< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

Report of the General Board on the structure of academic offices in the University

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

Background

1. The changes arising out of the Reports of the General Board on the recruitment, reward, and retention of academic and academic-related offices (Reporter, 1997-98, p. 804) and on the introduction of a University Senior Lectureship into the Cambridge structure of academic offices, and associated matters (Reporter 1998-99, p. 782) substantially affected the University's structure of senior academic and academic-related offices.

2. In the former Report, the Board informed the Regent House that their proposals should be seen as part of an evolving process of reform and as a stage in a strategy for improving the University's competitive ability to attract and retain staff of the highest calibre. The proposals were to be viewed also as part of a plan to introduce greater coherence into policies concerned with the recruitment, reward, and retention of academic and academic-related staff. The latter Report implemented a number of changes which had been outlined in the earlier Report, including the introduction of the office of University Senior Lecturer. Paragraph 17 of the Human Resources Strategy (Reporter, 2001-02, p. 777), incorporated these earlier proposals and indicated that, in order to assist recruitment, proposals - to allow appointment to be made to the offices of University Senior Lecturer and Reader through open competition and to abolish the office of University Assistant Lecturer - would be brought forward for consideration by the Regent House.

3. These proposals followed on from a consultation exercise carried out by the General Board in September 2001 in which a document on the academic career structure and the reform of senior academic promotion procedures was issued to Heads of Departments, Chairs of Faculties not organized into Departments, and Councils of the Schools for consideration. Members of the Regent House were invited to comment on the content of the document (Reporter, 2001-02, p. 106), which was published on the University's website.

4. In the document the General Board drew attention to the need for further clarification of the University's academic career structure, and, in particular, to the two areas mentioned above, where further improvements might be made: the role of the University Assistant Lectureship in the structure; and appointment to University Senior Lectureships and Readerships through open competition. This Report concerns these matters.

The abolition of the University Assistant Lectureship and the introduction of new probationary arrangements for academic staff

5. In the consultation document the Board expressed the opinion that the University Assistant Lectureship should be abolished for the following reasons:

(i) The original purpose of the University Assistant Lectureship was to provide a means of introducing 'new blood' into the academic establishments of the University, and in particular to provide opportunity for young researchers embarking on academic careers. Many University Assistant Lecturers now appointed by Appointments Committees have established teaching and research records and are upgraded in due course to University Lectureships through the Temporary Upgrading Procedure. There are currently 35 University Assistant Lecturers in the University. Very few University Assistant Lecturers eligible for consideration for upgrading had not been upgraded in the last five years.
(ii) The comparatively low stipend scale, the non-extendable fixed-term nature of the office, and the high cost of moving to Cambridge, were disincentives to recruitment.
(iii) With regard to (i) and (ii), and in the light of the additional grade of University Senior Lecturer, recruitment would be assisted if appointments were made to University Lectureships but subject to a more substantial probationary and tenure review than was currently the case.

The outcome of the consultation was that all of the fifty-four authorities (including the Councils of the Schools) who replied, except one, were in favour of the Board's proposal to abolish the office of University Assistant Lecturer and to introduce a more structured and rigorous probationary scheme for University Lecturers. Accordingly, the Board have agreed to proceed with their proposals. New probationary arrangements are currently being developed and a draft scheme will be circulated to all relevant authorities for comment in the near future. In the meantime the Board wish to proceed with the proposals to abolish the University Assistant Lectureship as well as to clarify the procedures for appointments to the University Senior Lectureship and Readership as soon as possible. These proposals require amendments to Statutes and Ordinances. If these proposals are approved the present arrangements relating to initial periods of appointment will continue to operate for University Lecturers (and University Senior Lecturers) until they are replaced in due course by a new scheme.

Probationary criteria: University Lectureships and University Senior Lectureships

6. The Board outlined the criteria in the consultation document for meeting new probationary requirements and securing appointment to the retiring age. These were that the probationary scheme should require clear evidence that University Lecturers should have:

(i) satisfactorily undertaken teaching and examining duties assigned to them;
(ii) satisfactorily engaged in research/scholarship toward the advancement of the subject;
(iii) on the evidence of teaching and research/ scholarship shown clear promise of further professional development;
(iv) satisfactorily carried out such administrative duties required of them. (With regard to administrative duties, the Board acknowledged that opinion might vary significantly as to whether this criterion should be included at all, and, if included, given weight equal to the other criteria.)

