Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6509

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Vol cxlviii No 33

pp. 661–688

Report of Discussion

Tuesday 29 May 2018

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Deputy Vice‑Chancellor Lord Eatwell was presiding, with the Registrary’s deputy, the Senior Pro-Proctor, the Junior Pro‑Proctor, and nine other persons present.

The following Report was discussed:

Report of the General Board, dated 2 May 2018, on arrangements for senior academic promotions

(Reporter, 6505, 2017–18, p. 556).

Professor E. V. Ferran (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this Report proposes the first steps towards implementing a new Academic Career Pathway Scheme aligned to academic titles, which is intended to replace the Senior Academic Promotions Scheme and current probationary arrangements.

This work is being undertaken as part of the People Strategy. The proposals for change have arisen further to the recommendations of a Working Group formed in 2016 to review the University’s current arrangements for academic promotion and probation. They also reflect feedback given during two consultation exercises with Schools and departments.

The current Report covers the first stage of the changes towards the new Academic Career Pathway Scheme. If this Report is approved, these changes will take effect by way of incorporation into the existing Senior Academic Promotions Scheme for 2019. The main proposed changes are:

revising the weighting of the evaluative criteria for Professorship and Readership applications to place more emphasis on teaching excellence, with flexibility in exceptional circumstances to adjust the scores between the research and teaching or general contribution criteria;

maintaining the three-tier Committee structure but balancing this with a more streamlined and simplified process;

updating the equality and diversity guidance, and offering new training and development to reinforce the University’s commitment to increasing the number of women, BME staff, and other underrepresented groups in senior academic offices; and

revising the key principles underpinning the Scheme.

The consultation exercises indicated broad support for these changes.

Looking ahead, and subject to further consultation on a limited number of unresolved issues, the Academic Career Pathway Scheme is expected fully to replace the Senior Academic Promotions Scheme from 2020. Academic probation will be incorporated into the new Scheme. Once the Scheme is fully implemented, the expectation is that the criteria for academic excellence will act as a ‘golden thread’ running through the academic probation and promotion processes.

When the Academic Career Pathway Scheme is finalized, a review exercise will be conducted to align the Senior Research Promotions Scheme with the new model for academic progression. Finalization of the Academic Career Pathway Scheme will also pave the way for the long-awaited review of the career progression of teaching-only staff.

I strongly support this proposal as the first stage towards adopting a model that will allow the University to take forward academic career progression using a more streamlined, transparent approach, underpinned by principles that emphasize fairness and inclusion, and that will also enable the extension of this approach to research and teaching-only staff.

Dr S. J. Cowley (University Council and Faculty of Mathematics):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am a member of the Council and the Human Resources (HR) Committee, but I speak in a personal capacity. As a Senior Lecturer I have a conflict of interest as I am eligible to apply for promotion.

While there is much to be welcomed in this Report (and, indeed, I supported the general tenor of the Report at the HR Committee), there are two issues that I would like to raise.

First, despite the claim that the changes ‘will represent a new beginning in how the University recognizes excellence in teaching’, to me this is a case of opportunity lost. As noted in the Report, the proposed level of flexibility in the weighting of research, teaching, and general contribution is not as extensive as was recommended by the original Working Group. The reasons for watering down that proposal are given as:

being too complex to operate;

and placing a [too] heavy load on Heads of Institution (HoIs).

However, in an institution such as ours brimming with talent, if there was a will surely a way of making it operate would have been found. As to a heavy load on HoIs, I accept that responsibilities have been heaped on them in recent years, hence the current consultation on the role of HoIs. However, the development of academic staff is surely one of the most important roles of a HoI, and if this particular load is too heavy, then why not reduce or devolve some other parts of the bureaucracy?

A more honest reason for the dilution of the flexibility might be found in the consultation response of the Faculty of Mathematics:

The Faculty does not agree with changing the scoring to 50:30:20 from 60:20:20 as this reduces the value of research from 60% of the total marks available to 50%.

