Professorship and Readership Conferment information
Call for Applications
Deadline for submission of applications is 16th February 2020
Each year applications are invited for the conferment of Professorships and Readerships. To help with the application process a series of Briefing Sessions are held for members of staff interested in applying. Briefing sessions for potential applications will be held as follows and you may attend any session:
- Research route: -
- 16th December at 1pm, Byrom Street 325
- 15th January at 1pm, IM Marsh Boardroom
- 29th January at 12pm, Redmonds 226
- All other routes: -
- 11th December at 12pm, Byrom Street 325
- 10th January at 12pm, IM Marsh Boardroom
- 24th January at 12pm, Redmonds 227
The purpose of the sessions is to offer potential applicants the opportunity to ask any questions they may have regarding their application, in order to ensure the criteria is fully understood and adhered to. Please note that if you are unable to attend any of the briefing sessions, you should seek advice on your application from your Faculty PVC, Director of School or Director of Professional/Service Area in the first instance. If you then have any outstanding questions please contact the Secretary to the Panel. The Secretary may refer you, as necessary, to the relevant PVC.
Procedures for Submission
Full details of Criteria and Guidelines for Conferment can be downloaded here. Applications should be saved in word format, include the initials of your School and your surname, and be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject header clearly marked 'Professorship/Readership Conferment Application 2020'. An Application and Technical Criteria Pro forma must be completed or your application will not be considered.
In accordance with procedures the deadline for applications must be adhered to, late applications will only be considered under exceptional circumstances. The Conferment Panel and HR also request that each applicant completes an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form. This should be sent as a separate attachment to email@example.com.
Circumstances Impacting on Volume of Output
Circumstances having an impact on volume of output for Professorial or Readership Conferment
The panel is determined to treat all applicants fairly and equitably. To this end the panel will take into account circumstances that have had an impact on an individual’s ability to provide the volume of output that might be expected of a Professor or Reader. The quality or level of performance required will not vary, but volume expectations will be varied appropriate to an individual’s personal circumstances as specified below.
The panel will consider the following individual circumstances to the extent that they are stated to have had a material impact on the individual’s ability to produce the expected volume of output relevant to the conferment of the title of Professor or Reader:
Family and domestic matters, including:
- Absence on maternity, paternity, parental or adoption leave and arrangements on return to work following these periods of leave.
- Part-time working or other flexible working arrangements.
- Time spent acting as a carer or other domestic commitments.
Disability, ill-health and injury, including:
- Any disability to which the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 applies, including both permanent disabilities and any temporary disability with a duration of 12 months or more.
- Absence from work on the advice of a registered medical practitioner.
Prolonged absences (absences for more than six months consecutively in the period relevant to the conferment of the title of Professor or Reader) which were agreed by the individual with the institution but which do not fall into one of the categories above. They include:
- Secondment to non-academic positions outside the higher education sector.
- iCareer breaks for purposes unconnected with research, teaching or other academic duties.
Other absences which the institution is legally obliged to permit, such as absences for religious observance or absence arising out of involvement as a representative of the workforce.
Any other personal circumstances which are considered to have had a significant impact on an individual’s ability to produce the expected volume of research outputs in the period relevant to the conferment of the title of Professor or Reader.
In addition, where the panel is considering subjects that require laboratory-based activity they will be mindful of health and safety restrictions imposed on pregnant and nursing women which may have prevented them from undertaking some types of activity during the period relevant to the conferment of the title of Professor or Reader.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Does the application go back to the Faculty &/or Professional/Service Areas?
A. All applications go back to the Faculty PVC &/or Executive lead for Professional/Service areas, not the School/ Department. This change took place in 2002 and is due to the changes in the university structure. The Faculty is asked for the local view of the applicant and the Shortlisting Panel will also be looking for information from the Faculty regarding the academic standing of the applicant within their School/Faculty.
Q. Are Faculties asked to prioritise applications?
A. Faculty PVC’s &/or Executive Leads for Professional/ Service areas are asked to convene a meeting of the Directors of Schools/ Departments from within their area to consider all applications from their Faculty. Faculties are asked to prepare briefing notes on individual applications that review and comment on the strengths and weaknesses of each application. Any further relevant information not contained in the application may also be highlighted here. The relative merit of the application in relation to the published conferment criteria should be commented upon.
