Approval Procedures for Associate Professorships: Divisional Guidelines
Contact: Academic HR Officer Dr Gwen Booth firstname.lastname@example.org, Direct Line Tel: +44 (0)1865 282628
1. What this guidance covers
This document sets out the approval procedures and related divisional guidance to be followed in appointing to joint academic posts in the Associate Professor grades. It covers those academic posts with a college association and which are not statutory chairs. In MPLS these posts are normally in grade 30S (10a) APTF-U, or grade 36S (10a) AP-NTF.
The overall responsibility for these appointments lies with the division. Departments must ensure that all the relevant permissions have been obtained before proceeding to advertise these posts.
The key stages and approvals are as follows.
- Strategic planning discussions
- Release of the post
- College association
- Selection committee composition
- Job description and selection criteria
- Search process
- Selection committee report
- Negotiations with the appointee and formal approval of the appointment
In addition to the detail below, further information and related forms can be found on the Recruitment and Appointment pages.
The University's guidelines for appointment of academic staff and the joint appointment procedures can be found on the Personnel Services website at:
2. Planning for recruitment
To support academic planning, departments should discuss potential post release and recruitment timing, and alert the division, as far in advance as is feasible.
When an Associate Professorship becomes vacant through retirement or resignation and needs to be refilled, or when a department wants to establish a new post, it is important to hold strategically focussed planning discussions to build an understanding of the post and to plan for filling it. It is important that departments and colleges work together to allow sufficient time for academic and financial planning and approvals, and to prepare for and carry out the search and the recruitment process, ensuring that the best appointment can be made.
Wherever possible, preliminary discussions between the college (normally the Senior Tutor) and department (normally the Head of Department) will take place in advance of the request to release the post (see 3 below). Note however that college association is conferred via the University’s Joint Appointments Panel (JAP) and following a bidding process (as set out in 4 below). Whilst it can be very beneficial for departments and colleges to explore together the potential for new posts of mutual benefit, the college association for any new Associate Professor post cannot be known until a formal allocation has been made by JAP.
Strategic planning discussions during the period of preparation to advertise will aim to achieve the following.
- Identify department and college expectations for the post in the broader context of strategic planning and equality analysis, and agree on a collective goal.
- Draft the main duties and selection criteria, ensuring that they cover all aspects of the post (a basis can be found in the division’s template Job Description).
- Agree a recruitment and attraction strategy, plan for a search process which will begin before advertising, nominate of a lead person to coordinate the search, consider where the post will be advertised and responsibilities/budgets for this.
- Discuss all aspects of diversity, including the demographic profiles of different research areas within the discipline and the current staff profile in the department, paying attention to all areas of diversity. Where asymmetry exists, consider what positive actions might be employed to attract and support under-represented groups. Consider whether the breadth of subject-matter for the post may be a factor in achieving a diverse pool of applicants.
- Consider whether the post could be performed on a part-time or job-share basis, and include this information in the drafts of the advert and Job Description.
- Identify an academic to act as a point of contact for applicants to speak to about the role and about working at Oxford. If practicable, it may be beneficial that this named contact is not a member of the selection committee.
3. Release of posts for filling or re-filling
When a post needs to be refilled, or when the department wishes to establish a new academic post the department must submit to the divisional office a Recruitment Request form (available from the MPLS Recruitment and Appointment pages), and which has attached or included
- an academic case, detailing the background and academic need for the appointment, and
- a business case.
In addition to the requirement for the Division to consider requests to fill or refill all posts whose primary focus is teaching and research, the filling of any (partly or wholly) internally funded post in MPLS is at present subject to approval via the operation of the Recruitment Protocol. The Recruitment Request form sets out the basic information needed for both of these processes and acts as a summary and cover sheet for the academic and business cases.
Anticipated future academic appointments (whether new posts or refillings due to retirement) should be included in departmental budgets. The approval to release the post is a separate step requiring planning at a greater level of detail.
4. College association
Where a new Associate Professorship has been released, a college association must be created for that post.
When an existing Associate Professorship needs to be refilled, the department must check informally with the college at the earliest possible stage that it would like to retain its association with the post. (College associations normally remain unchanged, unless there are strong academic reasons for establishing a new college association). In the unlikely event that the college does not want to retain its association, a new association is needed.
In all cases where a college association is needed, the divisional office circulates a call for bids for association to all colleges.
The department will be asked to provide details about the post to be included in the circular to colleges. The circular should set out
- academic strategy in areas relevant to the field of the post;
- current strengths in the specific field of the post and associated fields;
- facilities relevant to the field
- particular undergraduate or graduate teaching needs (at least from the department's point of view), and
- may also include suggestions about how, from the subject area's point of view, the post might fit into college needs
When bids are received, these are considered by the department and the division and a recommendation for association with a particular college is put forward by the division to the University’s Joint Appointments Panel for approval.
