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Academic Promotion Procedure

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) This procedure supports the implementation of the Academic Promotion Policy and must be read in conjunction with that document.

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Section 2 - General Procedural Principles

Timing

(2) A promotion round for eligible candidates will take place annually, with all four (4) promotion levels conducted concurrently.

(3) Where a promotions round is completed prior to 30 June, promotion will be effective from 1 July of that year. Where a promotions round is completed between 1 July and 31 December, promotion will be effective from 1 January of the following year.

(4) At the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, an application may, in exceptional circumstances, be considered at any time. Such a decision must be consistent with the principles of the Academic Promotion Policy and this Procedure (see section 12).

(5) The Chief People and Culture Officer will be responsible for submitting proposed timeframes for academic promotion each year to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President for consideration and approval.

(6) Once approved, the full schedule of dates including information sessions will be announced and communicated on the University's website.

Eligibility

(7) All full-time or part-time academic staff with continuing, or consecutive fixed-term appointments of no less than three (3) years, including eligible honorary academic appointees (in accordance with the Honorary Academic Titles Policy) will be eligible to apply for promotion to the next level.

(8) In all cases the candidate's current level on the salary scale will be irrelevant.

(9) Candidates for promotion are generally required to hold the award of PhD (or equivalent) to be considered for promotion to Level B academic and above.

(10) In exceptional circumstances a Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) may present a case to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President for submission to and determination by the Vice-Chancellor where the candidate's industry, experience or qualification provides a compelling case for exemption from the requirements of Clause 9.

Minimum Period of Service Following Appointment, Promotion or Unsuccessful applications

(11) Candidates for promotion must have completed two (2) years of service since their appointment at the University of Newcastle, or the date of their most recent promotion at the University of Newcastle, before they become eligible to apply for promotion.

(12) Candidates must generally complete two (2) years consecutive service following the end of a Research Fellowship, before they become eligible to apply for promotion, in order to demonstrate sustained excellence.

(13) Candidates must have completed probation prior to submitting an application.

(14) Unsuccessful candidates for promotion will be required to wait two (2) years from their last application submission before submitting a further application.

(15) Intending candidates who have not met the minimum period of service requirement or the two year wait rule may make a written submission to the Head of School and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) requesting an exemption.

(16) If the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) is satisfied there are compelling reasons to support the case for an exemption, the Pro Vice-Chancellor will forward the candidate's request, and a written recommendation for the application to proceed, to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President for determination.

Criteria for Promotion

(17) Candidates for promotion are expected to make a contribution in three (3) broad areas:

  1. teaching and learning;
  2. research and innovation; and
  3. engagement.

(18) The promotion process will take account of the candidate's contribution to these areas at the school, college, University, and community level, and will note national and international contributions that may be appropriate to the level of promotion sought.

(19) Candidates will be expected to demonstrate their activities, impact and engagement in each of the areas outlined in Clause 17 with sustained excellence to be evident in at least two (2) areas. Research only academic applications will be judged solely on their contribution to research and innovation. Research and innovation includes scholarship related to teaching and learning.

(20) Candidates will be expected to demonstrate that they meet the promotion criteria based on their activities in their current position at the University of Newcastle, or on their activities in the period since their last promotion at the University of Newcastle.

(21) Evidence to support “engagement” must demonstrate the candidate impactfully contributing to a range of aspects of engagement both internally and externally to the University as appropriate. These may include the governance, capacity building and development of positive and inclusive cultures within the University of Newcastle, through citizenship behaviours and formal leadership roles. It may also include contributions made externally such as to business, government, professional and community organisations to the mutual benefit of all parties.

(22) Candidates applying for promotion to Level D academic and Level E academic, where ‘engagement’ is not an area chosen for demonstrating sustained excellence are still required to demonstrate that expectations consistent with current and future academic level have been fully met, and will continue.

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Section 3 - The Application

Consultation with the Head of School and Pro Vice-Chancellor

(23) Candidates should consult their Head of School and Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) through involvement in PRD conversations, before initiating an application for promotion. 

(24) The Head of School (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) will provide a confidential report assessing the candidate's performance in the key academic domains of teaching and learning; research and innovation; and engagement to be completed on the pro forma.

(25) In some circumstances (e.g. where the candidate is the Head of School, or the Head of School is a recent appointment), it may be appropriate for the previous Head of School to comment on the application. In cases such as this, a request for approval for another person to provide the Head of School comments must be made to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President through the Pro Vice-Chancellor.

