Promotion to Readership and Personal Chair: Procedures and Criteria



Applicants for promotion to a Personal Chair normally are on the Reader and Senior Lecturer Grade. Staff on the Lecturer grade may however apply for direct promotion to a Readership or a Chair, provided they firstly satisfy the Promotions Criteria.

The Senior Lecturer and Readership salary scale is the same. Promotion therefore from a Senior Lecturer position is a mark of distinction but does not involve a substantive contract change. Academic staff employed on part-time and temporary contracts may also be considered for promotion. Cases will normally be made through the Head of Department but personal cases may exceptionally be made directly to the Faculty or central CCR. These should be sent to the Director of HR in the first instance

Promotions Criteria

The Promotions Criteria for academic staff illustrate the types of evidence sought by the Faculty and central Committees. The guidance acts as a framework to assist in qualitative assessment of performance. Cases which do not map readily onto the framework may nevertheless be considered on their own merits.

The University wishes to recognise and reward career-tracks which do not follow the conventional pattern (where the fundamental criterion for award of a Personal Chair is an outstanding research record combined with effective teaching and administration). Accordingly the criteria provide a basis for considering broad-based cases. Cases will provide information under the three criteria of teaching, research and service (formerly administration/management), any of which may include evidence of entrepreneurial activity.


The Central Committee for Chairs and Readerships (CCR) meets four times per year (September, December, March and June) with the exact dates set in the University calendar of meetings; the Faculty CCRs (FCCRs) meet 3 or 4 times per year.

Individuals should discuss their desire to be considered for Promotion with their HoD at the end of the proceeding academic year. Documents should then be prepared for submission to the next FCCR, which will then allow time for additional clarification/references at subsequent FCCRs (if required) before being submitted to the University CCR.

Recommendations from FCCRs should be sent to the Secretary to the CCR no later than 10 working days before each CCR meeting.


The route for Professorial promotions is through the FCCR to the CCR however promotions from Lectureship to Readership level must first be considered by the Faculty and Central Promotions Committees.

A proposal for promotion to Readership or a Personal Chair will normally originate from the Head of Department or Faculty Dean.

Finding a Mentor to support a submission

In addition to support from a departmental HoD, some candidates may find value in sourcing a Mentor to help support them prepare an submission and respond to feedback from FCCRs.
Candidates should source their own Mentor by making a direct approach and asking whether the prospective mentor is happy to oblige. It is then up to the mentee to schedule meetings and manage the process.

When identifying whom to approach, candidates may seek the advice of others (such as their HoD) in order to identify a good prospective Mentor.

A prospective Mentor should ideally:
Have been through the Lancaster Promotions process
Be someone that the individual thinks they are likely to work well with (perhaps based on personal style, existing relationship, or whose circumstances are similar to that of the person preparing a submission)
Be someone who will honour the confidential nature of the conversations

Candidates should reflect on the type of support they would value before making an approach, and briefly outline the topics they are likely to wish to discuss. Mentors approached via this route are not obliged to agree to the commitment, in which case it is suggested that the candidate approaches another prospective Mentor.

Format of Submission

Candidates should submit a curriculum vitae which conforms with the format set out in Appendix 1. This will be accompanied by a personal statement from the candidate which demonstrates clearly how their case satisfies the criteria for promotion with reference to (a) each of the headings detailed in the document Promotions Criteria and (b) the 'balance of criteria'. The Head of Department (except in personal cases) will include a statement of case, commenting on and drawing attention to the key elements of the promotions submission.

Personal cases will not include a Head of Department report as part of the candidate's submission. However, upon receipt, the CCR will seek comment from the Head of Department (and other senior staff in the Department, if appropriate) on the evidence presented and in particular, on the teaching and administration elements.

Candidates are invited to declare any significant periods of 'time-out' of academic activity due, for example, to caring for children or other relatives or long-term sickness, that may be relevant to their career history. This information will assist the CCR in assessing the case; in accordance with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy, the CCR will take into account only relevant considerations.


Eight referees at least will be identified for each case, at least six of whom will be approached. The applicant will nominate two, the Head of Department, in consultation with senior colleagues, will nominate three and the Faculty Dean a further three. The full list of referees will be subject to scrutiny, prior to final approval, by the Faculty CCR to ascertain their inclusion on grounds of status and independence.

Referees should be eminent and independent and chosen with care: their departments should be of at least comparable standing with that of the candidate; they must be able to comment on the national or international reputation of the candidate; they will be normally be of Professorial (or equivalent) level and enjoy national or international standing within the candidate's subject area.

The expectation is that normally all referees will be of international standing and able to comment on the international reputation of the candidate and that normally two will work outside the UK. Where the submission has the features of an 'all-rounder' case, the CCR may exercise some discretion.