In setting out their bids, bidding colleges may find it helpful to note that the case to JAP for allocation to a particular college must include the following:
- what the teaching need is at the recommended college and how the proposed association will satisfy it;
- current strengths in the field of the post and associated fields;
- academic strategy in areas relevant to the field of the post; and,
- facilities relevant to the field.
Further details about the process for determining college association, including information about the criteria to be taken into account when considering college bids, can be found in Annexe 1 below.
5. Composition of selection committees
The normal composition of committees appropriate for the types of Associate Professor posts most commonly found in MPLS are set out here. Further detail and advice on unusual cases is provided in Annexe 2 below.
APTF-U / AP-NTF committee composition (7 members)
(1) chairman: Head of Department or Sub-department or their nominee
(2)-(3) 2 other members appointed by the department
(4) external from outside the university (unless the divisional appointee fulfils this role)*
(5) A member appointed by the division (not necessarily a member of the Divisional Board), to be appointed with the approval of the college
(6)-(7) 2 college appointees
* Committees may contain more than one external member. Committee members from other Oxford departments who are working in a cognate field may also be very beneficial.
If the post is in association with a tutorial fellowship, one of the university members of the committee must be a tutorial fellow.
There should be at least one member of each sex on every committee (as a matter of good practice, committees should aim at one third of members being women). Care should be taken to avoid placing an undue burden on a small number of individuals, e.g. women in male-dominated subject areas, and this should be minimised where possible.
Both colleges and departments should recognise the importance of ensuring the diversity of the membership of selection committees, and of securing a range of perspectives, noting that this goes beyond gender and might include, for example, ensuring panel members cover a broad range of levels of experience.
Wherever possible all members of selection committees should have been trained in recruitment and selection (and this is a requirement for selection committee chairs). Training on implicit bias and race awareness is also available via the Equality and Diversity Unit. As a minimum, at least one member should have participated in training on implicit bias and race awareness, and it is recommended that as many selection committee members as possible are trained.
Approval of the membership of the selection committee
The department should submit the proposed membership of the committee to the Academic HR Officer. These details should include proposals for the divisional appointee, and the names of the college representatives (as determined by the college). In approving the composition of the selection committee by or on behalf of the Head of Division, the divisional office checks that the selection committee has the necessary breadth and depth of subject expertise and appropriate experience of college tutorial teaching, and has been constituted with due regard to the University’s Joint Appointments Procedures, and to issues of gender balance and external perspective.
6. Job Description and Selection Criteria
The department and the college will have discussed and agreed the specific field within which the appointment will be made and, once the post has been released by division should continue to discuss the drafting of the job description and selection criteria. This document must include all the selection criteria, which must be spelt out clearly, and be strictly adhered to in the appointment process.
The job description should be as welcoming in tone as possible and must provide the name of an academic, who ideally and if practicable is not a member of the selection committee, but is familiar with the advertised role, and who applicants may contact for a confidential discussion. Giving all applicants the opportunity to discuss the advertised post on a confidential basis with a departmental member who is not on the selection committee can help to ensure that all candidates have the same opportunity to ask questions about the post and about working at Oxford.
The job description and selection criteria must make it clear to candidates that the selection committee does not make the final decision and that no offer of appointment will be valid until and unless the recommendation has been approved by the College Governing Body and the Division and formal contractual offers have been made.
In preparing the job description and selection criteria, the department needs to:
- draft the document using the templates available on the Recruitment and Appointment page or by contacting the Academic HR Officer;
- ensure that the draft includes information about the attractions of the college and college benefits, and as necessary sets out any separate college terms and conditions (information to be included as appropriate on the role of Tutorial Fellow is in Annexe 3)
- arrange for the draft to be discussed by the selection committee (including the college representatives);
- once a full draft is ready, obtain confirmation that the job description and selection criteria have been approved on behalf of the college;
- send the complete draft of the job description and selection criteria to the Academic HR Officer along with confirmation of the membership of the selection committee (see above), if this has not already been approved.
The post may only be advertised once divisional approval of both job description and panel composition has been secured. Upon this final stage of approval to advertise, the Academic HR Officer will supply a divisional approval code and confirm the Vacancy ID and post number for the advertisement.
7. Search Process
It is expected that a search process will be carried out in the course of recruitment to all Associate Professor posts in MPLS. The objective of a search is to create a long list of all the possible candidates. The search phase can be time consuming, but searches for academic posts have delivered very high quality candidates who may not have applied to an advertisement. Searches can identify talented individuals who may not consider Oxford as a place to work, but they may be attracted to apply if they are invited to do so and are given the opportunity to discuss the post and meet potential colleagues.