(26) The Head of School (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) may consult other relevant members of staff about aspects of an application, subject to the consent of the candidate.

(27) Heads of School and Pro Vice-Chancellors (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) may not withhold an application. However, they should offer advice to the candidate as to the readiness of their candidature of their promotion track.

Preparation of Application

(28) The application is to be completed on the form published on the Academic Promotions webpage, which requires:

  1. a record of achievements and evidence of impact to be completed on the pro forma;
  2. a portfolio of teaching and learning, research and innovation, and engagement to be completed on the pro-forma;
  3. candidates for Level B academic and Level C academic to provide a short statement demonstrating leadership behaviours appropriate to the promotion level being applied for.  Examples should include increasing leadership in the discipline/profession, the University and the community; and
  4. candidates for Level D academic and Level E academic to provide a one-page leadership statement as part of the portfolio section of the promotion application.

Additional Support Materials

(29) The College Promotion Committee may request supporting evidence in the form of books, course materials or other items relevant to the application.  

(30) Any such materials will be made available for inspection by members of the relevant Promotions Committee.

(31) A reference to additional support materials may be included in the application. However, the application should stand alone, and there should be no expectation of reliance on additional support materials.

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Section 4 - Independent Assessment

External Independent Assessments

(32) The Head of School in consultation with the candidate will select a number of assessors and the candidate will confirm the assessors availability and willingness to provide a written assessment:

  1. Four (4) for Level B academic and Level C academic; and
  2. Six (6) for Level D academic and Level E academic.

(33) The assessors:

  1. must be external to the University;
  2. ideally should not have been a co-author/co-postgraduate supervisor/co-grant applicant in the past ten (10) years;
  3. must not be the candidate PhD supervisor;
  4. must not have had a close personal relationship with the candidate.

(34) The College Pro Vice-Chancellor will select two (2) assessors for Level B academic and Level C academic and four (4) assessors for Level D academic and Level E academic to provide independent assessments.

(35) For Level B, Level C and Level D candidates, the College Pro Vice-Chancellor may contact and confirm the availability of an additional independent assessor not nominated by the Head of School or candidate and request an independent assessment.

(36) For Level E candidates, the College Pro Vice-Chancellor must contact and confirm the availability of at least one (1) and up to two (2) additional independent assessors not nominated by the Head of School or candidate, for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President to request an independent assessment.

Requests for Independent Assessments

(37) For Level B academic and Level C academic, the College Pro Vice-Chancellor Chair will:

  1. write to the nominated independent assessors;
  2. invite them to provide an assessment; and
  3. attach the Promotions Independent Assessment pro forma to the request.

(38) For Level D academic and Level E academic, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will:

  1. write to the nominated independent assessors;
  2. invite them to provide an assessment; and
  3. attach the Promotions Independent Assessment pro forma to the request.

(39) Independent assessments for all levels will be returned directly to the Promotions Officer in Human Resource Services by the Independent Assessors.

(40) Candidates must not request their own independent assessments.

Viewing of Independent Assessment Reports

(41) Reports from assessors will be requested in confidence and only Committee members directly concerned with the processing and assessment of applications may view the assessments.

(42) Independent assessments will not be made available to the candidate, unless required by law.

(43) The applications and independent assessments will be provided to members of the College Promotion Committee and, in the case of promotion to Level D academic and Level E academic, applications and independent assessments will be provided to members of the University Promotion Committee.

Testimonials

(44) Testimonials and references, aside from those requested by the University with respect to an application, should not be included, and will not be considered in any application.

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Section 5 - The Application Process

Lodgement

(45) Candidates will be responsible for ensuring their complete application is submitted before the nominated closing date.

Late Applications

(46) Late applications will only be accepted:

  1. in exceptional circumstances; and
  2. with the written approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

Withdrawal of Application

(47) Candidates may withdraw their application for promotion at any time prior to the convening of the relevant Promotions Committee.

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Section 6 - Approval Process

(48) All applications for promotion will be considered by the College Promotion Committee.

(49) Applications from candidates outside of one of the University's established Colleges will be considered by an appropriate College Committee, in relation to the discipline area of the candidate, as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President. 

(50) Applications from UON Singapore candidates will be considered by the most relevant College Promotion Committee in relation to the discipline area of the candidate, as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President. 

