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Associate professors are normally appointed for five years in the first instance. Formal reviews are carried out around the middle of the five year period (known as mid-period review) and early in the fifth year of appointment (known as initial period or IPO review). On satisfactory completion of these reviews, the associate professor is granted tenure (which is formally referred to in Oxford as reappointment to the retiring age). Evidence of sufficient progress in research and of sufficient contributions to teaching and citizenship is required at each stage.

The processes set out here, whereby tenure is granted to associate professors, are separate to the University’s procedures for the award of the title of Full Professor (that is, the Recognition of Distinction exercise) and for the award of Professorial Merit Pay. A summary of the review processes can be found towards the bottom of this page.

 

1. Support and Mentorship of Newly-Appointed Associate Professors

The mid-period and IPO review processes set out below are one part of the framework of support, advice, and monitoring of progress which helps to ensure every new Associate Professor has the best possible start in their role.

1.1 The Role of the Advisor. The Associate Professor must be provided with effective mentoring in relation to teaching, research, and administration, providing a channel outside the formal assessment process for personal advice and help (including the potential for continuing professional development). Departments appoint an Advisor to the Associate Professor who undertakes this supportive role. University Personnel Committee’s guidance on the mentoring relationship is attached at Annexe C. Heads of Department will wish to note in particular that the mentor has no role in the formal processes to review the Associate Professor’s initial period of office, and should not be consulted by those carrying out the mid-period or IPO reviews or be expected to convey feedback to or from them.

1.2 Annual Meetings. The University requires that every Associate Professor meet annually with their head of department (or their nominee) during their Initial Period to provide feedback and monitor progress towards the requirements for reappointment. These meetings are to be followed up with an agreed written record which is retained on file and a copy given to the Associate Professor.

1.3 Setting Expectations. The University requires that the head of department (or their nominee) personally confirms to the Associate Professor, within their first year, what the divisional criteria for reappointment until the retiring age actually mean in their particular case, in terms of what exactly needs to be achieved by the final review date. It is understood that this may need to be refined as the research programme progresses. An agreed written record of this discussion should be retained on file and a copy given to the Associate Professor.

1.4 Tackling any Concerns as Soon as Possible. The head of division and divisional registrar should be alerted to any concerns about the Associate Professor’s progress. The Associate Professor must be informed at an early stage of any concerns which might impact on their meeting the criteria for reappointment to the retiring age. If all appropriate support has been given and improvements are not made, this may result in the Associate Professor’s dismissal. Timely action, including formal processes, must be undertaken if any concerns about performance are raised (see Section 7 below).

 

2. Reviews: timing, purpose and preparation

2.1 Timing of reviews

The mid-period review is intended to help, support and guide the associate professor by providing an opportunity to assess progress in research and teaching and contributions to citizenship; discuss publication strategy and workload; and address any difficulties which could affect their ability to meet the requirements for reappointment. The mid-period review must be completed by the end of the third year of the associate professor’s initial period of appointment. This ensures that the associate professor has time to act upon the resulting feedback ahead of the start of their IPO review, and allows for any issues or barriers to progress to be identified and tackled expeditiously.

The initial period review is intended to assess the performance of the associate professor in light of the MPLS division’s criteria for reappointment to the retiring age. The initial period review must be completed by the end of the first term of the fifth year of the associate professor’s initial period of appointment. It is very important that this review is carried out promptly, to allow time for necessary extra steps if any performance issues persist or are newly identified.

More detailed information is set out below about tackling any difficulties that may come to light during the mid-period or IPO review processes and about assessing the achievements of Associate Professors whose initial period of office has been affected by maternity or other family leave, caring for relatives, sickness absence, disability etc.

2.2 Start of the process

Ahead of the start of the academic year, the divisional office will send each department a list of staff due to be reviewed during the forthcoming year. The list will be sent both to the relevant administrator and to the Head of Department.

Before or at the start of each term, the divisional office will write to associate professors due to provide their report for either a mid-period or an initial period review during the following term. The letter will give details of the forthcoming review process and of the self-report that they need to prepare. The request for the self-report sets out the timetable for the review and will be copied to the Head of Department and the relevant administrator.

