Birkbeck, University of London Human Resources

Conferment of title (applications for promotion to Reader or Professor)

This Procedure applies to all NON-PROBATIONARY members of academic staff.

Promotion to Reader or Professor is on merit, but is subject to the limited financial resources of Birkbeck. Applicants will be considered for promotion to Reader or Professor on the basis of performance in:

  1. Teaching [course preparation, teaching, PhD supervision, student support and guidance, assessment]
  2. Research [and scholarship]
  3. Management/Administration [Department/School and other management or administrative responsibilities]

Anyone wishing to apply for promotion to Reader or Professor should apply to the Conferment of Title Review Panel, by following the application procedure.

Please note that questions regarding the process and procedures of this promotion panel should be addressed to Laura Dyerson - HR Officer (

University of London

The procedure set out below is written in accordance with Regulation 3 of the University of London’s Council, which states:


"In conferring the title of Professor regard shall be had to the person’s national/international standing in the relevant subject or profession as established by outstanding contributions to its advancement through publications, creative work or other appropriate forms of scholarship or performance, and through teaching and administration."


"In conferring the title of Reader regard shall be had to the person's standing and promise in the relevant subject or profession as established by important contributions to its advancement through publications, creative work or other appropriate forms of scholarship or performance, and through teaching. Other contributions to the work of the College, the University, learned societies and other relevant bodies may also be taken into account."


Please refer to the general notes.

For promotion to Professor competent performance to a high standard (C rating) is required in all three areas - teaching, research and management/ administration. Exceptional performance (A rating) is normally required in two areas, one of which is research.

For promotion to Reader competent performance to a high standard (C rating) is required in all three areas – teaching, research and management/administration. It is accepted that an applicant need not demonstrate a very high standard of performance (B rating) or exceptional performance (A rating) in all three areas. Exceptional performance (A rating) is normally required in research and a very high standard of performance (B rating) in one other area.


  1. All non-probationary Lecturers and Senior Lecturers (who are both termed Teachers of the University of London) and Readers shall be invited annually to submit applications to the Academic Staff Review Panel (Conferment of Title) for consideration of their cases for promotion.   In special circumstances, applications may be considered at other times of the year.

  2. The Review Panel normally comprises the Master as Chair, the Vice-Master and the Pro Vice Masters for Research, Learning & Teaching, and Academic Partnerships (all of whom are ex officio members).  Other members (up to eight Professors chosen from across Departments within Schools) will normally serve a term of office of three years. A BCUCU Observer will be invited to attend meetings of the Panel.  At least one representative from Human Resources shall also be in attendance.

  3. If a staff member wishes to apply to the Panel they need to prepare an application, based on the standard format. The applicant needs to include the names of two external specialists whom they nominate as referees, at least one of whom should be employed at a university outside the University of London. The applicant must ensure that their chosen referees are willing to act on their behalf and will be contactable on the email addresses they provide.

  4. All Academics applying for promotion must confirm that they have completed an Academic Review in the last 12 months. Applications for panels (2017/18 and onwards) will also require applicants to have fellowship status of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

  5. All information, including list of publications, supporting statement and referee details, must be contained within the application, and not provided as separate documents. 

  6. All applicants should take care to ensure their application form is as concise as possible. Applications which clearly prioritise the key achievements underpinning the case, as would be expected in an external recruitment process, are likely to be much more informative for the panel than those which simply list all activities. e.g.  an academic promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2013/2014 applying for promotion to Conferment of Title in 2016/17, should focus on progress made since their promotion in 2013/2014 in their application. Similarly, the panel will have access to the feedback given on any unsuccessful applications made in the past 3 years and candidates are strongly advised to ensure that their application addresses this, as it will inform the panels deliberations.

  7. In order that consideration can be given to all relevant factors, staff are encouraged to indicate any individual circumstances that they feel may have significantly impacted upon the volume of output, and can do so by completing the Personal Circumstances form found in the application section of this procedure.

  8. The applicant must then send one copy of their application to their Executive Dean and one copy to Human Resources by Thursday 26 October 2017.

  9. Where applicants receive confirmation of grant funding or acceptance of articles for publication after they have submitted an application, it is acceptable to forward this additional information to Human Resources.

  10. A total of five references will be required, so in addition to the two referees nominated by the applicant, the Executive Dean will nominate three additional referees expert in the discipline concerned who are not employees of Birkbeck College.  One, but no more than one, of these three should, where practicable and appropriate, be from another college, institute, or associate institution of the University of London. The referees’ contact details should be forwarded to Human Resources by Friday 10 November 2017. In selecting external referees the Executive Dean may wish to consult the appropriate Assistant Dean or others expert in the relevant academic discipline, and seek to identify referees from a wide area, including overseas scholars of international standing where appropriate.  The applicant’s Executive Dean must consult the appropriate Assistant Dean and others (if appropriate), before completing the form ‘Executive Dean’s Recommendation’.

  11. The Executive Dean to send the completed recommendation to Human Resources by Thursday 7 December 2017.

  12. Human Resources will make all reasonable efforts to obtain the references mentioned in paragraphs 3 and 8. If a nominated referee fails to provide a reference after a first reminder, Human Resources will advise the applicant or Executive Dean as appropriate and seek an alternative. An incomplete set of references will not preclude the application from being put forward to the Panel for consideration.

  13. Human Resources are responsible for issuing papers to the Panel in an agreed format to include:

  14. A decision on whether or not to confer the title of Professor or Reader of the University shall be taken by the Review Panel, to be held on Thursday 8 February 2018, after full consideration of the opinions of the applicant’s two referees and of the three external experts, and of the Executive Dean’s recommendation.

  15. Applicants will be notified in writing of the Panel’s decision. Please refer to the General notes of the Promotion Procedure. Unsuccessful applicants will be invited to discuss the outcome with the Master.

  16. Academic Promotion Procedures will be monitored in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

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Date printed: 20/07/2018