(51) The Promotions Officer, Human Resource Services will distribute the applications, including the independent assessments, to the College Promotion Committee members.

(52) The Human Resource Services representative will provide a signed report on behalf of the Chair, with the College Promotion Committee members recommendations, as a record that the process was conducted in a fair and objective way and all equity issues were appropriate considered.

(53) For Level B and Level c applications, the Chair will provide the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President with the assessments and recommendations of the College Promotion Committee no more than two (2) weeks after the Committee meeting.

(54) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will advise both successful and unsuccessful candidates in writing when outcomes have been reached for all levels.

(55) Candidates will be invited to discuss their application with their Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) to gain specific feedback, from the Promotions Committee, in relation to the academic activities requiring further development, and ways to address these development needs will be facilitated through PRD (Performance Review and Development).

Promotion to Level D Academic and Level E Academic

(56) For Level D and Level E applications, the Chair will provide a report to the Promotions Officer, Human Resource Services with the assessments and recommendations of the College Promotion Committee no more than two (2) weeks after the Committee meeting.

(57) All applications for promotion to Level D academic and Level E academic will be considered by the College Promotion Committee and University Promotion Committee.

(58) The Promotions Officer, Human Resource Services will distribute the applications, including the independent assessments, to the University Promotion Committee members.

(59) The Human Resource Services representative will provide a signed report on behalf of the Chair, with the University Promotion Committee members recommendations, as a record that the process was conducted in a fair and objective way.

(60) The University Promotion Committee will provide recommendations for Level E academics to the Vice-Chancellor for endorsement.

(61) The University Promotion Committee will meet as many times as the Chair deems necessary to discuss and consider the applications. 

(62) The College Pro Vice-Chancellor will be invited to the meeting to discuss applications from their College, and is not a voting member of the Committee. 

(63) Candidates will be invited to discuss their application with their Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area) to gain specific feedback, from the Promotions Committee, in relation to the academic activities requiring further development, and ways to address these development needs will be facilitated through PRD (Performance Review and Development).

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Section 7 - Promotion Committees

(64) Staff who have a conflict of interest that has the potential to influence the promotion outcome should not accept membership of a Promotion Committee (refer Section 8).

(65) Academic Promotions training is mandatory for committee members. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will not approve membership of a Promotion Committee unless training has occurred.

(66) A Promotion Committee must adhere to the Gender Inclusive Membership of University Committees Policy.

(67) If ex officio or other committee members are unavailable to serve on the committee, the Chair may nominate a suitable replacement member upon approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

(68) Replacement committee members or additional committee members may be sought at the discretion of the Chair to address issues of gender equity or other relevant equity matters, regardless of the term of members.

College Promotion Committee

(69) There will be two (2) College Promotion Committees established in each College to consider applications for promotion. One (1) for applications for promotion to Level B and Level C, and one (1) for promotion to Level D and Level E.

Composition of College Promotion Committees

(70) College Promotion Committees will have the following composition:

  1. Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College (Chair) ex officio;
  2. a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) committee members from the College, nominated by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College after consultation with the College Executive, and approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President. Up to 50% of these members may be common to both College Promotion Committees. The term of office of these members is three (3) years.
  3. one (1) member of another College, nominated by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College and approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, whose term of office is a maximum of two (2) years.

(71) Members of the College Promotion Committee must be at least at the same academic level as that for which candidates are being considered.

(72) A Head of School cannot be a member of a College Promotion Committee. 

(73) A Human Resource Services representative will attend the College Promotion Committee meeting; offer advice on matters relating to policy and procedure when required; advise on equity considerations and ensure that they are appropriate considered, not advocate or introduce new material for a candidate; is not a voting member and will prepare a College Promotion Report with recommendations from the Committee, signed by all members, for consideration of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

(74) The Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College, must make every effort to ensure that the candidate's broad discipline/professional area is understood. Where this is not achieved through the normal membership the Chair may, with the approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President, co-opt one (1) further member to the Committee for a particular candidate.

(75) No member of a College Promotion Committee, other than the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College, may serve consecutive terms.

College Promotion Committee Interviews

(76) The Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College will schedule and advise all candidates for promotion to all academic levels of interview details.

(77) Candidates who are away from the University at the indicated time of interview will have the option of:

  1. agreeing (in writing) to be considered in absentia;
  2. returning for the interview at their own expense; or
  3. being interviewed remotely by telephone, video conference or other means.