On receipt of the annual list of staff, the Head of Department should make arrangements for the requisite evidence to be provided (see below) and for the relevant panels to be constituted and scheduled. Associate professors’ teaching is often unevenly spaced through the academic year. This can sometimes present a challenge in scheduling reviews. In supplying a complete list ahead of the start of each academic year, it is intended that departments will be able to consult lecture timetables and consider the timing of other relevant factors to ensure that reviews of teaching and other documentation can be collected in good time.

More information is set out in section 6 below about assessing the achievements of Associate Professors whose initial period of office has been affected by maternity or other family leave, caring for relatives, sickness absence, disability etc.

2.3 The review panel

Departments have discretion in the composition of review panels but these should include:

  • Head of Department, who should normally chair the panel, and who is responsible for ensuring that evidence is collected and obtained;
  • several other senior members of the department;
  • a member of another department in a cognate subject, or a subject specialist belonging to another institution.
  • The Head of Department will normally chair the panel but may delegate their role throughout the review process to an appropriate senior colleague.

Heads of Department are encouraged to consider issues of diversity in setting out the panel membership.

Review panels may include a representative of the college, but must not include the advisor of the associate professor being reviewed. Should the department wish, a single panel may consider several associate professors, e.g. those being reviewed in one term. Every effort should be made to ensure that all panel members, including the member external to the department, can take part in the review meeting.

 

3. Documentation

A summary of the documentation required for reviews is as follows. Further detail about the content of each report is set out in the sections following.

Prompted by the Divisional office

Self-report: content as set out below

Prompted by the Head of Department

Teaching Report: by senior member(s) of departmental staff (note that this report must include a review of a particular instance of teaching and must also set out the extent to which the associate professor has achieved the requisite levels of contribution and proficiency overall).

College Report: provided by the college, normally Senior Tutor or Head of House

Citizenship Report: at mid-period review, by an appropriate senior colleague (who is not the associate professor’s advisor); at IPO by Head of Department or an appropriate senior colleague

Research Reports: at mid-period review, by head of research group; at IPO reports from minimum of three referees external to Oxford; at least one referee from overseas; must be acknowledged experts in the field and must be chosen by the panel

Produced by the review panel

Review Report: including a clear statement of the panels’ view of the associate professor’s performance and the extent to which they have fulfilled the full range of contractual duties (teaching, research, and administration/citizenship).

3.1 Self report

The division requires self-reports for mid-period and initial period reviews, and supplies the following information to the associate professor about its structure.

A. Research

‘Research’ is to be understood as original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge and understanding, including work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce and industry, as well as to the public and voluntary sectors. It includes the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products, and processes, including design and construction.

The self-report should set out the following:

  • Review of research to date (set out the composition of your research group if applicable, and note any engagement in/establishment of research collaborations)
  • Details of research grants awarded and/or applications under consideration (including dates, amounts and whether you are PI or a Co-PI)
  • Statement of future research plans and directions
  • Markers of recognition (e.g. invitations to deliver lectures, appointment to journal editorial boards, election to learned societies or research bodies etc)
  • List of publications and other outputs (for publications, include full title, all principal authors, date of submission, volume, number, year, and initial and final page numbers as applicable):

            i) Reports of original research, peer reviewed to an international standard
            ii) Conference proceedings or meeting abstracts, peer reviewed to an international standard
            iii) Other reports of original research
            iv) Review articles
            v) Conference abstracts not internationally reviewed
            vi) Monographs and Textbooks
            vii) Volumes or collections of articles for which you were the editor
            viii) Other outputs, including e.g. spin-outs, software and patents

B. Teaching

‘Teaching’ includes any undergraduate and graduate lecturing and teaching, demonstrating, field tuition, tutorials, supervision, course design, and more generally the mentorship of the next generation of researchers.

The self-report should set out the following:

  • Demonstrations and lectures given (indicating per term the titles of courses given, the number of lectures in each course, and the average number of hours of demonstrating/practical work each week)
  • Details of graduate teaching
  • Details of graduate student supervision and other project supervision (indicate the volume of projects supervised, give numbers of graduate students supervised and number completed, specify if you are a co-supervisor)
  • Average amount of college teaching (and whether the amount and distribution of teaching time is in keeping with the contractual norm for the relevant type of Fellowship)
  • If you have, or have had, an agreed arrangement that reduces the volume of your teaching (such as a buyout from a grant, variation of duties agreement, part time appointment etc) give dates and details of the proportion of the departmental and college teaching carried out.
  • Involvement in course design/redesign, or in innovation in teaching methods
  • Any nominations or awards for teaching

C. Citizenship

‘Good citizenship’ is in the context of the department and college, and of the subject discipline more broadly. It may include activities such as admissions, examining, service on committees, holding university and/or college offices and their associated administrative work; and also editorship of journals; convening or organizing conferences; access, alumni or public engagement activity; as well as activity connected to links with industry or business.

