The academic promotions process
The University’s academic promotions process is overseen by the Academic Promotions Advisory Group, and is continually reviewed and assessed for potential improvements.
The most significant change in recent years saw the process widened to specifically consider applications from those specialising in education, research or enterprise (ERE) activities, alongside balanced pathway applications. More minor changes are made on an ongoing basis; for instance, the 2018/19 promotion process will see a number of changes in connection with the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation.
We also recognise that, historically, fewer women have applied for promotion than men and, whilst improvements have been evident in recent years, we continue to look for ways to address this imbalance.
Advice for applying for a promotion
The Reward and Recognition Team in Human Resources provides professional support for the promotions process. We asked Andrew Gameson, Reward and Recognition Manager, what advice he would give to colleagues considering applying for promotion.
The next ERE pathway promotion process
The next ERE pathway promotion process was launched on Friday 28 September, at a session hosted by Vice-President (Research and Enterprise) Professor Mark Spearing.
The purpose of the event was to help colleagues to understand more about the ERE career pathways and assessment criteria, as well as how to prepare an excellent application and learn the details of the process, concluding with a question and answer session addressing specific queries.
If you weren’t able to attend on the day, a video recording is available on the promotions website.
What our staff say
We heard about the experiences and of some of our colleagues who were recently promoted through the ERE pathway.
Sally Curtis, Professorial Fellow (Education), Medicine
Sally is the Programme Lead for the University’s Widening Access to Medicine programme (BM6) which has a reputation as one of the most respected programmes in the UK for best practice. She is recognised as an expert in widening participation (WP) and acts as an advisor for many institutions, organisations and advisory bodies both nationally and internationally.
Sally, a Southampton alumna, made the decision to apply for promotion well ahead of the deadline which she said eased the stress of the process for her, and she credits her line manager and senior staff for their support. However, she says the promotions process for the education pathway is not as established as other pathways, which brings its own challenges.
My new role will help me continue to promote the WP agenda here at Southampton and support medical schools across the UK in increasing access to students who have not previously had the opportunity to fulfil their academic potential. It will also enable me to continue to help further develop an evidence-base of the benefit and value WP brings to higher education, specifically Medicine.
Sarvapali (Gopal) Ramchurn, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Gopal decided to go for promotion because he wanted to take a leading role in turning the University into a major force in the artificial intelligence (AI) research landscape.
He says: “AI is gaining increasing predominance in our everyday lives and is increasingly part of the research we do at the University. This promotion will allow me to contribute to the University strategy around AI.
I joined Southampton as a PhD student in 2001 and it’s been a great journey so far. It’s been interesting to see how the University has grown to lead globally in AI and machine learning, despite economic challenges
Fiona Woollard, Professor in Philosophy, Arts and Humanities
Fiona joined Southampton in 2010 as a Lecturer and has risen through the ranks to Professor. She says that she received a lot of support from her Head of Department and other colleagues, including undergoing a mock interview, and she also found the new promotions website extremely helpful. Her experience of the promotions process has been slightly unusual.
She says: “My previous promotion to Associate Professor in 2015 was a very exciting time for me. I filled in the application in the very late stages of pregnancy and had my interview over Skype during my maternity leave.”
This time her application was a lot more straightforward.
I thought the promotions process was a little daunting; however, I found the very structured approach worked well for me, as I was able to go through each section and criteria and make a case based on all of the relevant assessment criteria.
Hugh Lewis, Professor of Astronautics, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Hugh has been a part of the University community for 25 years, initially as a PhD student and then as an employee. He spent a lot of time ensuring he was fully prepared for the promotions process.
He says: “It took me quite a while to get my CV into shape and prepare for the interview and presentation. I was supported by a few senior colleagues, who read through my application and CV and provided me with some much-needed feedback and encouragement.
I also attended a training workshop offered by the University and this was really helpful as it gave me a sense about what the interview may be like. I was really pleased with my interview in the end, but it took a lot of work to get there and to be confident.
Hugh says the promotion will help him raise the University’s reputation with the people he works with in industry and government. “They will see that the University believes that the astronautics/space field is important and hopefully it will provide me with the opportunity to connect with more researchers and professionals working in this sector,” he adds.
Lisa Roberts, Clinical Professor of Musculoskeletal Health and Consultant Physiotherapist, Health Sciences and University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust
Lisa’s role combines leading research, education and clinical practice and she is in her final year of a Senior Clinical Lectureship from the National Institute for Health Research. She found the promotions process thorough and says the interview was a very positive experience.
She says: “I had plenty of opportunities to showcase different aspects of my work and discuss plans for the future. I had a real sense that the panel wanted me to do well.
“I had fantastic support from my mentor and my line manager, both of whom are inspirational role models. Also, the Dean has been a great champion of clinical academic roles.
It is great to be able to highlight support for clinical academics at the University through this promotion. I would like to use my experience to contribute to national issues such as developing NICE guidance and strengthening the clinical academic career structure.
Career development in other job families
Colleagues in the Management, Specialist and Administrative (MSA), Technical and Experimental (TAE) and Community and Operational (CAO) job families have different options for career progression to colleagues in the Education, Research and Enterprise (ERE) job family.
In these jobs, promotion is achieved via application for new or vacant roles at a higher level, or through re-grading where there is an agreed need for the duties and responsibilities of a role to change, and job evaluation confirms that this would change the grading of the post.
Discussions about career development opportunities should form part of your appraisal and one-to-one meetings with your line manager, to help ensure readiness for opportunities when they arise.
Read the full list of successful applicants