Academic promotion criteria instruction

Instruction statement

The Academic promotion criteria provide guidance to applicants about the three areas of academic work assessed by promotion panels determining whether promotion is warranted, the standards of performance and examples of evidence that may be provided in the written application.


Professional staff, Teaching only staff

Instruction steps and actions:

1. Introduction

Academic promotion is based upon evidence of achievements against three promotion criteria: Teaching, Research and Scholarship, and Leadership. Promotion panels assess the applicant’s standard of performance and the quality and impact of their work, as presented in the written application, to make a recommendation about whether promotion is warranted.

Applicants are to determine how best to express their case for promotion across the areas of Teaching, Research and Scholarship, and Leadership within their application. Applicants are to provide a brief narrative about their major contribution/s and achievement/s and provide evidence to support their claims. Activity and achievements since the applicant’s appointment to their current role or last promotion at RMIT, whichever is most recent, will be considered by the panel.

In making their case for promotion, an applicant must provide sufficient evidence for the promotion panel to assess whether the applicant meets the standards of performance required for promotion. Regardless of the focus and emphasis of the application, evidence of both the high quality and positive impact of the applicant’s work must be provided, along with a self-assessment of their standard of performance across the three criteria.

2. Minimum standards for academic levels

The ‘minimum standards for academic levels’ provide guidance to applicants on the expectations of staff appointed at each academic level. Applicants will be undertaking the responsibilities and functions of the levels up to and including the level at which they are currently appointed, and may take on elements of the work at higher level in order to gain experience and expertise.

For full details see the RMIT University Academic and Professional Staff Enterprise Agreement 2014.

In addition, applicants would normally have advanced qualifications – that is, a doctoral qualification or equivalent accreditation and/or experience and standing appropriate to the discipline.

3. Standards of performance

It is expected that applicants are meeting at least the ‘expected performance’ levels for their current level of appointment outlined in Academic Expectations and Development (PDF 77KB, 8p).

Applicants should have a record of achievement that demonstrates they are consistently performing well in duties appropriate to their current level AND satisfactorily achieving beyond their current level, for a least two of the three criteria.

The assessment matrix for assessing applicants is:


Research and Scholarship


Outstanding (O)

Outstanding (O)

Outstanding (O)

Excellent (E)

Excellent (E)

Excellent (E)

Good (G)

Good (G)

Good (G)

Satisfactory (S)

Satisfactory (S)

Satisfactory (S)

Not Satisfactory (NS)

Not Satisfactory (NS)

Not Satisfactory (NS)

  • Outstanding performance is defined as achieving and exceeding all objectives at the current level and performing satisfactorily at the higher level. Applicants will need to show evidence of performance and outcomes at the higher level.
  • Excellent performance is defined as achieving all and exceeding some of the objectives at the current level and performing satisfactorily at the higher level. Applicants will need to show evidence of performance and outcomes at the higher level.
  • Good performance is defined as achieving all objectives at the current level.
  • Satisfactory performance is defined as achieving most objectives at the current level.
  • Not satisfactory performance is defined as achieving no or only a few objectives at the current level.

An overall recommendation of whether to promote or not promote will be made by the relevant promotion panel, based on their assessment of each applicant’s performance in the three criteria.

Applicants would normally be considered to be promotable if their performance across the three criteria was assessed by the panel to be either:

  • Outstanding, Outstanding, Satisfactory, or
  • Excellent, Excellent, Excellent, or
  • Outstanding, Excellent, Good.

Applicants assessed as ‘Satisfactory’ at their current level in any area will need to be assessed as ‘Outstanding’ in the other two areas to be considered promotable.

Applicants assessed as ‘Not Satisfactory’ in any criteria will not be eligible for promotion

Research-only applicants may apply for promotion against the Research and Scholarship, and Leadership criteria, and should be assessed as ‘Outstanding’ in one criterion and at least ‘Excellent’ in the other.

Research-only applicants are not required to provide evidence against all the Teaching criteria. However they will need to demonstrate supervision of research degree students and leadership in research, including research training and supervision.

An applicant to Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow should be able to demonstrate an emerging national impact, and provide evidence of original contributions which expand knowledge or practice in their discipline.

An applicant to Associate Professor/Principal Research Fellow should be able to demonstrate impact and achievement at a national level in Teaching and/or Research and Scholarship; and provide evidence of independent and innovative contributions to the advancement of research and scholarship and/or teaching in their discipline.

An applicant to Professor should be able to demonstrate distinction at a national level and would typically have an international reputation for their contribution to Research and Scholarship.

4. Criteria and evidence

4.1 Teaching

RMIT aims to deliver high quality and high impact academic programs that are distinctive in their technology and design focus, that are innovative in their design and delivery, and that make a difference in the lives of students, staff and communities.

Those making an application which relies significantly on this criterion would normally be engaged in the practice of teaching at the time of making their application. Evidence is required of strong and sustained performance in student outcomes, student experience and feedback and extensive experience and skill in a range of teaching settings.

Where teaching is an emphasis within an application for promotion, an applicant must evidence a recent and sustained teaching load.