The self-report should set out information about the following types of contribution:

  • Examining and admissions
  • Committee work and associated administration
  • Other contributions to the life and culture of the department and/or the college
  • Contributions to the subject discipline
  • Other contributions
  • If you have, or have had, an agreed arrangement that reduces the volume of your administrative contributions (such as a buyout from a grant, variation of duties agreement, part time appointment etc) give dates and details of the proportion of departmental and college administrative duties carried out.

D. Professional development activities

  • Any courses attended (include training in skills specific to your research, courses attended or qualifications gained in teaching or supervision, sessions organised by departmental HR, the division, IT services or the University’s People and Organisational Development unit)
  • Other development activities during the period

Disclosure of Personal Circumstances

Applicants should feel free to disclose circumstances that may, over a considerable period of time, have had a substantial effect on their record of research, teaching and/or citizenship. This is intended to cover not only circumstances protected under employment and equality legislation such as maternity leave, but also unusually high loads of teaching and/or administration. Any personal disclosure should be provided as a separate document, not included as part of the self-report. Disclosures will be seen by the review panel and divisional officers but not by any other report-writers or independent assessors, and will be treated as strictly confidential.

3.2 Teaching

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division specifies its requirements for teaching and administration to associate professors as follows:

Holders of academic posts in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division are required, over the period of their appointment at Oxford, to contribute to the division’s achievement and maintenance of a teaching profile of the highest order in terms of internal and external quality assessments.

The Divisional Board shall carry out a review at mid-point and towards the end of the initial period of appointment to assess an individual’s ability to meet this requirement. This will involve an assessment of the extent and quality of the teaching and administrative activities carried out by the individual during their initial period of appointment at Oxford, and will in all cases involve a detailed eye-witness report of teaching attended by an assessor appointed by the department, and liaison with the college(s) of association to ascertain the quality of college teaching. Appropriate use will also be made of student feedback in assessing teaching excellence. 

The individual must demonstrate effectiveness and willingness in carrying out their teaching duties (including, where appropriate, lecturing, graduate supervision, demonstrating, fieldwork, and class teaching) and in carrying out administrative work in a timely and effective manner.

A teaching assessment is required for mid-period and for initial period reviews. On receipt of the list of associate professors due to be reviewed in the forthcoming academic year, the Head of Department should consider the teaching schedule and for each review make arrangements for a senior member of the departmental academic staff to attend one or more lectures at an appropriate time.

Should it not be possible to arrange a review of a lecture (e.g. in cases where no lectures are scheduled to be carried out by the associate professor during the period between the initial request for the self-report and the panel’s meeting) with the agreement in advance of the divisional office, a review of an alternative instance of teaching, such as field tuition, demonstrating, or class teaching may be submitted. A review of at least one lecture must however have been submitted by the IPO review stage. After the observation, a written report on the teaching competence of the associate professor should be submitted to the review as set out below.

The report on teaching competence must set out explicitly the extent to which the associate professor has achieved the requisite levels of contribution and proficiency and must include:

  • Remarks on the qualities and effectiveness of the teaching observed
  • The quantity and range of teaching undertaken overall, including course development activities
  • Any indications from student feedback or from colleagues administering teaching activity
  • Whether there has been any reduction from the normal load, for example as a result of a buyout, or of departmental policies on teaching load for e.g. new appointees or maternity returners

The report should be drawn together by the relevant departmental personnel and the observer who has attended a lecture (or other instance of teaching).

3.3 College report

With all joint appointments, the college needs to be consulted. The department should send a copy of the self-report to the Senior Tutor of the college concerned explaining how the review will be conducted and on what timescale, and asking for comments on the performance of the associate professor’s college responsibilities.

3.4 Citizenship and general performance

At mid-period, an appropriate senior colleague (who is not the associate professor’s advisor) should provide the report.

At the initial period review, the Head of Department or an appropriate senior colleague (e.g. head of sub-department) should provide the report

This report should assess the associate professor’s performance in general, and must specifically include comment on their contributions as a citizen of the department and where appropriate of their subject discipline more generally.