7. With regard to University Senior Lectureships, the criteria for appointment would be consistent with the criteria for appointment through promotion, namely clear evidence in relation to two and satisfactory evidence in relation to one of the following:

(a) Research/scholarship

Achievement in research/scholarship at least at a level that would allow the relevant institution to count the applicant as research-active for the purposes of the most recent or next national Research Assessment Exercise.

(b) Teaching

Excellence in teaching with reference to course development and innovation; and the delivery of teaching including, as appropriate, lecturing, conducting seminars, supervising undergraduate and graduate students.

(c) General contribution

Effective contribution to the subject other than in teaching and research. This may include administration and, where appropriate, management of research groups, and the creation and management of multi-institutional/national/international research facilities. It may also include contributions, other than teaching or research, to the subject made outside the University and also editorial work, and clinical work (if applicable).

Referees would be requested to comment on the candidature of applicants in relation to the criteria.

8. The Board indicated that new probationary arrangements would involve a more systematic approach to induction and review, perhaps through a structured programme during which new University Lecturers would be provided with advice and support to facilitate integration in the Faculty or Department, and a regular Faculty/Departmental review process in the course of which any problems might be raised by the University Lecturer or by the Faculty/Department. A formal written assessment of performance would be presented to the relevant Appointments Committee at the end of this process.

Transitional arrangements: appointment of existing University Assistant Lecturers as University Lecturers

9. The General Board have agreed that the initial period of appointment of existing University Assistant Lecturers appointed to University Lectureships shall be three years if the officer is in the last year of tenure on appointment; four years if in the fourth year; and five years if in the second year.

University Senior Lectureships and Readerships: filling by open competition

University Senior Lectureships

10. In the past it has been possible to recruit the holders of senior academic positions at other institutions, for example Senior Lecturers and, occasionally Readers and Professors, to University Lectureships at Cambridge. This is becoming increasingly rare.

11. In paragraph 62 of their Report on the introduction of the office of University Senior Lectureship into the Cambridge structure for academic offices, and associated matters, the Board stated that it was in the long-term interest of the University to be able to establish Senior Lectureships to facilitate the recruitment of senior academic staff and also to enable appropriate adjustments to be made from time to time in the balance of the academic establishments of institutions.

12. Fifty-four authorities (including the Councils of the Schools) responded to the suggestion that it be made possible to fill University Senior Lectureships in this way. Of these, forty were in favour; eight were against; and six did not provide an unequivocally clear response. The favourable response indicates a clear consensus for change from the current policy of restricting appointment to University Senior Lectureship to the promotion route.

13. The Board accordingly propose that where University Senior Lectureships are established in Faculties or other institutions appointments should be made, as for University Lectureships, by the appropriate Appointments Committee, while appointments made through the single senior academic promotions procedure, approved by Grace 7 of 11 December 2002, should be made by the General Board in accordance with that procedure. Following the amendment to Statute D, XVIII, approved by Grace 7 of 11 December 2002, further amendment to the Statute is now necessary.

Readerships

14. Of the fifty-three authorities who responded to the proposal, forty-five favoured the General Board's suggestion that more be made of the practice of advertising and filling Readerships by open competition; four authorities were opposed, and four were equivocal. In the past, the General Board have established and advertised Readerships only very occasionally. The Statutes and Ordinances allow for this but the General Board's policy has for many years severely restricted appointment to Readerships on this basis, preferring that appointment should, in the very great majority of cases, be through the annual personal promotion scheme.

15. The Board do not favour extensive use being made of appointing to Readerships in this way; but they are of the view that the facility to establish and fill senior academic offices will assist particular Faculties and Departments in enhancing their research profile and thus maintaining the University's international pre-eminent reputation in research. The Board have in recent years regularly proposed the establishment of permanent and single-tenure Professorships for these reasons.

16. Statute D, XVI, 2 (The Readers) stipulates that when a Readership becomes vacant it shall lapse, unless on the recommendation of the General Board, with the approval of the Council, the University determines that it shall be continued. If a Readership is to be established on a permanent rather than on a single-tenure basis, this provision will require amendment.

17. The General Board expect that those who are appointed to Professorships and Readerships will have achieved international recognition in respect of their academic achievement and contribution; the Board, therefore, remain of the view that it would not be appropriate to make appointments to Readerships (and Professorships) subject to probation.

18. The criteria for appointment to a Readership would be consistent with the criteria for appointment through promotion, namely, clear evidence in relation to the first of the following fields, clear evidence in relation to one of the other two fields, and satisfactory evidence in relation to the other field:

(a) Research/scholarship

International recognition in the relevant subject with reference to each of:

(i) originality
(ii) contribution to the advancement of knowledge
(iii) reputation

(b) Teaching

An effective contribution to undergraduate and/or postgraduate teaching.