Process for College Promotion Committee 

(78) Feedback from previous applications for promotion will not be considered by the College Promotion Committee.

(79) The College Promotion Committee will take into account the application, documents and materials referred to and distributed by the Promotions Officer, Human Resource Services.

(80) All candidates for promotion will be interviewed individually by the appropriate College Promotion Committee. 

(81) Heads of School (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area), or in certain circumstances a nominated delegate if the Head of School is not available due to absence or a potential conflict of interest, should accompany a candidate from their School at their interview. They will joint the Committee for a brief period before the interview and should remain for a brief period following the interview, in case clarification are required. Heads of School are not present when the vote on whether to recommend a promotion is made.

(82) The Heads of School and the Human Resource Services representative must not advocate for the candidates and must not introduce new material or make personal comments on any application.

(83) Immediately following each candidates interview and prior to discussion, College Promotion Committee members will confidentially undertake a preliminary vote on whether to recommend a promotion. The candidate's application will then be discussed and if necessary, a second and final vote made. All College Promotion Committee members must vote to promote or not promote each candidate.

(84) The College Promotion Committee, based upon a majority vote, will make a recommendation to “promote” or “not promote” and provide reasons for or against the recommendation.

(85) Within two (2) weeks of the Committee’s meeting the Chair will provide the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President with:

  1. a report of the Committee’s proceedings;
  2. a list of the candidates indicating those candidates who are recommended for promotion, and those not recommended; and
  3. detailed reasons for supporting or not supporting each application using the report template.

(86) For candidates seeking promotion to Level B and Level C, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will approve candidates to be promoted and will advise both the successful candidates and unsuccessful candidates in writing. Copies of this advice will be sent to the candidate's Head of School and Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other Academic area).

(87) All candidates will receive specific feedback from comments made by the College Promotion Committee in relation to the academic activities requiring further development, and ways to address these development needs will be facilitated through PRD. Feedback should not be considered as prescriptive advice for future applications.

University Promotion Committee

(88) The primary role of the University Promotion Committee is to:

  1. consider and determine applications for promotion to Level D academic and Level E academic;
  2. ensure there is equity across Colleges; and
  3. ensure the standards expected for promotion are applied uniformly across the University.

Composition of University Promotion Committee

(89) The University Promotion Committee shall have the following composition:

  1. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President (Chair) ex officio;
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) ex officio;
  3. the President of Academic Senate ex officio;
  4. the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Excellence) ex officio;
  5. up to six (6) internal Level E academics, appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President;
  6. one (1) external Level E academic, appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President;
  7. a representative from Human Resource Services who will also act as an equity observer.

(90) Except for ex officio and external members, the term of office for members of the University Promotion Committee is two (2) years.

(91) Except for ex officio members, no member of the University Promotion Committee may serve for two (2) consecutive terms.

Process for University Promotion Committee

(92) The University Promotion Committee will take into account:

  1. the application, documents and materials referred to and made available by the candidate
  2. reports from independent assessors and Head of School; and
  3. the report from the College Promotion Committee.

(93) The University Promotion Committee will meet with each College Pro Vice-Chancellor who will elaborate and provide clarifications if required on the College Promotion Committee report. The College Pro Vice-Chancellor may be provided questions on notice prior to the meeting.

(94) The College Pro Vice-Chancellor is not a voting member and will not be present when the vote on whether to recommend a promotion is made.

(95) Prior to discussion of candidates, the University Promotion Committee member will confidentially undertake a preliminary vote on whether to recommend a promotion. The candidate's application will then be discussed and, if necessary, a second and final vote made. All University Promotion Committee members must vote to promote or not promote each candidate.

(96) Based upon a majority vote, the University Promotion Committee will determine promotion to Level D academic.

(97) Based upon a majority Vote, the University Promotion Committee will provide recommendations for Level E academic to the Vice-Chancellor for endorsement.

(98) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will advise both successful and unsuccessful candidates in writing when outcomes have been reached for all levels. Copies of this advice will be sent to the candidates Head of School and College Pro Vice-Chancellor (or equivalent within a Division or other academic area).

(99) Feedback will be given on the basis of comments made by the University Promotion Committee. Feedback should not be considered as prescriptive advice for future applications.