Q. Is there any quota on the number of awards available?
A. No, there is no quota, applications are judged on their individual merit.
Q. How many of the four criteria can you apply against?
A. The applicant can only apply against one criterion and it is a matter for the applicant to decide. The application procedure asks that applicants state clearly which of the four criteria they are making their case against. Try to ensure that you apply against the criteria that demonstrates the full impact of your work and experience. It is important however that you make reference in your application as to how your work contributes to the four pillars of the University Strategy 2017 – 2022.
Q. What are the benchmarks for deciding whether an applicant meets the criteria?
A. There are no benchmarks for the criteria as a whole. The Panel has to consider a very broad range of subject areas and types of submissions. It would be impossible to set specific benchmarks that would cover the very wide range of applications that might be successful. The primary consideration is the overall quality of the application and there is no algorithm for deciding whether an applicant has reached the appropriate level. Decisions are made based on a judgement of all of the evidence provided and the process is not mechanistic.
Q. What kinds of Independent External Assessors are required?
A. Three appropriate Independent External Assessors who have not supervised, collaborated or published with the applicant, but should be able to comment on the applicant's standing in their subject area. They should be selected for their understanding of the subject field rather than for their personal knowledge of the applicant. The assessors should be able to comment on the content and context of the submission and should either be an academic or of equivalent standing in a relevant field. Independent external assessors' details should be listed with full contact details (including relationship to the external assessor, a postal address, email and, where available, a phone number) together with a brief resume for each.
Q. Is it appropriate to nominate international, industrial or professional Independent External Assessors?
A. There is no reason why international, industrial or professional Assessors cannot be nominated. It is a requirement for promotion to Professorial level that at least one of the assessors is of international affiliation. Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of the Assessor on the basis of the case for support that is being made. Assessors must be able to understand the academic context within the UK as well as comment on the applicant's contribution to and standing in their field. Assessors must be external to LJMU. An international external assessor, as with any assessor, must be able to comment in an informed manner on the applicant's standing against the criteria used by LJMU.
Q. Is it necessary for applicants to contact Independent External Assessors before nominating them?
A. No, applicants should not do this. The Chair will select three of the nominated Assessors and the Secretary to the Panel will approach them formally on behalf of the Panel.
Q. Where do professional bodies fit in?
A. Involvement in professional bodies might be a way to demonstrate external recognition in a particular field. An example could be if an applicant was working for their professional body on developing a new curriculum for their field, the applicant could then show that they had contributed to or led developments in their field.
Q. What kind of evidence is required regarding the quality of my work, and my standing in my field?
A. Evidence of reputation and standing outside the applicant's immediate locality is required. Applicants should use their statement of case for support to describe their contribution to their field and the impact they have had beyond what would be expected of a hardworking, committed and professional member of staff. This will normally mean demonstrating the impact that an individual has had on influencing and leading developments outside LJMU.
Q. How can standing in teaching and learning be demonstrated?
A. Applicants should demonstrate that they are having an impact beyond their immediate local environment, in practice this will normally mean something that could be benchmarked in some way by an external reviewer. For example, being a member of a national committee/working group or adviser on policy initiatives on L&T; being invited to provide expert input to a conference as keynote speaker; having developed initiatives that were taken up by others in the sector; having got funding for teaching related research and/or projects; having published in journals on L&T in HE. Other examples include evidence of leading, teaching and learning developments across LJMU; evidence of advances in pedagogy; influencing the national agenda; leading a major national initiative in the field; recognition of achievement by professional bodies.
Applicants would be expected to cite the evidence but not to submit it, e.g. if an applicant cited that they were a member of the National Advisory Panel for the National Teaching Fellowship Awards that could easily be verified. Similarly if an applicant stated that work they had done on L&T had been published in HEFCE Good Practice Case Studies as an example of best practice that is easily verified, published by, for example, the Higher Education Academy or one of its Subject Networks.
Q. How does the Panel judge future promise?
A. The criteria for conferment state that the Panel will look for positive evidence of actual and sustained achievement and future promise. The Panel would expect to see something about an applicant's future plans in their letter of support perhaps backed up by details of In Press or submitted publications in their CV. The panel would normally expect to see evidence of sustained achievement over time, and evidence that the achievement was likely to continue into the future. Often this will simply mean that an applicant has a consistent and continuing pattern of achievement, with no obvious or inexplicable reduction in output. If there is some reason why a simple pattern of achievement is absent a short explanation of this should be provided.