The teaching criterion will not apply to those officers whose duties do not include teaching or who have been dispensed from discharging teaching duties for a period of at least three years prior to the closing date for the submission of applications; in such cases there must be clear evidence of an effective general contribution (see below) to the subject other than in teaching and research.

(c) General contribution

An effective contribution to the subject other than in teaching and research. This may include administration and, where appropriate, management of research groups, and the creation and management of multi-institutional/national/international research facilities. It may also include contributions, other than teaching or research, to the subject made outside the University and also editorial work, and clinical work (if applicable).

Referees would be requested to comment on the candidature of applicants in relation to the criteria.

Other amendments to Statute D

19. As the recommendations of this Report contain proposals for the amendment of Statute D, the Board wish to take the opportunity afforded by the Report to recommend other changes to Statute D which, although minor, they consider to be desirable. These are set out below. The Board have considered the comments by Professor A. W. F. Edwards on the ordering of the Chapters in this Statute in the Discussion of their Report on the introduction of a single procedure for the consideration of applications for promotion to personal Professorships, Readerships, and University Senior Lectureships (Reporter, p. 328). However, they believe that a change would be inappropriate at this time for the reasons they gave in their response to these remarks (Reporter, p. 389). There are a number of other policy initiatives under consideration which, if approved, will require more extensive revision of Statute D. At that stage the Board will consider whether any reordering of Chapters is necessary.

(a) Statute D, XIV (The Professors), Statute D, XVII (University Lecturers), and Statute D, XVIII (University Senior Lecturers)
(i) Establishment of Professorships, Readerships, University Senior Lectureships, and University Lectureships in academic institutions other than Faculties and Departments

20. The Board believe that as a result of the increase in the number and the diversity of academic institutions in the University in recent years the current statutory requirement for establishing Professorships, Readerships, University Senior Lectureships, and University Lectureships in Faculties and Departments alone should be relaxed so as to make it possible to establish these offices in a teaching institution other than a Faculty or Department. Removal of this restriction will involve amendment of Statute D, XIV, 7; D, XVII; and D, XVIII.

21. There is no such explicit requirement in relation to Readerships; Statute D, XVI is silent on the matter but the regulations for Readers and Readerships (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 709) refer to appointments to Readerships being within the scope of a Faculty. The General Board recommend that these regulations be amended to make it clear that Readerships may be established in academic institutions other than only Faculties and Departments.

(ii) Joint Professorships

22. At present Statute D, XIV, 7 provides that each Professorship shall be assigned by the University to a Faculty or Department and that such assignment may be changed from time to time by Grace. There is also provision (Statute D, XV, 5) for the assignment to a particular Faculty or Department to be deferred until after the election and the particular interests of the Professor taken into account; in such cases the election is made by a specially constituted Board of Electors drawn from the institutions concerned. There is, however, no provision parallel to that for University Lectureships (Statute D, XVII, 4) under which the duties of a particular Professorship may be determined by the General Board to concern more than one Faculty or Department.

23. The absence of any formal provision for the establishment of joint Professorships has, on occasion, been an obstacle to securing the acceptance of an offer by an incoming Professor. It would appear that such arrangements are relatively commonplace in other universities. More recently, discussions with Heads of scientific and medical Departments have drawn attention to the need, in their view, for the University to be able to associate the holder of a particular Professorship formally with more than one University institution. As well as facilitating the recruitment of outstanding people, provision for joint assignment would give explicit recognition to the growing need for interdisciplinary collaboration, in fields such as bioinformatics and medical physics where an individual's research programme may straddle two or three Departments, and also ensure access to appropriate equipment and other facilities outside the 'home' Department. Equally importantly, the formation of cross-departmental research groups of research students and postdoctoral workers would greatly help the University's positioning to bid for external funds from the Research Councils and other bodies who are increasingly targeting funds at areas which transcend the University's departmental structures.

24. The General Board accordingly consider that it would be in the academic interest of the University to introduce an amendment to Statute D, XIV which would allow Professorships to be established on a basis which enabled duties to concern more than one University institution.