It is vital that searches are based on thorough research, are objective, and that all possible avenues to obtain names of potential candidates are explored to produce the best possible long list and prevent bias. A review of demographic data for the discipline is recommended. An Equality and Diversity Impact assessment to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty can aid departments in considering how a recruitment can make a positive contribution to the advancement of equality.
Females are underrepresented in academic posts in MPLS. If no women are on the list of candidates to be approached as part of the search proceedings, the selection committee must submit a report to the MPLS Division (via the Academic Appointments Officer) to explain why this is, and to seek approval to proceed further with the recruitment process.
Information on how the search was carried out and the methods used to ensure the list is as inclusive as possible must in any case be included in the selection committee report on the recruitment.
Further information on the role of the search lead, and on conducting and reviewing the search is at Annexe 4 below.
Once the job description and selection criteria and the panel membership are approved by the divisional office, the department can proceed to advertise. The department prepares the draft advertisement in consultation with the Academic HR Officer as necessary.
Further information about how and where to advertise can be found at the HR website.
The strict Tier 2 visa rules on where and how long to advertise no longer apply, but under the Skilled Worker visa rules the applicant must still meet the 'qualifications required' as listed in the job description/ further particulars, and the role must be a 'genuine vacancy'.
Advert printouts, previously required under Tier 2, are no longer necessary. Instead, under the Skilled Worker visa rules, information (rather than documents) about the recruitment to the role must be retained. Information on the requirements for sponsorship are found on the Staff Immigration Team website.
In addition to information provided in the internal application form, where a role was advertised and the chosen candidate required a Skilled Worker visa, the Staff Immigration Team will also rely on vacancy details held in the University's HR systems in the event of a Home Office audit. Departments/faculties should therefore ensure that all the key steps are taken to update and close vacancies.
9. Recruitment process
Departments are responsible for conducting the recruitment process. Where any issues arise, advice should be sought from the divisional office.
The chair of the selection committee has a general role in ensuring that proper recruitment and personnel procedures are followed. All members of the committee have one vote in respect of all decisions taken by the committee throughout the recruitment process. The chairman is a member of the committee and has one vote, but no casting vote.
The chair of the selection committee ensures that a record is kept of the discussions (both face-to- face and by email) and of the decisions made by the committee at each stage of the process, and that notes are made which include a record of the extent to which each candidate meets, or fails to meet, the selection criteria.
The attention of all members must be drawn to the University’s Joint Appointments procedure and to Recruitment and Selection: Guide to the Appointment of Academic Staff.
The selection committee agrees the selection procedures for the shortlisted candidates (e.g. presentation, submission of published work, etc), which should be set out in brief in the Job Description and must be described fully when inviting shortlisted candidates to attend for interview.
If no women are shortlisted, the selection committee must submit a report to the MPLS Division (via the Academic Appointments Officer) to explain why this is, and to seek approval to proceed further with the recruitment process. The report should identify the women and other underrepresented groups who were considered strongest and indicate (with reference to the selection criteria) why they were not shortlisted, or it should state if, for instance, they have been approached but declined to apply.
Interviews and selection exercises/presentations
The interview(s) will be conducted strictly in accordance with the agreed selection criteria.
In cases where there is a possible conflict of interest (for example, a candidate who is either a selection committee member’s student, postdoc or research collaborator), the relevant member of the selection committee should declare their interest.
Normally, all aspects of the combined selection procedure will be jointly undertaken. However, either employer may undertake a separate exercise designed, as part of the selection process, to assess candidates against one or more of the selection criteria, which are of particular relevance to that employer. The status of any such exercise must be clear to all concerned (especially candidates), and all members of the selection committee are entitled to be present and to participate in that separate process. Any such exercise, including college exercises, must take place before the main interview.
The role of individuals from either employer who may participate in any such separate processes, but are not members of the selection committee, must be strictly limited to providing objective evidence to enable the selection committee to assess all candidates consistently against the agreed criteria. This applies equally to mini-presentations and to college interviews or discussions attended by members of the department or college who are not members of the selection committee. Such individuals have no say in determining the outcome of the recruitment process.
Arrangements must be made to report all relevant information from any such separate process to any members of the selection committee who were not present.
Agreeing the outcome
Every effort should be made to ensure that interviewed candidates do not have an unreasonable wait to learn the outcome of their interview, and are informed of the timescales involved.
The procedures to be followed in cases where the selection committee is unable to reach a unanimous decision are set out in the sections 17-23 of the university’s Joint appointments procedures. Disputes about candidates that cannot be resolved through discussion are referred by the divisional office to the Joint Appointments Panel of Personnel Committee.