Evidence under this criterion may include, but is not limited to:

  • Receipt of a Teaching Award
  • Performance on graduate outcomes, student satisfaction, retention, progression and graduation rate measures
  • Industry feedback on graduate skills and course content linked to teaching
  • Innovative inclusive teaching approaches that meet the needs of students with diverse backgrounds and needs, and that are delivered through multiple delivery modes and/or in different locations
  • Contributions to strategically aligned areas (including technology and design, global, urban, connected, dual sector qualifications and pathways, )
  • Internal or external collaboration on learning and teaching innovations and evidence of implementation and impact
  • Peer reviewed courseware, curriculum, assessment and teaching practice innovations and developments (including associated artefacts such as exams, websites, videos, course guides, teaching notes, student feedback, etc)
  • Professional practice to ensure that skills currency and relevance inform teaching and learning
  • Appointments to state or national review panels and advisory bodies that accredit education programs and/or education providers
  • Coordination of a significant aspect of a program or a significant contribution to the development or coordination of teaching in a school
  • Completion rates of the higher degree students under applicant’s supervision.

4.2 Research and Scholarship

RMIT aspires to international excellence in research in its chosen fields and aims to produce high quality and high impact research in defined research areas. This aspiration is underpinned by supporting cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary teams to work with partners from universities, industries, organisations and communities to address complex problems.

Against this criterion applicants may focus their case for promotion on:

a) Research

At RMIT Research refers to the generation of knowledge and its application to the solution of real world problems.

The creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative. (Based on the Frascati definition of research as per the Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, OECD: Paris. (2002), (ERA Descriptors, Commonwealth of Australia, 2008, p 1).

Applicants should provide evidence of the quality and impact of their research with reference to the Excellence in Research Australia Indicator Descriptors. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • Ranked outlets (journals, refereed conference publications, books, book chapters, original creative works, live performance of creative works, curated or produced substantial public exhibitions and events)
  • Citation analysis (relative citation impact, distribution of publications, distribution of papers)
  • Volume and activity analysis (research publication output),
  • Research income (number of grants, research income),
  • Esteem (editorial roles, contribution to prestigious work, curatorial role, elected fellowship of learned academies, nationally competitive research fellowships, prestigious awards and prizes)
  • Applied (standard patents sealed, plant breeders’ rights, registered designs, research commercialisation income).


b) The Scholarship of Teaching

At RMIT the Scholarship of Teaching refers to the generation of knowledge and its application to the solution of real world problems related to teaching and learning.

Applicants should provide evidence of the quality and impact of their teaching focussed scholarship. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:

  • Teaching citations
  • Grants awarded for teaching innovations
  • Published reviews, or measurable uptake, of new courseware, software, and/or websites (with citation/usage rates, where applicable)
  • Outputs (e.g.: publication of journal articles, including journals specialising in teaching and learning or academic disciplines, citations of publications, publications of academic books and monographs), ranked for quality and impact where applicable.
  • Success in obtaining competitive external grants / funds / income, including Australian competitive research funds, other research funds, Australia Research Council grants; and successful project outcomes and fund management
  • Success in obtaining competitive internal grants / funds / income e.g.: Learning Teaching Investment Funds (LTIF)
  • Uptake of innovations by others (within RMIT, or nationally or internationally outside RMIT), that has a demonstrable outcome and measurable impact (such as courseware)
  • Esteem factors (e.g.: awards recognising excellence, teaching awards, media citations, membership of L&T editorial boards)
  • Keynote addresses at national and international conferences, including conferences with a teaching and learning focus. Conference papers provided as evidence for Research and Scholarship must have undergone a review or refereeing process.

4.3 Leadership

Leadership refers to motivating, influencing, developing and inspiring others through discipline leadership and by translating the University’s vision and strategy into meaningful actions at a ‘local level’. It involves taking a global outlook that harnesses the talents of staff and fosters inclusion, development and performance excellence.

Distinct from routine administration, leadership can be demonstrated at any level, or in any context, related to the development of a discipline and the achievement of RMIT’s strategic goals. RMIT recognises that different academic levels and roles confer different leadership opportunities, but the quality and impact of any leadership activity should be clearly articulated in the promotion application.

Against this criterion applicants should provide evidence which aligns with the emphasis they place within their application – upon their contribution to Research and/or Teaching and/or the Scholarship of Teaching or both –that is appropriate for the level to which they are seeking promotion.

Evidence of leadership where Teaching is emphasised may include, but is not limited to:

  • Managing and supervising teaching staff
  • Formally or informally mentoring more junior colleagues
  • Program management and course coordination
  • Driving innovation in teaching approaches, course or program design,
  • Building beneficial relationships with industry and/or international partners.

Evidence of leadership where Research and Scholarship is emphasised may include, but is not limited to:

  • Managing or supervising research staff
  • Formally or informally mentoring more junior colleagues
  • Creating and/or leading research concentrations and teams to achieve recognised outputs
  • Growing the University’s research reputation in strategically significant fields.

Leadership may also be demonstrated by:

  • Organising conferences, symposiums or exhibitions
  • Involvement and leadership roles with external and/or international bodies
  • Playing a key role in review committees
  • Community and industry engagement activities that contribute to core activities of teaching and scholarship
  • Sustained contributions to the governance and collegial life of RMIT
  • Activity that raises the profile and reputation of RMIT nationally and internationally
  • Contributions to the Higher Education sector.

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