Since the mid-period review is formative in nature, and designed to support and guide the associate professor and help them to achieve the standard which will ensure reappointment at the initial period review, the citizenship and general performance report should set out any on-going difficulties which the associate professor has experienced. Such issues might include agreeing to accept too heavy a burden of administrative tasks at too early a stage in their career, difficulties with time management leading to a drop in publication rate, or problems in delivering lectures. The report should consider and note whether there is any training (including training or development activity specific to the research area, courses run by departmental HR, the Division, by IT Services or by the University’s People and Organisational Development unit) that the associate professor might benefit from, and alert the review panel.

3.5 Research

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division specifies its requirements for research to associate professors as follows:

Holders of academic posts in the Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences Division are required, over the period of their appointment at Oxford, to contribute to the Division’s achievement and maintenance of a research profile of the highest order in terms of REF outcomes and international recognition.

The Divisional Board shall carry out a review at mid-point and towards the end of the initial period of appointment to assess an individual’s ability to meet this requirement. This will involve an assessment of the extent and quality of the research activities carried out by the individual during their initial period of appointment at Oxford.

A high level of research achievement, as defined above in terms of REF outcomes and international recognition, must be demonstrated by the individual, as evidenced in research outputs, in the form of substantial articles published or accepted for publication in leading journals (or equivalent).

Firm evidence of at least very considerable progress towards the publication of the results of a major research project is required. In addition to actual publications, the quality of work in progress may need to be assessed.

This definition of research achievement will be interpreted flexibly insofar as it might be appropriate in some cases to consider other evidence of research achievement. It will also be interpreted flexibly as a function of the particular stage in the individual’s career.

A research assessment is required for mid-period and for initial period reviews:

  • At mid-period, the assessment is provided by the head of research group or similar within the department;
  • At initial period review, the assessment takes the form of written references from a minimum of three external referees (at least one from overseas), who must be acknowledged experts in the field and must be chosen by the review panel.

In each case, the Head of Department (or their nominated panel chair as appropriate) should provide the assessor(s) with the associate professor’s self-report and ask that the assessment considers explicitly the associate professor’s national and international standing in research.

Please note that requests for references must include the following statement:

‘All references received will be treated as confidential and held in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and related UK data protection legislation. However, applicants have the right to request a copy of the reference under the GDPR. In this event you will be asked for your views on disclosure before the University responds to such a request.

We provide a Privacy Notice for our Staff with details of our approach to processing their data at https://compliance.admin.ox.ac.uk/staff-privacy-policy. Please keep their data securely and destroy it when it is no longer needed.’

For all reviews, research assessors must be asked to comment explicitly on the extent to which the associate professor has achieved (or at mid-period, is likely to achieve) research activity at the appropriate level for the award of tenure (in terms of international excellence, number of publications and professional development including markers of recognition and esteem). It is accepted that, by the time of the mid-period review, some projects will not have produced new results that are appropriate for publication. However, the review panel should consider the prospects for future publication and refer to this explicitly in its report.

Review panels may request further information from the individual beyond that contained in their self- report (e.g. evidence of unpublished work).

 

4. Meetings and the report to Divisional Board

The composition of the panel is discussed under 2.3 above. The review panel should meet at an appropriate point to consider the documentation collated for the review and form a considered opinion on the performance of the associate professor.

It is also good practice for the panel or the Head of Department (or their nominated panel chair) to meet with the associate professor as part of the review process. See section 7 below for information about handling any difficulties that arise at any time during an Associate Professor’s IPO.

4.1 Meeting with the Associate Professor

The Head of Department (or their nominee) should arrange a discussion with the Associate Professor, to convey any points arising from the review. The meeting should cover research progress and teaching and administrative proficiency, publication strategy and workload, and any difficulties that may have been encountered. This discussion should be seen as an opportunity for the Head of Department to encourage the Associate Professor under review.

If the Associate Professor is progressing as expected and/or if the points arising are simple positive suggestions for the next stage of their development, it may be appropriate to meet with the Associate Professor either immediately before, or immediately after conclusion of the review process. A written note of the discussion with the Associate Professor can be a helpful addition to the review papers, however.

See section 7 below for information about tackling any difficulties that may come to light during the mid-period or IPO review processes.

