Why are there limited promotion opportunities for academics?

QUESTION:

I’d like executive to explain the reasoning behind why Staffordshire University provides limited opportunities for academics to be promoted for their academic achievement. This relates to all three points of promotion: from lecturer to senior lecturer, from senior lecturer to principal lecturer/reader, and then to professor.

Prior to adoption of the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) at this university it was relatively straightforward to progress from lecturer to senior lecturer. Can the university confirm that the re-grading of lecturer to senior lecturer since the implementation of HERA is far less frequent?

In practice it seems that lecturers and senior lecturers are effectively doing the same role at this university, with most having indistinguishable levels of responsibility (e.g., running modules, administrative roles).  The progression from senior lecturer to principal lecturer/reader is even more problematic.  A promotion to principal lecturer seems to require a move away from one’s academic role to a more administrative/managerial position (e.g., award leader).  The position of reader is rarely given, and perhaps not at all in some faculties.  Where an appointment is made, it seems to be exclusively assigned to the creation of a designated role/job.  There seems no opportunity for a senior lecturer to be re-graded to the next tier because their academic expertise and success deserves it (i.e. their CV has developed to a level that is more consummate with the next grade).

For instance, a senior lecturer who can show that their achievements relating to teaching (exceptional student feedback, teaching qualifications and awards, teaching leadership) and research (e.g., gaining external grants, research publications, successful supervision of PhD students) should have the opportunity to have the title principal lecturer or reader conferred on him/her (with the accompanying salary re-grading).

The conferment of professorship has been available in the past, but the last call for professorship applications was some years ago (over five I believe). There have been recent rumours that there may be a call for applications soon, but nothing has been announced.  But without a similar call for principal lecturer/readership appointments there is a tier missing, which means that the vast majority of senior lecturers have to present a case that is a near-impossible leap from their current position.

The lack of promotional opportunities for academics at Staffordshire University is a de-motivating influence, and means that an appointment at another university is the only available route for academic advancement.

 

ANSWER:

Staffordshire University provides the same promotion opportunities for all members of staff regardless of the role they perform.  Promotion at the University can be either via a reassessment of the current grade (see Reassessment of Grade Procedure) or by applying for vacancies as they arise.

Progression from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer since the introduction of the HERA process is exactly the same as the progression process for any other member of staff at the University, i.e. to identify role changes/requirements and to complete a HERA Form and have this reassessed. This means that providing the member of staff is working at the higher level, they do not need to wait until they reach the top of the scale before applying for promotion as was the case prior to the introduction of HERA.

The University does not confer titles of Principal Lecturer or Reader, but requires Faculties/Schools to determine whether they have a requirement for such a role and these would be advertised as appropriate as with any other vacancy at the University. As with most organisations, there are less opportunities available at more senior levels, however, the achievements and experience of any member of staff would  be taken into account if relevant to the post to which they were applying.

A call for professorial applications may be considered later in the year.

 

With free badminton for staff now finished – can we have more promotions?

Question:

Hi Executive,

We have been enjoying (twice now), free lunchtime Badminton for Staff & Students in the Sir Stanley Matthews Sports Centre.

We were told today that this perk for Staff had come to an end (it’s still free for Students). As far as I can tell it has been running for a total of two weeks.

Please could this be reinstated & better publicised, as it was a good way for our staff to be social motivated at lunchtimes with the help of exercise.

Many thanks.   

Answer:

The Sports Centres on both the Stafford and Stoke campuses do not currently run free badminton sessions for staff however, in light of the request, the following ‘Be Active this Summer’ promotions will now run at both Sports Centres specifically for Staffordshire University staff:

Sports Hall
From July 1st to August 31st
Between the hours of 12-2pm Mon to Fri we will offer free use of the sports hall for badminton on a ‘turn up at the time’ basis. If the hall is available then University staff will be able to book a court for an hour for free.
If, however staff wish to pre book a court to ensure their booking then normal price will be applied.

Gym Usage
From July 1st to August 31st
Both Sports Centres will be offering ONE month gym memberships for ONLY £15. (These can be taken out at any point during the promotion dates)  These memberships will also include a Free Fitness Test worth up to £7.00. Please note that these memberships will only allow access to the gyms between the hours of 7.00am to 6.00pm.