The selection committee should bear in mind the dates of relevant meetings in considering the timescale for approving its recommendations. If the interviews take place close to or after the final college governing body meeting before the Long Vacation, the arrangements for reaching a decision and offering the post to the chosen candidate must be agreed not later than at the shortlisting stage.
10. Report of selection committee
The chairman of the committee draws up a report for consideration by both the Divisional Board and the college, to be agreed and signed by all members of the selection committee. The report must cover the issues noted in Annexe 5 below (Annexe 5 is normally used as a template for the structure of the report). The report should be sufficiently detailed, and should set out any differences of opinion, where relevant.
All the members of the committee must approve the selection committee report. The chairman then sends the report to the Academic HR Officer and to the Senior Tutor. To ensure that submission of the report is not delayed, the chairman of the selection committee should inform the committee at the end of the interviews when the report is expected to be ready and establish how best to communicate with the committee members to obtain their approval of the final draft. See Annexe 5 for suggestions on approvals from committee members who are external or away from Oxford.
11. Negotiations with the appointee
The Divisional Board and the governing body of the college of association are the appointing bodies. The selection committee’s remit is to make a recommendation to these bodies. The Divisional Board and the governing body of the college must approve the appointment before a formal offer of the post can be made. As noted above, the chairman of the selection committee should plan the timescale for the recruitment in full consultation with the Senior Tutor of the college, setting the key dates as early as possible after release of the post (ideally prior to the establishment of the selection committee and definitely before advertising the post). Be sure to establish when the selection committee’s report will be considered by the college’s governing body. Colleges may be unable to make elections during the Long Vacation. If this may be an issue, the Chairman of the selection committee must establish the college’s procedure for considering selection committee reports after the last governing body meeting in Trinity Term. Some colleges can enter into binding agreements to elect the first-choice candidate at the first meeting in Michaelmas, but others cannot. It is the responsibility of the selection committee chair to inform the division of the timescale for the college’s decision and of the final outcome (an email is sufficient).
Making a provisional offer
In MPLS, the selection committee chair, in consultation with the College (and the Head of Department if the chair is not the Head of Department), is responsible for discussing and agreeing a start date and determining the salary offer (for approval on behalf of the divisional board). This ensures that the approval for the appointment can encompass the specific financial and practical implications of the particular appointment. The First Choice Candidate Information form (Annexe 6) records these details and must be submitted to the division with the selection committee’s agreed report and its accompanying papers.
The chair must take every care to ensure that it is clear to the candidate that the selection committee does not make the final decision and that no offer of appointment will be valid until and unless the recommendation has been approved by the College Governing Body and the Division and formal contractual offers have been made. The chair should also, when applicable, make the candidate aware if approvals at University level will also be required (for Full professor title or overscale salary supplements), and that these processes may take some time, especially if the appointment has been made close to or after the end of a term.
Approval of the appointment
In submitting the First Choice Candidate Information to the Division, the selection committee should note any matters relevant to the salary recommendation, such as market competition, the preferred candidate’s experience or current salary, where known. Any startup provisions already agreed at this stage should also be set out, or if an agreement is reached later, the information sent to the division as soon as it is available.
In special circumstances the department may ask for a salary supplement and/or for Full Professorial title to be conferred upon the selected candidate. A special case must made by the divisional to the university Senior Appointments Panel which must approve these additional provisions. The department will be asked to provide the division with additional material necessary to make the case, including greater detail about the academic and financial case for the proposed level of salary and/or title, and additional references in the case of the conferral of title.
Once the divisional office has received the selection committee report, the Head of Division normally approves straightforward cases on the Board’s behalf and the appointment is reported to the Board. Board members can request a copy of the selection committee report from the divisional office. It is in the Head of Division’s absolute discretion to refer this report to the General Purposes Committee of the Divisional Board or to the Board itself if he deems this necessary or advisable. The Divisional Secretary signs the letter of appointment (which is the university contract). The Head of Department and Head of House are sent copies.
LAST UPDATED: March 2022
Annexe 1: Procedure for Determining College Associations for Associate Professorships
If no change is proposed, the department should report accordingly to the division, and provided the division agrees, no further action is needed.
If it seems to the department that there is a valid case for a change (or a change is necessary because the previous college does not wish to continue its association) the department should provide the divisional office with the necessary details about the post, which the divisional office will then circulate to all colleges.
In preparing details for circulation to colleges the department should define the post as carefully as possible. The branch of the subject or other specialist aspects should be set out, as should the particular undergraduate or graduate teaching needs which (at least from the University's point of view) the department has identified. Any suggestion about how, from a subject area viewpoint, the post might fit into college needs should be put forward tentatively.