A response that, I might note in passing, was not formally approved by members of the Faculty Board of Mathematics (of which I am one), nor, to the best of my knowledge, has the response been circulated to the Board as of this morning.

In case I am misunderstood, let me be clear that I agree that the reputation of the University, particularly its international reputation, primarily stands or falls by the quality of its research. However, the role and importance of teaching has been steadily devalued whilst I have been a member of the University, and in many respects this is understandable. Since 2002 the number of academic staff has increased from 1,514 to 1,633, an increase of 8% (all my numbers come from the Reporter). Over the same period:

the number of undergraduates whom they teach has increased by 2%;

the number of postgraduates whom they teach and supervise has increased by 34%;

the number of research staff for whom they first write research grants, and with whom they then collaborate, has increased by 89%.

For comparison, the number of assistant staff has increased by 28% and the number of academic-related staff has increased by 131%.

In such circumstances, something has had to give. Recently the Faculty of Mathematics determined that only about 30% of the University Teaching Officers (UTOs) were giving undergraduate supervisions, at an average of just over 40 hours a year. At a meeting of Directors of Studies in Mathematics held last November, about 20% of those attending were UTOs; this compares with nearly 60% from two decades ago. My conclusion is that increasingly UTOs just do not have the time, if not the will, to devote to teaching.

Moreover, whereas two or more decades ago UTOs started life at the bottom of the University Assistant Lecturer scale (as I did), this then changed to the bottom of the University Lecturer scale, then to the top of the scale (as stipends failed to keep up with inflation), and now increasingly UTOs start at the top of the scale with market pay and/or an advanced contribution supplement (sometimes sufficient to take them up to the lower steps of the professorial scale, or more). Further, at least in theory, such supplements can terminate after five years if the UTO concerned has not been promoted. The bottom line is that the best interests of newly appointed UTOs are served by concentrating almost exclusively on their research (with promotion in mind); moreover, this aligns with the interests of HoIs as regards the REF. My experience is that the TEF is held in far less fear.

The University may pay lip service to excellence in teaching, but its incentive structure, possibly for good reason, is not aligned. Therefore, it is not surprising that at the recent Teaching Forum, of over 190 delegates only 11, i.e. about 6%, were Professors (and two of those were the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education).

Professor Parker and his Working Group proposed a level of flexibility in the weighting of research, teaching, and general contribution for good reason. Did the proposals need tuning? Probably yes. Did they deserve to be watered down to the extent that they have been? Not, in my opinion, if the University values teaching.

My second point concerns the proposal in the Report that:

The General Board would have the discretion to make changes to the ACP Scheme processes set out above as it deemed necessary, provided that those changes were in line with the Key Principles, and made in the light of experience, for the effective running of future ACP Scheme rounds.

Yes, the General Board should have discretion to make minor changes, announced by Notice. However, anything other than a minor change should be the subject of a Report. In my recent experience, too often Statues and Ordinances have been interpreted legalistically, rather than in the spirit of the Report initiating them; 50-member Graces being a case in point.

Dr A. L. du Bois-Pedain (Faculty of Law and Magdalene College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I come from a Faculty where, of the tiny number of staff promoted to a Professorship in the last three promotion rounds, two were already well over the age of 60. Since they were promoted, we have had a glimpse of what their careers could have been, had they been promoted a decade earlier. One immediately became a magnet for prospective research students, the other for international research collaborations. Both will have to retire before their increased reach and international presence can fully flourish.

Such ‘sunset promotions’ are no rarity across the University. They are a sign that staff are not promoted when they should be. Promotions happen too late for people to be able to maximize their career value. This harms the institution as much as it harms the individuals concerned.

I am a mid-career academic and the career trajectories of my colleagues are a warning to me. I can see no reason why what has happened to them won’t happen to me. Indeed, I am still waiting to be promoted to the academic office for which I first applied five years ago, already in that first application round scoring in the top band of the research component for promotion to this office, and in the top and second-top bands in the two others.

