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Human Resources

Guidance for Staff on Progression from Lecturer Grade 7 to Grade 8

1. Foreword from the Vice-Chancellor

"Commitment to academic excellence"

Durham University is one of the UK's leading Universities with a strong commitment to the highest international levels of excellence in research and education. As a Lecturer your primary academic role is within your Department, although you have very considerable freedom to enable you to undertake research at the international forefront. This also places obligations on you to take personal responsibility for developing your role, and to show leadership in working with your students, your academic colleagues in our Departments and Colleges, and the Professional Support Services. You are also expected to engage with students and academic colleagues outside your immediate discipline through membership of a College Senior Common Room and to have a positive approach to service within the University (ie undertaking support and administrative roles within our community).

Durham University has the highest expectations of all its academic staff at every stage of their career, as individuals and as part of an educational community. Your colleagues expect every individual to make a sustained contribution at the highest level to research and education.

To progress to Lecturer Grade 8 we expect you to provide evidence which demonstrates your abilities as a teacher and independent researcher, with forward thinking plans which ensure your research outputs and outcomes will be recognised as world class, and which show that your teaching and supervision is underpinned by a reflective approach to enhancing the learning experiences of your students.

Professor Stuart Corbridge

Vice-Chancellor and Warden

2. Progression

Lecturers appointed on grade 7 are subject to a standard probationary period of three years, following which the normal expectation is that staff will move to grade 8 subject to a review which may take place at any time but is normally concomitant with the end of the probationary period.. In most cases staff will progress to grade 8 once they have completed probation successfully, rather than during the probationary period.

3. Workload

As a Lecturer you are expected to have a full and balanced academic load commensurate with your senior academic role, and this is likely require you to teach subjects within your discipline but which are not central to your personal research. You are also expected to play a full role within your Department, undertaking service to the Department or University when requested to do so by your Head of Department.

4. Mentoring and Support

On appointment you should have had access to a mentor, normally a senior colleague within your Department from whom you can seek advice and help to guide you. This arrangement need not necessarily cease once probation is passed and you may wish to continue to seek support through continuing the mentoring relationship as well as seeking advice as appropriate from other experienced academic staff within or without your department.

5. Annual Staff Review

You will have an Annual Staff Review (ASR) meeting with a reviewer assigned by your Head of Department, who has formal responsibility for the conduct of ASRs within your department. Your Head of Department will see your full review report and may wish to discuss it with you.

An integral part of the review is the completion of a Personal Research Plan which you are required to complete as part of your ASR. This has been introduced to enhance and support the strategic planning of research within research groups and departments, to ensure that individual research trajectories are in line with departmental strategy, and to ensure that the research environment within departments is supportive and responsive to the needs of academic staff. In line with the principles of the ASR process, the focus of the Personal Research Plan is developmental for both individuals and departments.

The ASR meeting with your reviewer will provide an opportunity for you to discuss your role and to highlight any development you require to help you carry out your role. The ASR will also provide you with feedback on your performance and an opportunity to agree priorities for the coming year. The ASR procedure supplements more regular reviews of progress, performance, and support.

If you have concerns about the level of support you require or are receiving, you should raise this straightaway rather than wait for your ASR meeting.

6. Professional development

To progress as a Lecturer you are expected to continue to engage in professional development programmes (click on link below for details) and activities relating to research and learning & teaching. To progress to grade 8 you must have completed modules 1 and 2 of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PG CAP) and have successfully applied for Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

For information on professional development programmes, see

Faculty PVCs must approve any exemption to completion of modules 1 and 2 of the PG CAP, for example because appointees have completed an equivalent course at another University. In such cases staff will normally be required to apply for and become Fellows of the HEA.

7. Research

You will be expected to undertake research and to publish regularly high-impact outputs appropriate for your discipline. The emphasis is on ambition of research questions and quality and impact of output. Your research outputs are required to be recognised internationally-excellent or world leading in terms of quality, originality, significance and rigour - as defined in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, i.e.

Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour

Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence

Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour

You should make use of your knowledge of the UK research funding landscape, and have developed an appropriate number of research grant applications for your discipline. You should also be making use of the Annual Staff Review process to develop your personal research plans, seeking support and advice as appropriate from your research group and/or Departmental research committee to maximise the benefit to your research career of opportunities available in Durham.