The FCCR will choose which six of the eight referees to approach. The FCCR has the right to amend the list of referees, if there is good reason. The central Committee may call for extra references if it sees fit.

For a personal case, the applicant will nominate two referees and the CCR the remainder. The CCR may amend the list if there is good reason.

In the event of an adverse reference or contradictory references, the CCR will make enquiries as to the cause of adverse comment and/or seek additional references.

Information for Referees

References will be taken up by the Secretary to the CCR. He/She will send the referee the following papers: CV and candidate's covering statement, the Head of Department's statement, the University's criteria for promotion and a covering letter. The Discipline Profile may also be provided when appropriate.

The assessment process attaches considerable importance to the role of referees: they can be especially useful in assessing the contribution of the candidate to and their standing (national and international) in scholarship and research and, where appropriate teaching.

Faculty Committees

The Faculty Committee will normally be chaired by the Faculty Dean except that, if the Dean is not of professorial rank, a senior professor will assume the role. The Dean of the Faculty will have responsibility for determining the size and membership of the committee, taking into account the following requirements: -

FCCRs will be small; the actual size will be determined by the Faculty Dean and will depend on the size and complexity of that Faculty.

Each Faculty Committee will have documented its procedures in writing and make this (and Committee membership) available to staff.

The Committee has two main duties: one is to search out pro-actively and assist in the preparation of promotion cases and the other is to process and scrutinise proposals from Heads of Department prior to making a recommendation to the CCR. The Committee will conduct a brief review annually of all candidates (Senior Lecturer and Reader Level) eligible for promotion, with particular attention paid to those from under-represented groups, drawing on information from Heads of Department. It is not envisaged that Faculty CCRs will review CVs. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that candidates are not erroneously overlooked.

If the Committee agrees there is a prima facie case to be considered it will ask the Secretary to the CCR to take up references. If a prima facie case is not established, the Chair of the Committee will advise the candidate of this and provide feedback on the case.

If the Faculty Committee agrees to recommend a case for promotion, the Chair of the Committee will: -

If the Chair is not the Faculty Dean, the statement will be produced in consultation with the Dean. The Chair of the Committee will keep the Head of Department advised of the progress of the submission and let her/him know of the recommendation of the Faculty Committee to the central Committee.

The Central Committee for Chairs and Readerships

The Vice-Chancellor is Chair of the CCR. The Committee membership will be chosen taking into account the following factors: -

The Committee has adopted a protocol for its conduct (see Appendix 3). The CCR exercises a crucial function in ensuring consistency in the quality of promotion candidates across all areas of the University. The Central CCR will review submissions from the Faculty CCR and determine whether or not to accept their recommendations. Where the Central Committee has reservations or queries about a particular application it may seek further advice, either from appropriate members of the Faculty or from outside the University. In doing so the Committee will pay attention to the possibility that women candidates may have less extensive networks than their male counterparts and therefore experience more difficulty in identifying a large number of suitable referees.

The Chair of the FCCR (or, if not of Professorial rank, a nominee) will be invited to attend the Central CCR, not to make a presentation, but to respond to requests for further information or clarification from the Committee. He or she will be expected to consult with the Head of Department and other senior colleagues, a appropriate, with the purpose of collecting relevant facts in anticipation of the CCR's questions.

Upon receipt of references, the Committee can reject the case, establish an appointment Committee (which will usually conduct its decision by correspondence but may choose to meet) or proceed directly to an appointment.

In order to keep the candidate informed of the state of progress of their submission, the Secretary to the Central Committee will, after each meeting of the Committee, contact the candidate to inform them of any developments.

The appropriate member of the Committee will, on behalf of the Committee, provide feedback to candidates who are unsuccessful or whose submission is deferred on the specific areas where their case needs strengthening.

Annual Review

The Faculty and central Committees will conduct an annual review of their business to identify areas in either policy or practice which require revision. The Committees will also monitor the outcomes of business in order to assess the progress of under-represented groups. The report will be sent to the Central Committee in time for the last meeting in each annual cycle.

The central Committee will produce a brief annual report to the HR committee, summarising its decisions and giving an account of substantive issues considered during the year.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

The Director of HR will each year produce information on under-represented groups and identify individuals from those groups who have been in an un-promoted grade for an agreed period of time (to be confirmed). This information will be passed to the appropriate Faculty and the Central Committee in order that each case may be formally reviewed and reported to the Central Committee, so that any causes of potential direct or indirect discrimination may be identified and obstacles to career progression removed.

Last updated Aug 12 (David Owen)
Review Date Sept 2014

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