Policy Academic Governance Academic Promotion Policy

Academic Promotion Policy

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To provide a framework that enables the University to recognise and reward academic staff members who have demonstrated sustained and exemplary academic performance above their current academic level in alignment with the strategic directions of the University.


This policy applies to academic and doctoral qualified staff members who are covered by the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement (the Agreement) and who meet the eligibility requirements for academic promotion.


Academic and doctoral qualified Research Staff Member - A staff member (excluding casual academic staff members, conjoint, adjunct and short-term academic visitors) engaged to undertake teaching, research, engagement and related duties as detailed in the Position Classification Standards for academic staff in Schedule 4 of the Agreement.

Original decision maker - The person, body or committee who has made the original promotional decision. This may either be an individual academic such as an Academic Head, the Dean/Director or a University Committee. Where a decision is subject to certification or ratification, the original decision maker will be deemed as the person who submitted the decision for certification/ratification and who is most familiar with the detail of the decision.

Staff Code of Conduct - The policy establishing the standard by which University staff conduct themselves towards others and perform professional duties on behalf of the University.  The reference to the code of conduct refers to the published version relevant to the time period of the promotion application.

Sustained performance - Academic activity measured over an extended period that has demonstrated quantifiable outcomes; this may include, but is not limited to: research publications; patents; grants; consultancy; learning and teaching; curriculum development; industry engagement; professional/clinical engagement; academic leadership; people leadership; higher education sector engagement (policy, expert review, regulation); and community engagement.


  • Academic promotion seeks to reward sustained performance as measured by defined impact and outcomes in alignment with the University’s Strategic Intent.
  • Applying for promotion should not unreasonably interrupt or create added burden to academic duties and where practical, academic promotion will utilise pre-collated data.
  • The promotion evaluation process will assess the professional conduct of the academic staff member in terms of modelling the University's expected values and behaviours, demonstration of collegiality and adherence to the staff code of conduct.


1. Framework

1.1 Promotion of academic staff members will be fair, consistent across the University and transparent based upon evidence of prior performance outcomes and expected future performance.

1.2 Achievements will be considered in the context of the academic staff member’s career path; relevant personal circumstances and opportunities; and in alignment with the resource needs and strategic direction of the College/Institute.

1.3  Academics will utilise the JCU Academic Performance and Development Framework, Performance Development Processes and the University Plan to guide their promotion application.

1.4  Applications for promotion will provide context for the academic staff member’s perceived performance outcomes as demonstrated through formal, quantitative and qualitative University data. Academic staff members will also be required to assess their academic outputs within the context of their College/Institute’s workforce planning and performance development plan/agreement.

1.5  While due consideration will be given to the applicant’s whole career (particularly in the case of applications for promotion to Level E), in assessing an application for promotion the Panel shall give primary consideration to the applicant’s achievements since being offered appointment (or promotion, as appropriate) to the designation currently held at the University.

1.6  An applicant may only apply to the level immediately above their current level and Academic Promotion will be to step one of the new level.

2. Time frames

2.1 To ensure assessment of sustained academic performance applicants must have a minimum of two years’ service at JCU at their current academic level to be eligible to apply for Academic Promotion.

2.2  In exceptional circumstances, as defined in the Academic Promotions Procedure, and with support from the College/Institute Dean/Director (or equivalent) the Chair of the Panel may approve an academic staff member to apply for promotion without a minimum of two years of service to the University.

2.3  Staff members who have applied unsuccessfully for promotion in the previous year are ineligible to make application in the current year without the approval of the College/Institute Dean/Director (or equivalent) and endorsement by the Chair of the Panel.

2.4  All promotions take effect as per the timeframes prescribed in the Academic Promotion Procedure.

3. Delegation for approval

3.1  Academic promotion applications will be verified in terms of sustained performance by line managers as a result of performance development planning, with endorsement by the College/Institute Dean/Director.

3.2  Decisions from the Academic Promotion Panel will be forwarded to the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Academy for ratification of promotions to Level B to D and to the Vice Chancellor for ratification to Level E.

4. Promotion Panels

4.1 Panel Chairs will be nominated by the Vice Chancellor and panels will include a specified number of Panel Members depending on the level of application and as described in the Academic Promotion Procedure.

4.2 Panel Members will be appointed through a transparent selection process by nomination from the College/Institute Dean/Director to the DVC Academy.  Panels will seek to be geographically, demographically, gender, ability and culturally diverse.

4.3 Each panel, where possible, will have representation from the Academy and Research Institutes and Centres. Panel members will be appointed for a two-year term with possibility of renewal with approval of the DVC Academy.  Service provided to the selection process may contribute to the Member’s work profile of service and engagement.

4.4 Panel members will be required to undertake training in gender stereotyping, unconscious bias and assessment best practice prior to conducting assessments.

5. Appeals

5.1 An appeal will only be considered on the basis of procedural fairness as outlined in the Academic Promotion Procedure.

Related policy instruments

JCU Delegations Policy

Human Resources Sub-delegations Register

Academic Promotion Procedure


Appendix 1 - Minimum Promotional Criteria and Key Elements and Performance Levels

Related documents and legislation

JCU Academic Performance and Development Framework

JCU Enterprise Agreement

University Plan


Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainAcademic Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academy

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date




Major review incorporating amendments to provide a streamlined application process based upon impact narrative.

Policy domain has been changed from Human Resources to Academic Management (approved by Council 1/23).

Chair, Academic Board
20-220/08/202010/09/2020Minor amendment to remove timeframes for promotion from policy and include them in procedure.Manager, Talent
20-112/03/202016/07/2020Policy reviewed and amended to establish principles and clarify criteria for promotion.Chair of Academic Board
18-1 21/05/2018Reference and link to new JCU Enterprise Agreement 2016 updated.Quality, Standards and Policy Officer
17-109/08/201710/08/2017A mid-year review of HR Policies in line with the HR Operational Plan Item, "deliver Policy Reviews; Fitness for Future Purpose". Deputy Director Human Resources



Administrative amendment: two links removed at request of Deputy Director, Human Resources

Quality, Standards and Policy Unit




Policy Sponsor amended to reflect Council approved Policy and Delegations Framework

Quality, Standards and Policy Unit




Policy established

Deputy Director Human Resources; Dean, College of Healthcare Sciences; Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Global Strategy and Engagement; Faculty Office Manager, Faculty Law Business & The Creative Arts


Academic, promotion, policy, advancement, performance, review

Contact personManager,  Talent