4.2 The panel report

The departmental review panel must submit to the Divisional Registrar for the consideration of the Divisional Board a written report which must be genuinely qualitative and evaluative, which describes explicitly the process of the review, the criteria used, and the conclusions reached.

The review report should explicitly consider the evidence in the following areas:

  • Research: consider against the criteria in 3.5 above and state explicitly the extent to which the associate professor has achieved, and is expected to maintain, research activity at this level, in terms of national and international excellence, group size, level of funding, recognition and esteem, and number of publications and the quality of their venues.
  • Teaching: consider all teaching activities (including college teaching) against the criteria in 3.2 above and comment on the associate professor’s teaching competence, range and volume of contributions, and willingness to undertake these duties
  • Citizenship: consider all administrative activities (including departmental and college administration and other contributions to the life and work of the department, college, and subject discipline) against the criteria in 3.2 above and comment on the associate professor’s administrative competence, range and volume of contributions, and willingness to undertake these duties.

The report of the review panel must therefore include a clear statement of the panels’ view of the associate professor’s performance and the extent to which they have fulfilled the full range of contractual duties (teaching, research, and administration/citizenship).

At the initial period (five year) review, a clear recommendation on whether the associate professor should be granted tenure (reappointed) should be included.

Reviews should be completed and reports should be submitted as follows:

  • Mid-period, by the end of the third year of appointment;
  • Initial period (five year), by the end of the first term of the fifth year of appointment.

This timetable will allow for timely confirmation of progress or reappointment and will also allow time for remedial action where this is required. If any performance issues are identified in the course of the review, the personnel procedures require the issue of written warnings, with time allowed for the individual to demonstrate improved performance and for the panel and Division then to assess whether the criteria have now been met. These processes should all take place before the end of the Initial Period of Office. Given these constraints, it is especially important that the mid-period review provides an honest picture of achievements against all three criteria so that interventions can be put in place where there are weaknesses and so that there is time for the Associate Professor to make progress in any weaker areas. More detailed information is set out below in section 7 about tackling any difficulties that may come to light during the mid-period or IPO review processes.

Reports of review panels should be submitted to the Divisional Office accompanied by all the evidence considered.

 

5. After the review

On receipt by the Divisional Office, the review panel’s report will be reviewed by the Head of Division and placed on the associate professor’s file. Where problems in process have been identified, a note will be held on the associate professor’s file of the nature and timetable for remedial action and follow-up.

After the review panel's report has been reviewed by the Head of Division and approved by or on behalf of the Divisional Board, the Divisional Office will notify the Head of the Department of the outcome of the review.

Where the conclusion of the mid-period review is satisfactory, on receipt of confirmation from the Division, the Head of the Department should then notify the associate professor that the process has been fully completed. The notification to the department will prompt them to do this.

Where the conclusion of the initial period review is satisfactory, the appointment will be confirmed to retiring age (i.e. tenure will be granted) and a new contract issued to the associate professor.

 

6. Initial Periods of Office affected by individual circumstances

University Personnel Committee has set out the guidance below on reviewing the progress of Associate Professors whose initial period of office has been affected by individual circumstances which have constrained the Associate Professor’s ability to work productively throughout the IPO.

Where the achievements of Associate Professors in their initial period of office have been affected by maternity or other family leave, caring for relatives, sickness absence, disability etc., the head of department/faculty board chair and the Associate Professor should discuss whether it is in the best interests of the Associate Professor for the review processes and/or a decision on reappointment to be carried out on the normal timescale, or whether the initial period of office should be extended. The preference of the Associate Professor will be of particular importance.

In such cases there should be no compromise on the quality of the research achievement required for reappointment to the retiring age. In some cases it will be reasonable to accept a lower quantity of publications, but it might be unreasonable automatically to assume that all achievements necessary for reappointment would have been forthcoming if the period of office had not been disrupted.

If, in such cases, the review is held on the normal timescale and reappointment is made for a further fixed-term solely because of uncertainties arising from individual circumstances, such reappointment should not be regarded in any way as a sanction.

Consideration may also be given to extending the initial period of office in cases where Associate Professors have had significant amounts of their time bought out to enable them to hold research fellowships or similar, and have not had sufficient time working to full duties in the five-year period to demonstrate fulfilment of all the criteria for reappointment.

Heads of Department should contact the division as soon as possible to discuss any cases which may have been affected by individual circumstances.