Our expectations of you are therefore that you will:

a. produce appropriate research outputs that are recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour for the REF or other equivalent peer review, with careful planning to maximise its quality and the communication of its outcome and impact;

b. ensure that any publications referred to in your promotion application are uploaded in Durham Research Online (wherever possible) and/or included in your web profile (see Section 12 for guidance);

c. make a significant contribution in terms of research impact and outcome;

d. demonstrate excellence in the supervision of research students, and contribute towards recruiting research students and ensuring successful completion of research degrees within required timescales;

e. apply for appropriate research funding in support of your research, individually and/or collaboratively, and have demonstrable success in winning external research funding competitively and through peer review on a sustained basis;

f. contribute to the research life and culture of your Department or School or Institute, for example through collegial behaviour such as participating in research workshops or attracting distinguished academic visitors to your department;

g. lead and manage your research, research projects or programmes, promoting, if appropriate, the development of early career researchers, and building up a research group or demonstrate teamworking;

h. contribute more widely to the development of your subject, for example through regular presentations to national and international conferences, invitations to give key lectures, membership of peer review panels, or editorial responsibilities relating to major journals or reviewing research papers and applications;

i. engage directly with external organisations to transfer your knowledge and expertise for cultural, societal and/or economic benefit, and to use the experience you find there to enrich your research agenda;

j. make full use of Research Council and other external funding bodies' policies and research funding mechanisms.

8. Education

You will be expected to set the highest standards in learning and teaching, linking research and education in distinctive and creative ways to provide a unique and stimulating environment for our students to learn and develop their full potential. As Grade 8 you are expected to have and continue to play a leadership role in the organisation and delivery of learning and teaching within the University.

Most importantly, you will be expected to show you value students, their time and their education.

Our expectations of you are therefore that you will:

a. undertake teaching which is research-led and intellectually challenging to your students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including research supervision, helping to contribute to a distinctive student experience which develops and hones employability skills such as teamwork, creativity, leadership social responsibility;

b. undertake teaching when required of subjects within your discipline but which are not central to your personal research or research plans;

c. be readily accessible to your students and colleagues concerning teaching and assessment and if appropriate agree means by which to have regular contact if away from Durham;

d. reflect on feedback from your students to improve your teaching, and contribute to curriculum development where practicable;

e. be innovative in learning and teaching, and assessment methods, incorporating available technology where appropriate;

f. undertake examinations work and course assessment as directed by your head of department or School, and contribute within your department or School to the development and conduct of fair and transparent assessment;

g. provide appropriate feedback, support and guidance to students;

h. demonstrate continuing professional development in academic practice;

i. actively contribute to your discipline and be part of the Durham scholarly community.

9. Good citizenship and conduct

As a member of Durham's academic community, you are expected to adhere to the principles of good citizenship, being generous with your help and support to others and collaborating with your academic colleagues in matters relating to research, learning & teaching, and knowledge transfer, and working for the benefit of your department and the University as a whole.

You will be expected to be a member of a College Senior Common Room and actively promote the academic ethos of the Durham College community. You may also wish to act as a College Tutor.

As a Lecturer you are expected to undertake effectively and efficiently service to the Department or University that is assigned to you by your Head of Department or School. You are also expected to support and collaborate appropriately with professional and technical colleagues, making an active contribution to an inclusive community in which diversity is embraced and celebrated.

In every respect you will be an ambassador for Durham University and through your work and conduct you will be expected to enhance Durham's national and international reputation, adhering to the University values and being aware of, and contributing to, the University Strategy.

With this in mind, it is important that you note that certain non-collegial types of conduct are extremely damaging to the good order, performance and morale of a Department, School, Faculty and the University as a whole, and are unacceptable. Examples of good citizenship and conduct are:

  • active engagement with colleagues and accepting delegated responsibilities;
  • ready co-operation with legitimate requests;
  • creating good working relationships with colleagues and others;
  • acceptance of legitimate criticism of conduct or job performance;
  • fulfilling commitments; being punctual, notifying sickness absence in good time to avoid disruption to the teaching timetable;
  • adherence to the University's policies on equality and diversity and promoting good campus relations and health and safety;
  • respect for colleagues at all levels and avoidance of verbal aggression;
  • contributing positively to meetings or training events;
  • maintaining confidentiality.

Behaviour not in keeping with the above principles of collegiality may provide a valid reason for disciplinary action, which could include termination of contract. You are expected to be knowledgeable about University policies which relate to your work and relationships with staff and students and to conduct yourself appropriately.