Bids should be considered first by the department using the criteria at 3 below. A proposal for association should then be put to the divisional board and the process will then be as at 4 below.
(i) The role of the post and in particular the likely balance between undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, and research;
(ii) The characteristics of the post in the subject area in question, e.g. how specialised is the job description. (A highly specialised post may be more suitable for a non-tutorial than for a tutorial fellowship for instance);
(iii) Relevant academic strategy considerations for the subject area; any such considerations should normally have been made clear in the circular to colleges and in planning discussions.
(i) College requirements as between undergraduate teaching, graduate support, etc.
(ii) Number of posts in the subject area or cognate areas in the college and relative strength of arguments in the circumstances of the case for concentration or dispersal of academic effort. (The latter is, of course, a university as well as a college issue but it will be the colleges which can directly state whether they have a particular plan to specialise in certain areas. The University may want in general to concentrate on certain subjects but it requires the colleges to indicate how such concentration might be achieved.)
The recommendation must set out
- what the teaching need is at the recommended college and how the proposed association will satisfy it;
- current strengths in the field of the post and associated fields;
- academic strategy in areas relevant to the field of the post; and,
- facilities relevant to the field.
The division’s recommendation will be subject to ratification by the central university’s Joint Appointments Panel. The JAP will exercise careful judgment and may reach a different conclusion from that of the divisional board.
5. The overall objective should be an association between the department on the one hand and the college on the other which best reinforces or complements the academic endeavour in both.
Annexe 2: Selection Committee Composition
The usual composition of committees appropriate for posts in MPLS and the process for approval of the committee composition is set out above in section 5. Further detail and advice on unusual cases is provided here.
There will normally be 7 members in total representing both the college and the university.
There should be at least one member of each sex on every committee, if suitably qualified individuals are available. Any proposed exception to this needs to be approved by the University. The Equality and Diversity Unit recommends that as a matter of good practice, committees should aim at one third of members being women and in March 2016, Council confirmed specific targets in support of its gender objectives including aiming for a representation of at least one third women on selection committees.
The Head of Department or Sub-department or their nominee must be member of the committee, and will normally chair it (if the University is the majority employer for the post).
Selection committees must contain at least one individual who is external to Oxford. In order to ensure a sufficient spread of subject expertise and/or further broaden perspectives, it may also be beneficial to have further external representation and/or for there to be an individual from Oxford who is not a member of the recruiting college or department.
One of the university representatives on the panel is formally appointed by the Divisional Board. This committee member does not have to be a Divisional Board member. Departments should propose how best to use this position: for example, to provide an external perspective; to address gender balance; to complement or extend subject expertise; or to meet a combination of the above requirements. College approval for the divisional appointee is normally secured informally by the chairman of the selection committee.
If the post is in association with a tutorial fellowship, one of the University members of the committee must be a tutorial fellow (note that there is no requirement for a committee member to have completed their probationary period prior to joining a committee).
Where the field of the post is unusually broad, the selection committee may be enlarged as appropriate by negotiation between the university and the college. The enlarged committee should retain broadly the same proportions of university and college members for each post. Please consult the divisional office at an early stage of planning if a joint recruitment of several posts is envisaged, or if an enlarged panel may be needed.
In other cases, such as where the post is attached to more than one college, or where the post has a tutorial stint of 8 hours or more, the selection committee should be set up as detailed below.
Where two colleges are involved
Where two colleges are involved, as in a joint-joint appointment, with a tutorial stint of less than 8 hours, the selection committee will be:
(1)-(2) 2 representatives from the college offering the fellowship
(3) 1 representative from the college offering the lecturership
(4)-(8) 5 departmental appointees
(9) 1 divisional appointee (appointed with the approval of both colleges) The general requirements above apply to the 5 departmental appointees.
Where the college tutorial stint is 8 hours or more (such as for APTF-C posts)
Where the college tutorial stint as specified in the initial contract is 8 hours or more, the composition of the selection committee will be:
(1)-(4) College appointees, one of whom will chair the committee
(5)-(6) 2 Departmental appointees
(7) 1 divisional appointee,
One of the 3 university appointees must hold a tutorial fellowship
Annexe 3: General Description of Duties for Tutorial Fellows in Oxford Colleges
NOTE: This is a general template for inclusion in the job description for all Tutorial Fellowships linked to Associate Professorships. It is accepted that it may need to be adapted for individual posts.
