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Promotions to senior academic offices: Notice by the General Board

22 October 1997

The report of the Commissary on representations made by Dr G. R. Evans in respect of promotions to personal Professorships and Readerships and Mr Justice Sedley's judgement on Dr Evans's application to the High Court for judicial review of the procedure followed in the 1997 promotions exercise were published in Reporter, p. 62. In their prefatory Notice, dated 20 October 1997, the Council stated that they had asked the General Board for their views on the conduct of the 1998 round of promotions, and that a further Notice would be published in due course.

 The Council's Notice explained that Mr Justice Sedley had granted Dr Evans leave to proceed to judicial review on two grounds, but that he had ruled that all further proceedings should be stayed and that an application to the Court to lift the stay may be made if 'good cause' can be shown, for example, if the conduct of the 1998 round of promotions fails to cure 'arguable deficiencies' in the 1997 procedures. The two grounds specified by the Judge concern respectively (1) delegation by the General Board to its Committee on personal Professorships and Readerships and (2) the giving of reasons to applicants for promotion who are unsuccessful.

 Under the new procedures applicable to the 1998 promotions round, the Committee on personal Professorships and Readerships will submit to the General Board (1) their recommendations, together with assessments of the applications in terms of the criteria and evaluation set out in Forms PR5 and PP5, for all applicants proposed by Faculty Committees for promotion, and (2) a report on the procedure that the Committee have followed and on the overall standard of applications. The General Board will then be in a position to ascertain that the procedure for arriving at recommendations for promotion has been correctly followed.

 In his judgement Mr Justice Sedley acknowledged that the use of forms PR5 and PP5 in the new procedure would be likely to enable the University to give applicants for promotion the reasons for the decisions reached on their applications. This issue is covered in paragraph 8 of the yellow booklet issued by the General Board which deals with promotions procedure ('Procedure for the consideration of applications for the establishment of personal Professorships and Readerships with effect from 1 October 1998'). Applicants may request feedback from the Chairman of the relevant Faculty Promotions Committee after its second meeting. This will be given in terms of the criteria and evaluation set out in forms PR5 and PP5, and a copy of the relevant form will also be supplied to the applicant on request.

 After the General Board's Committee have completed their consideration and agreed their recommendations, feedback will also be provided in writing, as explained in the yellow booklet, to the Chairmen of Faculty Promotions Committees on all applications considered by the Board's Committee, whether forwarded via the Faculty Promotions Committee or via the appeals procedure, on the following basis:

(a) on individual applications in a form that can easily be passed on to unsuccessful applicants, if requested; a copy of form PR5 or PP5 can also be made available to the applicant at this stage on request;
(b) on the overall standard of applications, in order to assist Faculty Promotions Committees in developing a sense of the standard that applications should reach.

 The General Board intend to issue further guidance on aspects of the procedure to the Chairmen of Faculty Promotions Committees in advance of the second round of meetings. Included in this advice will be further information concerning feedback.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 5th November 1997
Copyright © 1997 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.