10. Formal Progression from Lecturer Grade 7 to Grade 8

Progression from Lecturer grade 7 to grade 8 is approved by Faculty PVCs and is overseen by the Academic Progression Committee on the basis of agreed factors which apply to standard and fixed-term University- and externally-funded staff.

Progression from grade 7 to grade 8 is dependent upon individual performance and is not competitive. Progression is determined by fair, transparent and objective criteria.. There is no separate complement of grade 8 posts.It is the role of Faculty PVCs to assess progression applications and to make a recommendation to the Committee.

To progress to grade 8, the University must be satisfied that you have fulfilled all the expectations and requirements of a Lecturer as set out in paragraphs 6, 7, 8 and 9 of this guidance, i.e.

  • to have clearly demonstrated independence and originality in your research programme to the standards expected by the Academic Progression Committee, and
  • to have evidenced the potential to continue to produce research with outputs and outcomes recognised as internationally-leading, and
  • to have offered research-led teaching, demonstrated a reflective approach to enhancing learning & teaching and provided leadership in teaching to the standards expected by the Academic Progression Committee.

11. Progression Procedures

Your progress will be kept under review by your Head of Department and you shall be warned by your Head of Department at the earliest possible moment if it is likely that your progression to Grade 8 will not be recommended. The areas of work causing concern, and the action required to correct it, shall be specified.

In most cases progression from Lecturer grade 7 is coincidental with the confirmation of probation. However Lecturers on Grade 7 may be recommended for progression to grade 8 at any time, including during the probationary period if appropriate, whether or not they have reached the top of the grade 7 scale.

The case for progression is made by your Head of Department (and, if appropriate, your Head of House). The submission is considered by the Faculty PVC, and includes:

  • your completed Evidence for Progression and Promotion pro-forma;
  • qualitative and quantitative evidence of your research and teaching;
  • consistent with the evidence, a clear recommendation.

To help your Head of Department prepare his/her submission, you are expected to provide a detailed account of your work in the form set out in Evidence for Progression and Promotion. This should include statistical data from Module Evaluation Questionnaires (MEQs).

Any publications referred to in your promotion application must be uploaded to Durham Research Online (wherever possible) and included in your web profile.

Before submitting the case your Head of Department has to consult members of your department as appropriate. It will be for the Head of Department concerned to select the appropriate members in each case, but in all cases he/she is expected to consult your ASR reviewer. You should let your Head of Department know if there are particular members of staff whom you think it is important to consult. Your Head of Department's submission will also be signed by your Department's Directors of Research and of Learning & Teaching.

Faculty PVCs are full members of the Academic Progression Committee, and following the meeting of the Committee, it is the responsibility of Faculty PVCs to provide detailed feedback to candidates as a form of academic mentoring.

If the submission from your Head of Department recommends that you should progress, it shall be submitted to the Faculty PVC for approval. If the Faculty PVC approves the application, this decision will be reported to the next meeting of the Academic Progression Committee after which you shall receive a letter of confirmation from the HR Director.

If the submission from your Head of Department recommends that you should not progress or if the Faculty PVC rejects a positive recommendation from your Head of Department, you shall be entitled to appeal the decision. See Procedures Relating to Appeals (Academic Staff).

12. Promotion/Probation Open Access Requirements

Important: this message supersedes all previous advice on this subject

Making research available in an open access format is increasingly a requirement of many funding bodies and will form an important element of the next REF. It also helps to raise the profile of the breadth and depth of the excellent research conducted by Durham University academics.

In 2013, it was also agreed by Senate and Academic Progressions Committee that, where possible, publications referred to and considered in promotion applications and probation reports must be deposited in the university’s institutional repository, Durham Research Online (DRO).

This specifically applies to all peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers published on or after 1 January 2013. The author’s final, accepted peer-reviewed manuscript should be provided within 3 months of the date of acceptance for publication.

Details of journal articles and conference papers published before 1 January 2013 should also appear on the author’s Durham University web profile page.

Future promotion applications will only be considered if these requirements have been fulfilled.

As part of the university’s wider commitment to open access and the widespread promotion of its excellent research, authors are also strongly encouraged to deposit the final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript of pre-2013 material in DRO, where possible. However, this is not part of the promotion and probation requirements. The University’s Open Access policy can be found at:

A guide on how to deposit in DRO is available from:

Revised January 2015