A Tutorial Fellowship represents the College side of a joint appointment, i.e. an appointment which involves a College component and a University component. The University side is represented by an Associate Professorship. The appointee is selected and funded jointly by the College(s) concerned and by the relevant division of the University. The joint appointment system is an unusual arrangement in research-intensive universities. Its central feature is that academics of major research reputation are attached to particular Colleges as Tutorial Fellows, where they are members of an interdisciplinary community of moderate size. In those Colleges they teach, and arrange teaching for, a small cohort of very able undergraduates in tutorials (teaching sessions with one, two, or three students) and small classes, monitoring their progress individually over the whole of their course. They also have responsibility for advising a certain number of graduate students in their subject area within their College. Tutorial Fellowships thus hold a key place in the intellectual culture of the collegiate University of Oxford. This document, adopted by the Conference of Colleges, aims to set out the main features of Tutorial Fellowships, and the expectations that Colleges will generally have of Tutorial Fellows.
The duties of a Tutorial Fellow are not confined to the College. All have an obligation as members of a department or faculty to contribute to research and teaching, and this will usually include lecturing, class teaching, supervision of graduate students and University examining alongside contributing to an internationally excellent research environment. As Associate Professors, the holders of joint appointments will also be expected to contribute to discussion and governance in their faculty or department, serving on committees, revising teaching syllabus materials and reading lists, and taking on administrative roles as needed. All Tutorial Fellows are also members of Congregation, the sovereign legislative body within the University, and have a right to vote on matters before Congregation.
The Colleges have the same interest as departments and faculties in seeking to appoint to Tutorial Fellowships academic staff whose research is or has the potential to be of international standing, and a Tutorial Fellow will be required by the College to engage in research and publication at the highest level. The Colleges and the University work together to appoint outstanding researchers who are willing and able to engage in undergraduate and graduate teaching, student support and pastoral work, and administrative duties. Colleges offer extensive support for research, funding regular sabbatical leave and providing a system of allowances, together with rooms and library facilities, all within a welcoming, interdisciplinary community.
3. Teaching and support
Those appointed to Tutorial Fellowships are required to perform for the College or for the benefit of the College the stint of undergraduate tutorial teaching specified in their contract or job description, under the general oversight of each College’s Senior Tutor. The timing of tutorials and the exact numbers of students in each tutorial group are usually matters for the individual tutor, though each College will have established conventions, and the Senior Tutor and subject colleagues will provide advice and examples of past good practice including arrangements such as intercollegiate teaching exchanges which are commonly used to provide expert coverage of different aspects of (or subjects within) a discipline. Tutorial teaching is not the same as lecturing: the intention is to engage the students in small groups in intellectual interaction and creative dialogue so as to help them develop an independent, critical, and well-informed approach to their discipline. This approach is underpinned by regularly setting written work, typically weekly essays or problem sheets supported as necessary with recommended reading. Assessment and feedback on that written work is given by the tutors orally during the tutorials as well as by more conventional written comments or marking. Appointees should have the qualities required to relate effectively to students and their academic and personal needs.
Tutorial Fellows are generally assigned sole or joint tutorial responsibility for a defined group of students in their subject area within their College. This work typically involves the following tasks to support the students’ education:
(a) arranging tutorial and/or class teaching for each student in each term, whether the teaching is done by the tutor or another, and ensuring that teaching is of an appropriate standard;
(b) monitoring students’ progress through termly written reports, and by means of collections (regular tests of performance) and/or assessment of vacation work;
(c) pastoral support of undergraduates reading the subject in question;
(d) interviewing candidates who apply to read the subject at the College, including arranging for help from other suitable interviewers and making the final selection of who should be admitted;
(e) writing references for students, and directing them to appropriate careers advice;
(f) recommending and selecting books and online materials for their subject area in the College Library;
(g) delegating responsibilities (a)-(f) above when on sabbatical leave, in consultation with the Senior Tutor and subject colleagues.
Tutorial Fellows are supported in these tasks by the administrative staff of the College and by the College Officers.
Tutorial Fellows normally do their tutorial teaching in rooms provided for them in Colleges or in their Departments or Faculties and should be easily contactable through their Colleges during Term (although it is recognised that conferences and other commitments may mean that Tutorial Fellows are sometimes away from Oxford for short periods in Term).
Oxford Colleges offer strong pastoral support to all their students. Here Tutorial Fellows play a key role, not only for their own undergraduates as indicated above, but also by acting as ‘College Adviser’ in College for a number of graduate students in their disciplinary area (this being additional to the formal academic supervision of research students arranged by the University with a suitable expert very possibly from another College). While Tutorial Fellows are often the first point of contact for students who are having difficulties, there are, of course, experts available when professional help is needed. Tutorial Fellows work closely with College Officers and with staff with appropriate medical and welfare training to ensure that students are supported appropriately and referred to professional services if that is necessary.
