1. Research
    2. Teaching, learning and assessment
    3. Enterprise and knowledge exchange
    4. Professional achievement
    5. Academic leadership


    Successful candidates are expected to exercise the following generic responsibilities in the professorial role:

    • To teach students using appropriate instruction methods such as lectures, tutorials, seminars and other formal pedagogic work, and to contribute to the enhancement of the student experience.

    • To supervise student projects and dissertations at UG and PGT levels.

    • To supervise students engaged in higher degree work by research.

    • To mentor and support the development of less experienced colleagues in pursuing their own research careers.

    • To mark and assess student work.

    • To undertake curriculum development work including identification of consumer requirements, planning, development and evaluation of courses and course materials, and supervise course provision.

    • To care for the pastoral needs of students including counselling, welfare and guidance.

    • To manage and administer education processes including the administration and management of education and training programmes and publicity and public relations work.

    • To participate in the administrative processes of the University including committee membership, quality assurance procedures, recruitment and admissions.

    • To represent the University on or to appropriate external bodies.

    • To undertake research and to publish high quality articles or other appropriate outputs in recognised academic and professional journals or other relevant media, to write and/or contribute to books and monographs.

    • To contribute to their discipline nationally and internationally through participation in conferences,seminars, peer review and editorial processes.

    • To participate in staff development and appraisal processes and in-service training.

    • To contribute to income generation activities, for example through successful bidding for research grants or knowledge exchange activities.

    • To provide academic leadership in the discipline and/or the teaching of a discipline or the related professional practice.

    Professorships are not automatically associated with specific managerial and/or administrative responsibilities. By virtue of their status, Professors are expected to make a major contribution to the development and implementation of the Department/School’s and University’s academic activities. Their specific contribution will be defined by, and agreed with, the Dean of Faculty in consultation with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Global Partnerships) through the personal development and review procedure.

    Applications for initial promotion to Professor, and for subsequent promotion to the higher levels, will be invited annually, normally in June, with a closing date in September. Potential applicants should contact their faculty to confirm the faculty closing date for applications. Applications should be submitted to the faculty, who will forward the whole application, including the critical appraisal from the PVC/Dean to hrcommittees@brookes.ac.uk by the university deadline.

    Applicants are required to provide a CV in the specified format and to adhere to the stated limits on the length of applications. Alternative formats are not acceptable. The CV should be accompanied by a covering letter from the applicant summarising the case for promotion and indicating the grade to which promotion is sought. Additionally, the PVC Dean of the Faculty should provide written assessment of the application.

    Applicants are asked to suggest the names and contact details of three external referees who should be fully independent and clear authorities in the field of work concerned; and who should not be existing or former colleagues, or peers with whom the candidate has worked closely. 

    Applications will be assessed initially by the committee at a meeting normally held in October. For those where a prima facie case is judged to have been made, external references will be sought to inform a final decision that will be taken at the following meeting.

    For applications that are progressing to references, HR will contact the three referees suggested by the candidate. At least three independent external references will usually be required. The committee will have discretion to approach any of the referees suggested by the candidate, or to identify others as appropriate.

    At the meeting in February, the committee will normally reach a decision on the basis of the application documentation and the references that are received.

    Candidates will receive a letter after the meeting in October and, if applicable, the meeting in February informing them of the progress of their application.

    Each unsuccessful candidate will receive appropriate feedback about their application and the potential for re-submission. Normally, unsuccessful applicants may not submit an application for a further two years. When re-applying candidates must submit a full application and not just address how they have responded to the feedback offered.

    For applications submitted in September, promotions will be backdated to the 1 September before the closing date.

    Appointment panels for professorial posts involving external or internal advertisement will normally be chaired by the Vice-Chancellor but, with the Vice-Chancellor’s agreement, may be chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) or Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research). A second member of the PPC should normally also be a member of the appointment panel. Panels must include a professor (or someone of equivalent status) with widely recognised expertise in the academic field of the appointment from outside the University. The panel will also include the PVC/Dean of Faculty.

    a) Research pathway

    In awarding a chair, the committee will have regard to the following principles relating to the award:

    • it should recognise research achievement of high distinction

    • it should represent national and international recognition

    • it should be based on past achievement and the expectation of continuing appropriate contribution at that level, including the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for leadership of research within the University

    Criteria are:

    • substantial achievement in original research, either pure or applied, recognised at national and international levels;

    • ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others;

    • record of recognition for impact in terms of reach and significance beyond the University;

    • outstanding contribution to the research profile of their discipline/department through publications and external research activities;

    • commitment to the future development of their research and the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for contributing to the leadership of research development within their discipline and more widely within the University.