Q. Where does enterprise fit in to the criteria?
A. The criteria for enterprise is the same as for the other subject areas. Applications will be judged on the basis that they have achieved significantly more than would be expected to be the case for a normal, hardworking, committed member of our staff working on enterprise activity. The Panel would normally expect to see evidence that was, in principle, benchmarkable externally, which indicated a sustained pattern of achievement and which was having an impact beyond the immediate environment of the applicant.
Q. How is interdisciplinary activity assessed?
A. Applicants should explain the interdisciplinary nature of their work in the case for support and nominate appropriate independent assessors who could comment on this.
Q. How would the Panel consider publications in different languages?
A. Publications in different languages should be listed in the applicant's CV with their original title and an English translation of the title underneath it. Applicants should nominate appropriate independent assessors who would be able to understand and comment on the standing of the publications.
Q. How is the membership of the Panel determined?
A. The conferment panel is appointed via the Vice Chancellor and includes members of the Executive Leadership Team. This allows flexibility to include Faculty PVC’s and representatives of the Professoriate. The Conferment panel also includes an external panel member. In appointing members consideration is given to subject balance, continuity and social composition.
Q. What information is given to unsuccessful applicants on the outcome of their application?
A. Unsuccessful applicants are advised of the outcome of their application as soon as possible after the Panel meeting. A member of the Panel can give oral feedback to each unsuccessful applicant if requested. The Independent External Assessors' reports are confidential to the Panel. An action plan will be devised by the Faculty following the feedback received.
Q. Are staff who are on fixed term contracts eligible to apply for conferment?
A. Staff employed on contracts supported by specific limited funding streams (for example, research assistants funded from grant income) are not eligible to apply for Professorships and Readerships. The reason for this is that no budget is available to support the increased costs associated with the award of the title due to the staffing costs being determined at the commencement of the contract.
Q. Are applicants able to seek feedback from the Faculty PVC/Executive lead before sending their application in?
A. Yes, applicants are encouraged to seek feedback from their Faculty PVC/ Executive Lead and anyone else locally that they feel will be able to give them objective feedback on their application.
Q. Will the Panel take into account an individual's career circumstances?
A. Yes. As described in "Circumstances having an impact on volume of output for Professorial or Readership Conferment" on page 11 of the Criteria and Guidelines for Conferment document, the Panel will consider how an applicant's submission may have been impacted by relevant circumstances if this is brought to their attention by the applicant.
Requests for visiting positions: Guidance notes and application form
Designation of a Visiting Position – guidance notes and application form
Procedures for Appointing to Externally Advertised Professor Post
The procedure * agreed by the Professorship and Readership Conferment Panel for appointing a Professor is as follows:
- An external of professorial status, knowledgeable in the subject area, to be on the interview panel. This person should normally be from another HEI.
- In the case of promotion of a candidate to a Chair, two independent, external references are to be taken up. These should be nominated by the appropriate Faculty. Independent external assessors should be selected for their understanding of Professorial appointments and knowledge of the subject field rather than for their personal knowledge of the applicant. They should not have supervised, collaborated or published with the applicant. One of these references must be provided by the external panel member. In the case of appointment of a candidate already holding a Chair no further external references are required in addition to that of the external panel member and the candidate’s nominated referees for the post.
- An internal member of the Professorship and Readership Conferment Panel to be on the interview panel. The Chair or Secretary of the Conferment Panel should be consulted about this in the first instance
- The appointment should be notified to the Secretary of Conferment Panel who will report the appointment to the annual Conferment Panel
*all externally appointed professors should meet the LJMU conferment criteria Criteria and Guidelines for Conferment
Procedures for Appointing to Externally Advertised Reader Post
The procedure* agreed by the Professorship and Readership Conferment Panel for appointing a Reader is as follows:
- An external of professorial status, knowledgeable in the subject area, to be on the interview panel. This person should normally be from another HEI.
- In the case of promotion of a candidate to a Readership two independent, external references to be taken up on each candidate. These should be nominated by the appropriate Faculty. Independent external assessors should be selected for their understanding of Readership appointments and knowledge of the subject field rather than for their personal knowledge of the applicant. They should not have supervised, collaborated or published with the applicant.
In the case of appointment of a candidate already holding a Readership, no further external references are required in addition to that of the external panel member and the candidate's nominated referees for the post.
- An internal member of the Professorship and Readership Conferment Panel to be on the interview panel. The Chair or Secretary of the Conferment Panel should be consulted about this in the first instance.
- The appointment should be notified to the Secretary of the Conferment Panel who will report the appointment to the annual Conferment Panel
* all externally appointed readers should meet the LJMU conferment criteria Criteria and Guidelines for Conferment