4. College Governance
Oxford Colleges are self-governing communities with wide responsibilities. Tutorial Fellows are normally members of College Governing Bodies, the sovereign bodies of Colleges. They are usually Charity Trustees as well as employees. In many Colleges, major College Officerships (Senior Tutor, Tutor for Admissions, Tutor for Graduates, Dean) are held by Fellows specially appointed to undertake those roles on a full-time basis. However, in some Colleges, such officerships are taken on by Tutorial Fellows on a full-time or part-time basis for agreed limited periods in return for additional stipend and/or a specified remission of tutorial teaching duties. In these various ways, Tutorial Fellows are expected to contribute to the governance and running of their Colleges, though Tutorial Fellows will not normally be asked to take on significant administrative duties in their probationary period (or in the first five years, if their probationary period is shorter than that).
Annexe 4: Searching In Recruitment for Associate Professor Posts
The search phase can be time consuming, but searches for academic posts have delivered very high quality candidates who may not have applied to an advertisement. Candidate searching can ensure that the best candidates in the world are researched and considered, including the many talented people who are not actively considering a job move. A personal invitation from Oxford to be considered for a post carries immense power and can tempt candidates who are happily established elsewhere. Searches can identify talented individuals who may not consider Oxford as a place to work, but they may be attracted to apply if they are invited to do so and are given the opportunity to discuss the post and meet potential colleagues.
It is vital that searches are based on thorough research, are objective, and that all possible avenues to obtain names of potential candidates are explored to produce the best possible long list and prevent bias. A review of demographic data for the discipline is recommended. An equality and Diversity Impact assessment to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty can aid departments in considering how a recruitment can make a positive contribution to the advancement of equality.
During recruitment planning, a lead person for the search should be nominated. The chair of the selection committee would normally lead the search, or they may delegate to someone close to the specialism of the post. The role of the search lead is to:
- consult with all selection committee members to agree the search process, who should be involved, and how to gather initial suggestions for potential candidates
- draw on the ideas and contacts of faculty members, the selection committee, and external leaders in the discipline both in the UK and globally (it is important that all those consulted about the search are asked to understand the need for, and agree to, strict confidentiality about the names they put forward)
- ensure that established and emerging talent in the relevant field is researched (against the agreed selection criteria)
- produce a search phase long list of potential candidates for the selection committee and an outline report of how the search for candidates was carried out.
Reviewing the search
To review the search, the Chair of the selection committee should convene a meeting (or virtual meeting/phone discussion) to consider the list of potential candidates from the search and finalize how individuals will be invited to apply and by whom. It is important not to rule candidates out from being approached unless they clearly do not meet the selection criteria. It is particularly important not to rule out candidates because the committee think they may not be interested; only the candidate can know this.
The objective of a search is to create a long list of all the possible candidates. The search phase long list should, at a minimum, reflect the demographic profile of the discipline and research field internationally, and should seek to include women and minority ethnic candidates. A thorough and objective search should result in the most diverse list possible.
Approaches to potential applicants
Candidates can be approached in a number of ways. The possibilities include dividing up the list between members of the selection committee, who then make personal approaches with an invitation to apply for the post. Alternatively an email invitation to apply can be sent out offering an opportunity for discussion with the named contact in the job description. In all cases care should be taken that communications do not raise expectations of appointment; the communication is simply an invitation to discuss the post and to apply. Potential candidates need to be approached to give them sufficient time to apply for the advertised post, so this phase needs to start as soon as possible.
Earlier planning discussions should have identified the particular attractions of the post and considered how these can best be presented to potential applicants. All those involved in approaching candidates should make themselves familiar with this information in preparing to contact potential applicants.
Searching and diversity
Females are underrepresented in academic posts in MPLS. If no women are on the list of candidates to be approached as part of the search proceedings, the selection committee must submit a report to the MPLS division (via the Academic Appointments Officer) to explain why this is, and to seek approval to proceed further with the recruitment process.
It is good practice to record both how the search was carried out and the methods used to ensure the list is as inclusive as possible. This information must be included in the selection committee report on the recruitment.
Annexe 5: Selection Committee Report for an Associate Professorship
The following information is required for divisional approval to appoint:
Name of Recommended Appointee:
Full Post Title: (e.g. Associate Professorship with Non-Tutorial Fellowship (AP-NTF) of [subject])
Date of advertisement:
Selection Committee Composition: (give capacity in which each member served: chair, departmental rep, college rep, etc)
Number of women and men on selection committee:
Search process: (What measures were taken to identify and attract the most diverse range of potential applicants? If no women appeared on the list of potential applicants to be approached and/or if no women applied an explanation of the steps taken in respect of candidate diversity will already have been required from the selection committee earlier in the recruitment process. If this is the case, for completeness, please reiterate the explanation here.)