 

7. Difficulties with the reappointment process

The Associate Professor must be informed at an early stage of any concerns which might impact on their meeting the criteria for reappointment to the retiring age. If all appropriate support has been given and improvements are not made, this may result in the Associate Professor’s dismissal.

Heads of Department should contact their HR Business partner and alert the Head of Division and Divisional Registrar as soon as any concerns arise or difficulties are encountered which might impact on meeting the criteria for reappointment to the retiring age. Early communication is important to help ensure that the procedures are followed in good time.

University Personnel Committee’s guidance for cases in which there are concerns about the performance of the Associate Professor is outlined below.

These procedures are intended to be supportive and to enable the Associate Professor to make the improvements required in order to complete their IPO successfully. The standards in teaching and research at Oxford are necessarily set higher than at many other Universities. Where an Associate Professor’s performance is not on track to meet Oxford’s standards in the IPO, they will be offered support to assist them in reaching the required standards, and, where appropriate without pre-judging the outcome of the IPO process, to assist them in considering how best to further their career in another way.

If concerns about performance arise at any time during an Associate Professor’s IPO, prompt action must be taken to explore the reasons for the failure to meet expected standards (recognising that a range of factors may impinge upon performance), clarify the University’s expectations, provide any reasonable support necessary to meet those expectations, and explain the consequences of failing to do so. This is the responsibility of the head of department / faculty board chair, supported by the division and HR Business Partner.

If the concerns are serious, or if they persist, advice should be taken about whether formal action in the same manner as under Part D of Statute XII is required. In each case, the appropriate process must be followed, and formal warnings may result. This is not intended to be punitive, but to ensure the Associate Professor is aware of the concerns and understands that a failure to reach the required standard may result in their dismissal.

7.1 Tackling any difficulties at Mid-period (Interim) review

The purpose of the interim review is to ensure that the Associate Professor is on track to meet the specific criteria required for reappointment until retirement age, and to identify and provide support where needed to assist the Associate Professor to achieve this.

In every case where concerns are raised at interim review stage that the Associate Professor might not achieve reappointment to the retiring age, the review should include a full discussion between the Associate Professor and the department/ faculty of expectations, of perceived obstacles to progress, and of reasonable support to overcome those obstacles, and should conclude with a clear position on the precise requirements to be met if reappointment to the retiring age is to be achieved at the final review. Those precise requirements must be set out in writing and must include details of what achievements are needed, and by what date.

It must be made clear that, if those requirements are not met, the appointment will not be renewed. Depending on circumstances of the case, it is likely that a formal process in the same manner as under Statute XII, Part D, by the head of department / faculty board chair, resulting in a formal oral or written warning, will be required.

In each case, the HR Business Partner should be consulted on a timely basis about the process for the warning, including the contents of any formal correspondence. The Divisional office should be kept informed of progress, and consulted as necessary.

7.2 The period between the mid-period (interim) and final (IPO) reviews

After the interim review, it is important that regular reviews of progress continue to be made, in meetings between the Associate Professor and the head of department/faculty board chair (or their nominee), in accordance with the timetable agreed as part of the interim review process. If, despite the implementation of the agreed support, the Associate Professor does not make progress towards the requirements for reappointment, a formal process by the head of department/faculty board chair to consider the imposition of a further formal warning is likely to be appropriate. The HR Business Partner should be consulted as soon as it becomes apparent that progress is not satisfactory.

7.3 Final (IPO) review

If the Associate Professor continues to fall short of expectations, and two formal warnings (or, in exceptional cases, one) have been given, the final review is likely to result in a recommendation from the department to the division that the Associate Professor’s contract not be renewed. Before non-renewal is confirmed at the final stage, Associate Professors will have one opportunity to make representations within the division; and then one opportunity to make representations to the central University (by seeking to make representations to a sub-committee of the Personnel Committee’s Joint Appointments Panel that the divisional decision should not be confirmed).

The final review should be completed well before the end of the initial period of appointment to allow time for notice of dismissal to be given if required. (See 2.1 above for details of the required timing for review within MPLS).

If the decision is confirmed, the Associate Professor has the right to a final appeal to a University Appeal Panel.

 

Last updated January 2020

 

ANNEXE A: The associate professor’s self report

The division requires self-reports for mid-period and initial period reviews which encompass the following.