(100) All candidates will be invited to discuss specific feedback from comments made by the University Promotion Committee, with their Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominated committee member) to gain specific feedback in relation to the academic activities requiring further development, and ways to address these development needs will be facilitated through PRD.

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Section 8 - Conflict of Interest

(101) Staff who may have a conflict of interest that has the potential to influence the promotion outcome should not accept membership of a College Promotion Committee or the University Promotion Committee.

(102) If the staff member is in some doubt as to the degree of potential influence, they should approach the Pro Vice-Chancellor in the case of College Promotion Committees; or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President in the case of University Promotion Committees, for a decision as to whether membership should be accepted or declined.

(103) If the candidate identifies a potential conflict of interest they should disclose this to the Chair prior to the Committee convening.  The Chair will determine the appropriate course of action as defined in the University's Conflict of Interest Policy.

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Section 9 - Training

(104) Academic Promotions training is mandatory for committee members and Heads of School annually, and will be delivered by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

(105) Any newly appointed Head of School and Pro Vice-Chancellor will receive promotions training during their induction.

(106) A Promotions Preparation Workshop will be run for candidates for Level B academic, Level C academic, Level D academic and Level E academic.

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Section 10 - Appeals

(107) A candidate will have the right to appeal against a decision in relation to their application on the grounds that the Policy or Procedures were not adhered to, and should provide evidence of the breach which the candidate believes has had a material effect on the decision not to promote.

(108) An appeal must be lodged with the Chief People and Culture Officer within 14 days of notification of the result of the application.

(109) An appeal on the grounds of outcome of application alone will not be considered.

(110) An appeal will be determined by a Promotions Appeals Committee of the Vice-Chancellor comprising:

  1. Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) as chair;
  2. a member of Academic Senate;
  3. a member of academic staff from a pool of staff nominated by staff representatives on the Academic staff Consultative Committee; and
  4. two (2) members of academic staff appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.

(111) In considering an appeal the Promotions Appeals Committee:

  1. will obtain and consider a report from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President on the alleged breach of procedures;
  2. may obtain and consider any other material that in its opinion is relevant to the process, including but not limited to notes taken by the Equity Observer, Promotions Officer, and/or HR Business Partner; and
  3. will compare the actual procedures followed in the candidate's case with the University Academic Promotions Procedure and determine whether the University has failed to comply with its own procedures.

(112) Where the Promotions Appeals Committee finds that a breach of procedure has occurred and has had a material effect on the decision not to promote, they shall direct action that is necessary to remedy the breach.

(113) The Promotions Appeals Committee has the authority to direct action in relation to procedural matters only and this action must be consistent with University policies and procedures.

(114)  The proceedings of a Promotions Appeal Committee will be confidential.

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Section 11 - Exceptional Circumstances

(115) Promotion outside the normal promotions process will only be considered in the following exceptional circumstances:

  1. where the retention of an academic staff member is important to the strategic direction of the University and the academic is considered to be critical to the strategic plan of the relevant College or Division; or
  2. when an academic staff member is to be re-appointed to the same or an alternative position within the University on a new contract at a higher academic level.

(116) The Head of School or Chief Investigator must make a recommendation to the College Pro Vice-Chancellor where a re-appointment at a higher level is being considered.  The College Pro Vice-Chancellor will then make a recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President for the candidate to be promoted under the exceptional circumstances of Clause 130.

(117) The recommendation should include:

  1. a statement by the College Pro Vice-Chancellor to confirm the staff member’s critical importance to the strategic plan of the College or the reason(s) the staff member is being offered a new contract at a higher academic level;
  2. an Academic Promotions application form and a Head of School or Chief Investigator Report;
  3. the staff member’s CV;
  4. a statement of up to four (4) pages outlining the candidate's activities and achievements in teaching and learning, research and innovation and engagement.

(118) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will consider the documentation and will either approve or not approve the request for the exceptional circumstances to apply and advise the College Pro Vice-Chancellor of the decision.

(119) The College Pro Vice-Chancellor will provide the application and supporting documents to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Excellence) for quantitative benchmarking and to make a recommendation, regarding the candidate's standing in relation to the level of appointment sought, to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President.

(120) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will either approve or not approve Level B, Level C and Level D academic applications and will provide a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor for Level E academic applications.

(121) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President will advise all candidates considered under exceptional circumstances in writing once outcomes have been determined.

(122) Staff being considered under the exceptional circumstances promotions process do not have a right of appeal.