(iii) Place on scale of stipends on appointment

25. Statute D, XVII, 14 stipulates that the General Board, on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee concerned, shall determine a University's Lecturer's place on the scale of stipends on appointment. The policy for determining the place on scale on appointment was recently changed as a result of the approval by the Regent House of the Council and the General Board's proposals in their Report on new arrangements for determining the initial place on the scale of stipends on appointment in respect of non-clinical academic and academic-related offices and unestablished staff (Reporter, 2000-01, p. 811). The Board take the view that the involvement of Appointments Committees in the determination of starting salaries is cumbersome and unnecessary and that the process of setting stipend on appointment could be streamlined further by confining the process to the Head of the institution and the Personnel Division in cases which are straightforward. The arrangements described in the Report for addressing cases which are not straightforward, and which cannot be resolved through discussion or negotiation between officers of the Personnel Division and the Head of the institution, would remain unchanged, that is they would be referred to the Chair of the Personnel Committee, or the Personnel Committee if progress cannot be made. These changes would not affect the Board's or the Council's position as the ultimate authority for determining stipend/salary on appointment.

26. Accordingly, the Board have agreed to propose that the phrase 'on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee concerned' be deleted from Statute D, XVII, 14, and that in general, with the concurrence of the Council, Appointments Committees be removed from the process of determining stipend/salary on initial appointment.

27. A similar provision to the proposed amended version of Statute D, XVII, 14 should be introduced into Statute D, XVIII (University Senior Lectureships).

(b) Statute D, II, 6(b): the voting requirement laid on the Council and the General Board in respect of leave granted under Statute D, II, 6(b)

28. Statute D, II, 6(b) requires that if a University officer is to be granted a dispensation from carrying out his or her duties for a period of more than twelve months, the competent authority (i.e. the General Board or the Council, as the case may be), must vote to grant the leave; and that for the grant of leave to be valid there must be a concurrence of the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of that authority.

29. As a result of the increase in the number and range of leave policies in recent years, and the increasing number of cases brought to the General Board in particular for approval by voting at meetings of the Board (e.g. secondment leave, leave to accept prestigious Fellowships under competing national schemes) the Board, with the agreement of the Council, are of the view that it would be desirable if the periods in respect of which the voting requirement has to be exercised be increased from more than twelve months to five years or more.

(c) Statute D, XVII, 11: deductions from stipends

30. The opportunity is taken to remove from this Statute the reference to a deduction from a Lecturer's stipend in virtue of College duties. The deductions were halted following the approval by Grace 9 of 12 December 2001 of the recommendations of the Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on the relaxation of the restrictions on the holding of certain College offices and on the amount of College teaching that may be undertaken by Professors and Readers and academic-related officers (Reporter, 2000-01, p. 1010).

Recommendations

31. The Board accordingly recommend:

I. That the proposals contained in this Report be approved; that, subject to the approval of Her Majesty in Council, the Statutes of the University be amended as follows; and that the proposed amendments be submitted under the Common Seal of the University for the approval of Her Majesty in Council.

Statute D

THE UNIVERSITY OFFICERS

Chapter II

DUTIES AND LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Section 3.

By replacing in the second and third lines of this section the words 'University Lecturer, and University Assistant Lecturer,' by the words 'and University Lecturer,'

Section 6(b).

By replacing at each occurrence the words 'twelve months' by the words 'five years'.

Chapter XIV

THE PROFESSORS

Section 7.

By amending this section so as to read:

7. The University shall assign each Professorship to a Faculty or Department or other institution under the supervision of the General Board, as appropriate, and may change the assignment from time to time. Subject to the concurrence of the authorities concerned, the duties of a particular Professorship may concern such institutions as the General Board shall determine.

Chapter XV

ELECTIONS TO PROFESSORSHIPS

Section 4.

By inserting in line 1 after the words 'Faculty or Department,' the words 'or other institution under the supervision of the General Board,' and by inserting at the end of subsection (b) the same words.

Chapter XVI

THE READERS

Section 1.

By inserting after the word 'Readership' the words 'in institutions under the supervision of the General Board'.

Section 2.

By repealing this section.

Chapter XVII

UNIVERSITY LECTURERS

Section 1.

By inserting after the words 'Faculty or Department,' the words 'or other institution under the supervision of the General Board,'.

Section 2.

By amending the first sentence so as to read:

Every appointment or reappointment to an office of University Lecturer shall be made by the Appointments Committee constituted in accordance with section 3 below for the Faculty or Department or other institution in which the Lectureship is established or, if the General Board decides that the duties of a particular Lectureship concerned more than one institution, by a special Appointments Committee constituted in accordance with either section 4(a) or section 4(b) below, as the case may be.

Section 3.