Number of applications received: (include gender breakdown):
General comments on the overall strength and diversity of applicant pool (Note here if any applications were for part-time working or job sharing and how any career breaks declared by candidates or atypical careers were taken into account).
Referencing Strategy: (Were references sought for all candidates or only in respect of the short-listed candidates?)
Date of shortlisting meeting:
Were any members of the selection committee unable to attend the short-listing meeting? (If so, how did those not present contribute to the shortlist?)
Shortlisted candidates: (include names and indicate genders):
Diversity of shortlist: (If no women were shortlisted, an explanation of the steps taken in respect of candidate diversity will already have been required from the selection committee earlier in the recruitment process. If this is the case, for completeness, please reiterate the explanation here.)
Date of interview meeting:
Number interviewed: (note if any shortlisted candidates withdrew before interview)
Selection process: (what methods and activities were used as part of the joint University and College selection process?)
Did the entire selection committee attend all aspects of the selection procedure?
General comments on the overall performance of the interviewees:
Non-appointable interviewees (give names and reasons non-appointability in the light of the selection criteria for each named candidate, with reference to the selection criteria)
Appointable candidates (In order of preference, give comments in the light of the selection criteria on the qualities and performance of the first-choice candidate, the proxime, and all other appointable candidates. Ensure that you set out relative strengths and weaknesses and the rationale for the order of preference).
Is the recommended appointee a proxime? (if so, give brief details of any declined offers)
Was the selection committee’s recommendation unanimous? (If not, provide details).
Date of selection committee’s recommendation:
Committee Signatures (confirmation that every committee member is content with the report must be provided. Electronic signatures are acceptable and committee members external to Oxford, or internal members who are travelling at the time can confirm agreement to the report in a separate email to the department).
Documents to be submitted with the report:
- First Choice Candidate Information form
- Job Description as published
- Complete application of the preferred candidate, including references
- Complete application and references of any candidate who was offered the position and declined
Annexe 6: First Choice Candidate Information for Associate Professor Appointments.
The following details are needed for the contract and for commencement onto the payroll
Post: (specify post title, tutorial or non-tutorial fellowship, college):
Name: (as given in the application)
Date of Birth:
Right to Work: (confirm nationality and whether a visa is required, and if so whether Tier 1 or Tier 2 is envisaged) [note 1]
Start date: (confirm with the college before submitting this form; for fixed term appointments also give the end date)
Salary recommendation (grade and point): (confirm fully with the college before submitting this form, and indicate if, unusually, the college offer will differ in grade and point to that of the University. If proposing to appoint above the point normally appropriate to the candidate’s level of experience, details and reasons should be provided). [note 2]
Overscale Salary: indicate if, exceptionally, an overscale salary is required and a request to SAP will be needed (details and reasons should be provided as for high salary offers within scale, above) [note 3]
Conferment of Title: indicate if, unusually, a request to SAP will be needed for the award of Full Professorial title. Specify the title to be sought. [note 4]
Startup Package: indicate any startup provisions where these have already been agreed, including any arrangements agreed for studentships, or arrangements to accommodate a current research fellowship etc.
May work overseas be required? (consider potential for collaborations or fieldwork, and for occasional travel outside Western Europe and the US to conferences)
Occupational Health and Potential Health & Safety issues: (confirm here duties with H&S implications- include items from the hazard list in the Job Description, include any other requirements arising from the appointee’s particular research programme, consider the potential for lone working)
1. If a visa is required, the department provides the necessary documentation to the Staff Immigration Team, including a completed Recruitment Decision form, and initiates the application for a Certificate of Sponsorship.
2. The most common reasons are that the combined University and College stipends are less than current salary, and/or where industry salaries are a factor in particular fields. Reasoning should include:
- an indication of whether the additional salary is required to secure the candidate’s acceptance
- evidence that the normal stipend for career the candidate’s stage including all college benefits would be significantly below the candidate’s current or prospective salary
- assurance that the award of the higher salary would not lead to unacceptable anomalies within the subject area
- confirmation of whether the candidate would be moving from a fixed-term post to a prima facie permanent one
- a statement of the consequences if the candidate declines, including comments on the difference in quality between the preferred candidate and any proxime.
3. Agreement for overscale salaries and/or conferment of title upon appointment may take some time, especially if the issue arises out of term. The Academic HR Officer will advise on whether any additional materials are needed to make a case to SAP. For award of title, references not chosen by the candidate, and which specifically address the University’s criteria for Full Professorial Title are required.
4. Consider whether it is possible to suggest that the appointee applies for title via the annual Recognition of Distinction round once they have settled into post.