The root cause for the failure of the Senior Academic Promotions process has, in my view, less to do with the criteria for promotion that are being used than it has to do with the absence of a commitment by this University to promote all its deserving staff members when they are ready to be promoted. Distinctions drawn between applicants within the top field are spurious and often enough implausible, especially when comparisons are drawn between Faculties.

Finances should no longer be used as an excuse to persevere with an unjustifiable system of home-made scarcity. The difference in annual income between what someone currently earns in the top rung of a University Senior Lectureship, and the bottom rung of a Readership, is less than £4,000 per year. Against this backdrop, it is absurd to suggest that this University is unable to afford promoting its academic staff when they deserve to be promoted. It would be alone among leading universities if this were true.

As regards the proposals for reform, I welcome the intention to abolish promotion to University Senior Lectureship, replacing this step with an automatic progression. Beyond the intended abolition of promotion to Senior Lectureships, however, the new Academic Career Pathway model increases rather than ameliorates my concerns. In increasing the weighting of teaching and academic contribution for what are still meant to remain research-led promotions, we are giving greater weight to criteria that external referees will not be able to comment on. This exposes applicants to an increased risk of having their applications massaged in one direction or another at departmental levels, in ways that are not accountable or comparable between Faculties. It also exposes those with significant research grants that come with shorter periods of partial teaching buy-outs to a risk that their applications will be scored less favourably than they would currently be.

Ms S. C. Mentchen (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Magdalene College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am a Senior Language Teaching Officer in German, in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). I am speaking with the support of the two co-Chairs of the MML Faculty Board and my colleagues in MML. Like all my Language Teaching Officer (LTO) colleagues, I am in the middle of examining Tripos papers. I set Tripos papers, I teach Tripos papers, I design the curriculum, I train and mentor new colleagues. I serve on appointment panels for new LTOs. I have been on my Faculty’s Board for many years, I am currently the Director of Outreach and Schools Liaison for my Faculty. I am also a Fellow at Magdalene College, where I am Director of Studies and Tutor, and I have served as Admissions Tutor. I list all these offices to put the description of my post as ‘academic-related’, and my remarks, into context.

In its Report of 2 May 2018, on arrangements for senior academic promotions,1 the General Board reports on the Academic Career Pathway (ACP) which will replace the Senior Academic Promotions Scheme (SAP), in 2019. The General Board says that the new scheme ‘will respond to concerns’ and then lists reasons why the current scheme is not fit for purpose. Under point 4(k) we read:

There was no progression path for other academic roles such as teaching- and research-focused roles. A revised process could provide a career path for these roles, as provided by many Russell Group universities.

Even though this was recognized, such ‘other academic roles’ are only mentioned again under point 12, which is described as ‘going beyond the proposals already outlined’, and which deal with promotions for Professors, Readers, and Senior Lecturers. It says:

In addition, work will also continue on the development of a career progression scheme for senior teaching-only staff.

Even if this is not the intended interpretation, this reads very much like an afterthought.

How did we get here? In its Report of 2 July 2014, the General Board recommended the establishing of Lectureships and Senior Lectureships with a focus on teaching.2 At that time, this included colleagues in language teaching explicitly. This recommendation had come after consultations of all relevant Faculties and Schools. It seems therefore that we are going backwards, at least where colleagues with teaching-only contracts are concerned.

In October 2014, strong support was expressed for the creation of such posts (and thereby of the creation of a career pathway) by the then Chair of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, Professor Ian Roberts, who had the support of the Chairs of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Classics, respectively.3

In 2015, the General Board ‘regret[s] the delay’ of the implementation of its recommendations.4 Part of the reason for this delay was the establishment of a Working Group, set up to look into language teaching across the School of Arts and Humanities. Again, my colleagues and I were assessed and reviewed. One of the recommendations of this Working Group, of which I was a member, was:

Given the difficulty of fitting language teaching posts into the existing categories the Group recommends that the University gives consideration as to whether it might be desirable, in the longer term, to create a third category of post which allows for those who are involved in Teaching and Scholarship. Further, the Group recommends that should the wider working group propose a career path for teaching, this decision should not prejudice any future recommendations regarding different contract types e.g. teaching only contracts.5

Hope rested with this ‘wider working group’, which now, at the very end of its report, states that ‘work will continue’! It is very dispiriting to be told time and again that the University is looking into the issue of promotion. To us, it appears very much like we are stuck.