By amending the section so as to read:

3. The Appointments Committee for a Faculty or Department or other institution under the supervision of the General Board, as the case may be, shall consist of:

(a) the Vice-Chancellor (or a duly appointed deputy) as Chairman;
(b) either (i) when the Lectureship is established in a Faculty, the Chairman of the Faculty Board;
or (ii) when the Lectureship is established in a Department, the Head of that Department;
or (iii) when the Lectureship is established in an institution independent of a Faculty or Department, the Head of the institution;
(c) three persons appointed by the Faculty Board or, in the case of a Lectureship established in a Department independent of any Faculty or an institution independent of any Department or Faculty, three persons appointed by the comparable authority concerned;
(d) two persons appointed by the General Board;

provided that the General Board shall have power to prescribe by Ordinance an alternative constitution for the Appointments Committee for a Department independent of any Faculty or for an institution independent of any Department or Faculty.

Section 4.

By replacing in line 2 the words 'Faculty or Department and specifies the institutions concerned' by the words 'institution and specifies the institution concerned';

by replacing in the first line of subsection (b) the words 'Faculty or Department' by the word 'institution';

by replacing in subsection (b)(iii) the words 'Head of each Department' by the words 'Head of each Department or other institution';

by deleting from subsection (b)(iv) the words 'whether a Faculty or a Department within a Faculty or a Department independent of any Faculty,'.

Section 5(a).

By replacing in line 4 the words 'Faculties or Departments' by the word 'institutions'.

Section 8.

By replacing in line 2 the words 'Faculty or Department' by the word 'institution'.

Section 11.

By deleting in lines 5-6 the words 'in virtue of which a deduction is being made from the Lecturer's University stipend'.

Section 14.

By deleting from lines 1 and 2 the words ', on the recommendation of the Appointments Committee concerned,'.

Chapter XVIII

UNIVERSITY SENIOR LECTURERS

Section 1.

By amending this section so as read:

1. There shall be such number of University Senior Lectureships in each Faculty or Department or other institution under the supervision of the General Board as may from time to time be determined by the General Board.

Section 2.

By repealing this section.

By inserting the following new section 6:

6. When there is an incremental scale of prime stipends the General Board shall determine a University Senior Lecturer's place on the scale on appointment. If a revised scale of stipends is approved by the University, it shall be competent for the General Board to alter a University Senior Lecturer's place on the scale in accordance with the objects and conditions of the revision.

Chapter XIX

UNIVERSITY ASSISTANT LECTURERS

By repealing this Chapter.

Chapter XX

ASSOCIATE LECTURERS

By renumbering Chapter XX as Chapter XIX.

II. That, subject to the approval of Recommendation I, the office of University Assistant Lecturer be removed from Schedule J with effect from the date on which the amendments to the Statutes proposed in Recommendation I take effect.

III. That the regulations for Readers and Readerships (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 709) be amended as follows:

Regulation 1.

1. Save as provided in Regulation 4,

(a) every appointment to a Readership of which the work falls preponderantly within the scope of one Faculty or Department or other institution under the supervision of the General Board shall be made by a Committee consisting of the members of the Appointments Committee for the institution concerned and two persons appointed by the General Board for the particular occasion, unless a special appointing body has been constituted in the Report proposing the creation of the Readership;
(b) every appointment to a Readership of which the work does not fall preponderantly within the scope of any one Faculty or Department or other institution under the supervision of the General Board shall be made by a special appointing body constituted as follows: an Appointments Committee constituted in accordance with the provisions of Statute D, XVII, 4 and two persons appointed by the General Board for the particular occasion.

IV. That, if Recommendation I is approved, the regulations for University Senior Lecturers (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 710) be amended, with effect from the date on which the amendments of Statutes proposed in Recommendation I take effect, so as to read:

University Senior Lecturers

Appointments and reappointments to the office of University Senior Lecturer shall be made by the Appointments Committee for the Faculty or Department or other institution concerned, in accordance with the provisions of Statute D, XVII, 3-7 for University Lecturers, provided that, where an appointment is made through promotion, the appointment shall be made by the General Board.

19 February 2003ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-ChancellorANDREW CLIFFA. C. MINSON
 MARTIN BOBROWM. J. DAUNTONKATE PRETTY
 N. O. A. BULLOCKMALCOLM GRANTM. SCHOFIELD
 H. A. CHASE S. LEATON GRAY S. J. YOUNG
 KATIE CHILDSD. MACDONALD 


< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

Cambridge University Reporter, 26 February 2003
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.