Academic promotion

The goals of the University of Canterbury are to achieve internationally recognised excellence in scholarship, research and teaching. Academic staff are our most valued asset. We aim to actively support and encourage all staff to provide students with outstanding and inspiring research-informed teaching. We aim to recruit and retain high-quality staff, maximise their potential and reward them for effort, excellence and innovation. Academic promotion is one pathway that recognises and rewards the diversity of talents of our staff and supports them in their careers.

The University of Canterbury promotion processes aim to be clear, fair, equitable and transparent. The processes will be reviewed annually and further improved in the light of experience and feedback.

Staff are actively encouraged to apply for promotion and we have attempted to provide guidance as to the appropriate timing. Staff should actively engage with their Head of Department/School and other mentors to help make this decision.

For all promotions there are three categories of academic activity: 

  • Teaching
  • Research/scholarship/creative work
  • Service (University, professional and community)
  • Staff do not need to excel in all of these and there are specific expectations associated with particular promotions. For example, early in their careers academics can be promoted by demonstrating competence in two of the categories, including either teaching or research. At higher levels of promotion there is an expectation that candidates will demonstrate sustained high competence (Associate Professor) or outstanding competence (Professor) in either research/scholarship/creative work or teaching together with clear evidence of effective academic leadership. 

We also wish to recognise staff for contributions towards to the wider goals of the University of Canterbury. These include developing collegiality, along with commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, equal opportunities, national and international linkages.

Information for referees and independent advisors

In New Zealand the rank of Associate Professor is a much higher status than it may be in the US and is only achieved on merit by formal application. In New Zealand the ranks for academic staff are:

  • Assistant Lecturer (entry level without PhD)
  • Lecturer (entry level with PhD)
  • Senior Lecturer (Career grade)
  • Senior Lecturer Above the Bar
  • Associate Professor (equivalent to Reader in the UK system)
  • Professor
  • Distinguished Professor

It may help you to know that we have 630 continuing academic staff of whom:

  • 0.6% are Assistant Lecturers
  • 20.3% are Lecturers
  • 22.7% are Senior Lecturers
  • 19% are Senior Lecturers Above the Bar
  • 15.2% are Associate Professors
  • 14.8% are Professors

(the balance is made up of other academic roles).

We do not have a tenure or probationary period of employment. Generally academic staff are appointed to a continuing (permanent) position from day one. The promotions process is their means of progressing up the academic career ladder.

The University of Canterbury expects academic staff to achieve a balance between research, teaching, and service using, as a guide, 40% Research, 40% Teaching and 20% Service.

Referees and independent advisors' reports are called for in the case of promotion applications to Associate Professor and Professor.

Referees are asked to provide advice on the candidate’s contribution to the University in the areas of Research/Scholarship/ Creative Work. Their views as to the quality and quantity of the applicant’s research contributions, the impact of their work, their standing internationally and their contributions to the research environment in New Zealand and beyond will be sought. In each promotion application, the University seeks two referee reports.

Please send the completed report directly to the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The Office of the DVC (academic-promotions@exchange.canterbury.ac.nz).

Your report will be acknowledged by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. If you prefer to send this by fax it should be directed to +64 3 364 2325 and marked Academic Promotions - Strictly Confidential.

Confidentiality

The University seeks a frank and critical assessment from you as an expert in the candidate's nominated field. The University operates under the provisions of the Official Information Act of New Zealand (1982) and as such the applications are considered by a senior committee and independent advisor which preserves total confidentiality in regard to documentation and referees’ reports. Under this Act your appraisal of the candidate's suitability for promotion will be treated as strictly confidential by the committee unless you give permission for disclosure. You will see on the accompanying report form that you have the choice of indicating whether or not you will permit the report to be made available to the candidate if they should request it.

Referees and independent advisors reports are called for in the case of promotion applications to Associate Professor and Professor.

The independent advisor will be asked to provide an impartial academic opinion of the applicant for promotion. They will be asked for their considered opinion whether the candidate has met the criteria for promotion, and in forming that view to draw on their understanding of the achievements expected of an Associate Professor or Professor in their particular field. They will be provided with the referee’s reports.

An independent advisor will usually:

  • Not know the applicant personally.
  • Be familiar with the promotions process in a university environment similar to UC.
  • Be of high international standing.
  • Be from the discipline or allied discipline to the applicant.
  • Be at the grade of Associate Professor or Professor.

In each promotion application, the University seeks one independent advisor report.

Please send the completed report directly to the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The Office of the DVC (academic-promotions@exchange.canterbury.ac.nz).

Your report will be acknowledged by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. If you prefer to send this by fax it should be directed to +64 3 364 2325 and marked Academic Promotions - Strictly Confidential.

Confidentiality

The University seeks a frank and critical assessment from you as an expert in the candidate's nominated field. The University operates under the provisions of the Official Information Act of New Zealand (1982) and as such the applications are considered by a senior committee and independent advisor which preserves total confidentiality in regard to documentation and referees’ reports. Under this Act your appraisal of the candidate's suitability for promotion will be treated as strictly confidential by the Committee unless you give permission for disclosure. You will see on the accompanying report form that you have the choice of indicating whether or not you will permit the report to be made available to the candidate if they should request it.

To be promoted to an Associate Professor you will be well known in your field and will be developing an international profile.

Your research/scholarship record will include papers in high-impact international journals or other appropriate outlets. You will show significant academic leadership and are likely to have developed a research group within your specialised field.

You will be able to evidence effective supervision of Master's Thesis and PhD students.

You will link your research/scholarship/creative work to your teaching and develop papers and courses inspired by your research. You will have clear evidence of innovative and sustained leadership in teaching and learning. You will also have displayed leadership in the wider academic community through, for example, chairing sessions at international conferences.

To be promoted to Professor you will be known internationally in your field. You will publish in high-quality peer-reviewed international journals, are likely to have edited texts or written books in your subject of study, and you will be on committees/editorial boards outside the University. You will show evidence of effective academic leadership by running a research programme, which will likely involve a group of researchers, and will have collaborations outside the University and normally internationally.

You will demonstrate evidence of leadership in curriculum/discipline development at both a national and international level, and will be acknowledged as an excellent teacher with your research/scholarship/creative work informing your teaching. You will be able to evidence effective supervision of Masters Thesis and PhD students.

You will be involved in senior University service beyond your department/school/ college. You are a visible and effective leader of the University and an internationally recognised leader in your specialist field.