1. Research

‘Research’ is to be understood as original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge and understanding, including work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce and industry, as well as to the public and voluntary sectors. It includes the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products, and processes, including design and construction.

The self-report should set out the following:

  • Review of research to date (set out the composition of your research group if applicable, and note any engagement in/establishment of research collaborations)
  • Details of research grants awarded and/or applications under consideration (including dates, amounts and whether you are PI or a Co-PI)
  • Statement of future research plans and directions
  • Markers of recognition (e.g. invitations to deliver lectures, appointment to journal editorial boards, election to learned societies or research bodies etc)
  • List of publications and other outputs (for publications, include full title, all principal authors, date of submission, volume, number, year, and initial and final page numbers as applicable):

            i) Reports of original research, peer reviewed to an international standard
            ii) Conference proceedings or meeting abstracts, peer reviewed to an international standard
            iii) Other reports of original research
            iv) Review articles
            v) Conference abstracts not internationally reviewed
            vi) Monographs and Textbooks
            vii) Volumes or collections of articles for which you were the editor
            viii) Other outputs, including e.g. spin-outs, software and patents

B. Teaching

‘Teaching’ includes any undergraduate and graduate lecturing and teaching, demonstrating, field tuition, tutorials, supervision, course design, and more generally the mentorship of the next generation of researchers.

The self-report should set out the following:

  • Demonstrations and lectures given (indicating per term the titles of courses given, the number of lectures in each course, and the average number of hours of demonstrating/practical work each week)
  • Details of graduate teaching
  • Details of graduate student supervision and other project supervision (indicate the volume of projects supervised, give numbers of graduate students supervised and number completed, specify if you are a co-supervisor)
  • Average amount of college teaching (and whether the amount and distribution of teaching time is in keeping with the contractual norm for the relevant type of Fellowship)
  • If you have, or have had, an agreed arrangement that reduces the volume of your teaching (such as a buyout from a grant, variation of duties agreement, part time appointment etc) give dates and details of the proportion of the departmental and college teaching carried out.
  • Involvement in course design/redesign, or in innovation in teaching methods
  • Any nominations or awards for teaching

C. Citizenship

‘Good citizenship’ is in the context of the department and college, and of the subject discipline more broadly. It may include activities such as admissions, examining, service on committees, holding university and/or college offices and their associated administrative work; and also editorship of journals; convening or organizing conferences; access, alumni or public engagement activity; as well as activity connected to links with industry or business.

The self-report should set out information about the following types of contribution:

  • Examining and admissions
  • Committee work and associated administration
  • Other contributions to the life and culture of the department and/or the college
  • Contributions to the subject discipline
  • Other contributions
  • If you have, or have had, an agreed arrangement that reduces the volume of your administrative contributions (such as a buyout from a grant, variation of duties agreement, part time appointment etc) give dates and details of the proportion of departmental and college administrative duties carried out.

D. Professional development activities

  • Any courses attended (include training in skills specific to your research, courses attended or qualifications gained in teaching or supervision, sessions organised by departmental HR, the division, IT services or the University’s People and Organisational Development unit)
  • Other development activities during the period

Disclosure of Personal Circumstances

Applicants should feel free to disclose circumstances that may, over a considerable period of time, have had a substantial effect on their record of research, teaching and/or citizenship. This is intended to cover not only circumstances protected under employment and equality legislation such as maternity leave, but also unusually high loads of teaching and/or administration. Any personal disclosure should be provided as a separate document, not included as part of the self-report. Disclosures will be seen by the review panel and divisional officers but not by any other report-writers or independent assessors, and will be treated as strictly confidential.

 

ANNEXE B: Summary of review procedure

1. Shortly before the start of each academic year, the Divisional Office will send each Department a list of associate professors due to be reviewed during the coming year.

2. The Divisional Office will write to each associate professor due for review with a request to produce a report on activities since appointment.