    In determining whether the criteria are met, the committee will look for evidence appropriate to the discipline.

    This includes evidence of:

    • outstanding original contribution to the field of work and validation of this contribution;

    • sustained record of high quality publications and conference papers, where appropriate validated by number of citations or by other indices;

    • international and national standing of the applicant’s work validated by, e.g. membership of research councils and bodies, invitations to give keynote papers, editorial roles, organisation of international conferences, acceptance of work by international-rated journals which undertake rigorous peer review; external examination of PhD candidates;

    • international networks and collaborations;

    • contribution to their academic community, public policy, industry, the professions, commerce, the public sector or voluntary organisations;

    • significant research income from, e.g. research grants, commercial exploitation of research;

    • PhD supervision leading to successful completion;

    • ways in which research has linked to and informed teaching;

    • contribution to the UoA’s most recent REF;

    • research team development and leadership within the department/faculty;

    • commitment to the future development of their personal research and;

    • capacity and acceptance of the responsibility for contributing to leadership of research within their discipline, the faculty and the University.

    b) Teaching, learning and assessment pathway

    In awarding a chair, the committee will have regard to the following principles relating to the award:

    • it should recognise the academic achievement of the highest distinction;

    • it should represent national and international recognition;

    • it should be based on past achievement and the expectation of continuing appropriate contribution on that level, including the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for leadership of teaching and learning within the University.

    Criteria are:

    • contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the field of learning, teaching and assessment at the highest level;

    • ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others;

    • outstanding achievement in contributing to student learning;

    • commitment to the future development of teaching and learning and the capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing to the leadership of teaching and learning development within their discipline and more widely within the University.

    In determining whether the criteria are met, the panel will look for evidence of:

    • an established reputation as an excellent teacher and scholar, e.g. national teaching fellowship;

    • an outstanding contribution to the learning and assessment process, e.g. curriculum development, innovation in teaching, learning and assessment approaches, and external assessments and evaluations of this contribution;

    • impact of approaches and innovations at national and international level;

    • high level pedagogic research, as demonstrated by publications etc, and how this has been received and utilised;

    • external experience of the evaluation of learning, teaching and assessment e.g. QAA reviewer, consistent involvement in external examining;

    • leadership of a major academic function within the university;

    • recognised external leadership roles in learning and teaching e.g. through membership of national bodies;

    • contribution to policy;

    • success in securing major external funding;

    • international standing, e.g. membership of international committees concerned with the development of the teaching of their subject in HE; international (preferably peer-reviewed) publications, contribution to international conferences, evidence of adaptation of teaching or assessment methods etc by HEIs in other countries;

    • commitment to the future development of teaching and learning;

    • capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing to the leadership of teaching and learning development within the University.

    c) Enterprise and knowledge transfer pathway

    In awarding a chair, the committee will have regard to the following principles relating to the award:

    • it should recognise enterprise and knowledge transfer achievements of the highest distinction;

    • it should represent at least national recognition;

    • it should be based on past achievement and the expectation of continuing appropriate contribution at that level, including the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for leadership of enterprise and knowledge transfer within the University.

    Criteria are:

    • outstanding contribution to the University through enterprise and knowledge transfer activities;

    • ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others;

    • outstanding achievement in developing and sustaining links with external stakeholders e.g. industry, commerce;

    • commitment to the future development of enterprise and knowledge transfer and a capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing to the leadership of these activities within their discipline and more widely within the University.

    In determining whether the criteria are met, the panel will look for evidence of:

    • an established reputation for research;

    • major innovation in linking research (and scholarly activities) and knowledge transfer through e.g. consultancies, CPD, enterprise activities;

    • outstanding and sustained success in developing networks and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders;

    • significant sustained industrial/commercial collaboration(s); validation of collaboration;

    • a leadership role within the University, e.g. leading a team in developing enterprise activities within the School;

    • sustained success in securing major funding;

    • external recognition, e.g. through membership of enterprise bodies, advisory/consulting roles for national/international agencies or bodies;

    • external experience of evaluating enterprise projects or programmes;

    • international contribution to developing the link between the discipline and its stakeholders through e.g. membership of international committees; publications, contribution to international conferences;

    • commitment to the future development of enterprise and knowledge transfer activities;

    • capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing to the leadership of enterprise and knowledge transfer within the University.

    d) Professional achievement pathway

    In awarding a chair, the committee will have regard to the following principles relating to the award:

    • it should recognise outstanding professional achievement outside teaching and academic administration and the contribution made to the University’s external profile;

    • it should represent national and international recognition of these achievements;

    • it should be based on past achievement and the expectation of continuing appropriate contribution at that level, including the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for the external promotion of the University through professional activities.

