Jane Taylor, Deputy Director LEC
What was the promotion you went for?
What made you decide to go for it?
As an academic you self-determine your work and the direction of your career. Promotion and progression to Senior Lecturer and then Professor were the logical steps of my career.
How did you feel when considering putting yourself forward for promotion?
I had felt that I had been working at a senior level for some time, and had taken on many leadership roles within the University that were not related to research. However, under the old promotions criteria it was difficult to make a ‘rounded case’ for promotion, on a very balanced CV. The first time I went through the promotion process for Professor, although I was unsuccessful, I was encouraged to reapply, suggesting that I was quite close to meeting the criteria. When the new promotions criteria were published, I felt this opened up a completely different pathway that recognised more clearly the breadth of my career to date.
How did you go about preparing your case for promotion?
In preparing my case a second time I focused on finding the right language to articulate my rounded experience. I shared my paperwork with both internal and external colleagues who were very helpful in pointing out how, and where, to make my case more compelling. I think this can be quite a daunting thing to do, but I felt it made a significant difference to the end result. I found that to evidence impact in leadership was quite difficult and I tried to demonstrate this from the various working groups, committees and projects I have been involved with. I also drew on my experiences of Council, Senate and my time as Associate Dean.
Is there any particular advice you would give to other candidates?
A trick that I found helpful was to write a reference for myself as I would do for another colleague; this enabled me to think about the language others might use to describe my work and my contribution, and to personally test what I thought were the strengths of my case. One activity that I have instigated in LEC is to run strategic career planning workshops for PhD students, PDRAs and academic staff, to help colleagues to more actively plan their careers and gain promotion. It can be particularly difficult to prepare a rounded case, and something I have been keen to do is to encourage staff to explore how work associated with their core duties can gain added value either in terms of personal development or to show leadership qualities.
What impact has being successful in your promotion had on your work?
I feel that I had been working at this level for a while so the promotion has not had a huge impact on my work. I have for some time been thinking about how particular departmental projects might provide an opportunity that could benefit the career progression of other colleagues, and I have been encouraging colleagues to use these as a key development activity, and thinking about how it might contribute to their progression over the longer term.