3. In preparation for each review, the Head of Department must:

(a) Set up a review panel consisting of the Head of Department (or an appropriate senior nominee), senior members of the department and an external member (but not to include the associate professor’s advisor)

(b) Arrange for a senior member of academic staff to attend at least one lecture given by the associate professor and arrange for submission of their comments, as a component of a written assessment of the associate professor’s teaching overall

(c) Arrange for an assessment of the associate professor’s research to be produced

     (i) for mid-period reviews, by the head of research group or other similar unit within the department

     (ii) for initial period reviews, by each of a minimum of three external referees (at least one from overseas), who must be acknowledged experts in the field and must be chosen by the review committee

(d) Arrange for a written report on the associate professor’s citizenship and overall performance, including general departmental contribution, to be provided

     (i) for mid-period reviews, by an appropriate senior colleague (who must not be the associate professor’s advisor)

     (ii) for initial period reviews, by the Head of Department or by an appropriate senior colleague

(e) Obtain from each associate professor’s college a report on their college responsibilities

(f) Schedule a meeting of a review panel, to consider the review documentation

(g) meet with the associate professor to discuss their progress (for straightforward reviews this meeting may take place after the review concludes)

Note that the advisor has no role in the formal processes to review the Associate Professor’s initial period of office, and should not be asked to write any of the reports above, nor be consulted by those carrying out the mid-period or IPO reviews, or be expected to convey feedback to or from them.

4. Following the meeting of the review committee, the panel chair must:

(a) Prepare a written, qualitative, evaluative report on the associate professor’s performance in teaching, research and citizenship, referring explicitly to the division’s criteria in each of these three areas, and

     (i) for mid-period reviews, include a clear view on the associate professor’s progress and, where necessary, clarify what they must achieve in order to reach a satisfactory standard by the time of the initial period review

     (ii) for initial period reviews, include a specific recommendation about whether the associate professor has reached an appropriate standard for tenure (reappointment to the retiring age).

(b) Send the report and all supporting documentation to the Divisional office within at very most two terms of receiving the associate professor’s self-report

 

ANNEXE C:The Role of the Mentor

Each newly appointed Associate Professor will be supported by a mentor who is an independent, permanent member of academic staff. To avoid any conflict of interest, the mentor should not be the head of department/faculty board chair and should not be involved in allocating work to the Associate Professor. The choice of mentor should be agreed with the Associate Professor, and provision made for the Associate Professor to change mentor.

Role: The role of the mentor is to: (a) assist with induction into the department/faculty and the University; (b) provide guidance and support in relation to teaching and research; (c) provide guidance and support in relation to the formal procedures for reappointment to the retiring age.

The role of the mentor will encompass some or all of ‘trusted friend’, ‘counsellor’, ‘information provider’, and ‘door opener’. The mentor has no role in the formal processes to review the Associate Professor’s initial period of office, and should not be consulted by those carrying out the reviews or be expected to convey feedback to or from them.

Meetings: The mentor and mentee should agree at an early stage on the frequency of meetings (e.g. once a term, twice a year) in addition to informal discussions as and when required. It would be good practice for both mentor and mentee to keep a brief record of the points discussed at meetings. There may, on occasion, be discussions which are confidential and/or ‘off the record’.

Topics for discussion: The following is a possible list of topics that the mentor/mentee may wish to discuss. It is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather to give examples of topics.

(a) Research: research, funding, and publication plans; sources of funding and grant applications.

(b) Teaching: preparation/delivery of lectures, seminars, teaching methods, graduate supervision (e.g. sharing of knowledge, experience and resources, not allocating work).

(c) Assessment: assessment methods, design of examination papers, marking standards, question setting.

(d) Administration: department/faculty and University procedures etc.

(e) Career and staff development: balance of duties and workload (including guidance on which requests from the department/faculty or college to accept and which to refuse), professional development.

Research topics: In view of the importance of research for academic staff, the research topics that a Associate Professor may wish to discuss with their mentor are set out in more detail as follows:

(a) their personal research plans with details of particular research projects, papers to be written, the Research Excellence Framework, etc;

(b) the academic journals to which completed papers might be submitted for Publication;

(c) opportunities to apply for external funding (perhaps initially jointly with a colleague or colleagues);

(d) (where relevant) how to establish, grow and manage a research group;

(e) (where relevant) opportunities for engaging and influencing policymakers, practitioners, the mass media and the public with their research;

(f) conferences to attend and possible sources of funding;

(g) the making of useful research contacts eg:

     (i) visits to other institutions to meet with researchers working in same field;

     (ii) identifying distinguished visitors to invite to Oxford to give seminars / seminar series and talk with the member of staff;

     (iii) introductions if attending the same conference.

 

Annexe C adapted by University Personnel Committee from guidance prepared by the Blavatnik School of Government, with permission