    Criteria are:

    • outstanding contribution to the university through professional achievement outside teaching and academic administration;

    • ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others;

    • record of recognition for impact in terms of reach and significance beyond the University;

    • outstanding and lasting contribution to their academic community and/or through links with industry, the professions, commerce, the public sector or voluntary organisations;

    • commitment to the continuing development of these professional activities and the capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing through these activities to the external promotion of the University.

    In determining whether the criteria are met, the panel will look for evidence of:

    • outstanding and lasting contribution to their academic community and/or links with industry, the professions, commerce, the public sector or voluntary organisations in a way which distinguishes the candidate;

    • service and leadership, in an executive role, on advisory or other boards or learned societies, national and international organisations and agencies;

    • contribution to and significance of national/international role and leadership in government or corporate agencies at national/international level, professional institutes, research committees, community service, subject committees benchmarking panels;

    • extensive acknowledgement as an intellectual leader in the field of activity;

    • influence on national policy debates and professional advice;

    • invitations to act as consultant or advisor to major national, intergovernmental and international agencies and/or major national or international professional bodies;

    • ways in which the professional activities promote the University externally;

    • leadership given to University colleagues in developing professional networks;

    • commitment to future professional activities which benefit and promote the University externally;

    • capacity and acceptance of responsibility for contributing to the promotion of the University through professional activities.

    e) Academic leadership pathway

    In awarding a chair, the committee will have regard to the following principles relating to the award:

    • it should recognise outstanding academic leadership;

    • it should represent at least national recognition in a minimum of two of the University’s core activities: i.e. teaching and learning, research, and knowledge transfer and enterprise;

    • it should be based on past achievement and the expectation of continuing appropriate contribution at that level, including the capacity, and acceptance of the responsibility, for academic leadership within the University.

    Criteria are:

    • outstanding contribution to the University through academic leadership;

    • ability to influence, stimulate and inspire others;

    • outstanding contribution in at least two of the Universities core activities, i.e. teaching and learning, research, and knowledge transfer and enterprise;

    • commitment to the future development of these core activities and a capacity to contribute to the leadership of these activities within their discipline and more widely within the University.

    In determining whether the criteria are met, the panel will look for evidence of:

    • outstanding and sustained leadership of a major academic function within the University in a way which distinguishes the candidate;
    • developing or sustaining the faculty and the University’s prominence and profile at a national level, beyond its ‘core business’ and beyond the sum of its parts; 
    • leadership skills in designing and implementing substantial organisational change and/or building new institutional capacity within the School and University, e.g. new research centre, research culture, teaching quality;
    • commitment to the future academic leadership within or across the core activities of the University; 
    • capacity and acceptance of responsibility for providing academic leadership within the University.

    Additional requirements

    In addition, evidence will be required of a distinctive record of achievement in at least two of the University’s core activities, as follows:

    • teaching and learning:

      • an established reputation as an excellent teacher and scholar;

      • outstanding achievement in contributing to the learning and assessment process through, e.g. leading the development of innovative courses, pedagogic innovation and contribution to the discipline, leadership roles in learning and teaching at national level;

      • external experience in evaluating learning, teaching and assessment, e.g. QAA reviewer, a record of consistent involvement in external examining.

    • research:

      • research profile of at least national excellence, as supported by evidence of membership of research councils and bodies, invitations to give keynote papers etc, editorial roles, external examination of PhD students, organisation of internal conferences, etc;

      • significant list of publications and conference papers, where most of the published outputs have been subject to peer review;

      • research income, including research grants and income generated from the exploitation of research;

      • PhD supervision leading to successful completion;

      • research leadership.

    • enterprise and knowledge transfer:

      • significant innovation in linking research (and scholarly activities) and knowledge transfer through e.g. consultancies, CPD, enterprise activities;

      • successful development of networks and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders;

      • significant industrial/commercial collaboration;

      • a leadership role in developing enterprise activities within the faculty;

      • success in securing significant funding;

      • external experience of the evaluation of enterprise projects or programmes.