In 2014, Professor Roberts said that he hoped that the matter could be resolved ‘during the period of tenure of the current post-holders’. By the end of this academical year, two colleagues in MML will have retired.


Mr F. G. G. Basso (Faculty of Classics), read by Ms S. C. Mentchen:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the last sentence of the Report of the General Board on arrangements for senior academic promotions reads:1

In addition, work will also continue on the development of a career progression scheme for senior teaching-only staff.

It is not clear what the phrase ‘senior teaching-only staff’ is supposed to mean. What is clear is that the statement is little more than an afterthought and that it makes it painfully evident that no detailed thought has been given to the issue. This is extremely disappointing.

A Report of the General Board of 2 July 20142 provided a detailed review and a comprehensive criticism of the lack of career structure for teaching-only staff and recommended the establishment of the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching).

A comprehensive 'Review of Language Teaching Arrangements', undertaken by the Council of the School of Arts and Humanities as a result of the Report of the General Board of 2 July 2014 and published in August 2015, endorsed both the General Board proposal for the creation of 'Lectureships (Teaching)' and 'Senior Lectureship (Teaching)' as appropriate for Language Teaching Officers in the School, and the proposal that holders of these posts should be eligible for the SAP (according to appropriately modified criteria).

Following the review in the School of Arts and Humanities, a Notice of the General Board of 27 July 2015 stated:3

The General Board, on the advice of the Human Resources Committee, have agreed that the recommendations of that review cannot be considered in isolation, but should be taken into account as part of a review of the academic career structure about which the central bodies, through the HR Committee, will consult in due course. The Board regret the delay that this will entail in the implementation of their original proposals and those recommended by the review initiated by the Council of the School. [emphasis added]

Despite the fact that the Report of the General Board of 2 July 2014 approached the lack of career structure for 'teaching only' as an issue in need of urgent attention, and recommended widening the SAP criteria to include 'teaching only' staff, it now appears that the 'central bodies' and 'the HR Committee' referred to in the last communication of the General Board on this matter have simply chosen to postpone the issue yet again.

By failing even to mention the Report of the General Board of 2 July 2014 on the establishment of the University offices of Lecturer (teaching) and Senior Lecturer (teaching) and replacing it instead with a vague phrase on ‘the development of a career progression scheme for senior teaching-only staff’ the proposed Report of the General Board on arrangements for senior academic promotions represents an unacceptable step backwards.

It is simply disheartening to the Language Teaching Officers in the Faculty of Classics that the ‘Academic Career Paths’ proposals should have failed to uphold the statement made by the General Board in its Notice of 27 July 2015. Almost three years later, the final sentence of that statement:

The Board regret the delay that this will entail in the implementation of their original proposals and those recommended by the review initiated by the Council of the School

reads as mockery.


Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by the Senior Pro-Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, that the Regent House should approve ‘Talent Management’ in the University of Cambridge would once have seemed improbable, but I expect it will. Yet the Cambridge promotions process remains competitive. That creates a profound mismatch between the promise of a benevolent and helpful monitoring of the ‘development’ of academic staff along an Academic Career Pathway from Probation to Professorship, and the awkward fact that because the process is competitive ‘deserving’ is not enough to take anyone further along that pathway once safely past the period of probation.

This anomaly was resolved for a few years in the course of the recent Cambridge history of Senior Academic Promotions. In the autumn of 1994, a Discussion was called on a Topic of Concern. At that Discussion it was pointed out that ‘the artificial constraint on the number of promotions is financial’.1 Further calls followed for this to end. By 1999 it was conceded that the money had to be found to catch up on the waiting queue of the deserving:

The General Board have agreed that personal promotions should be primarily determined by the assessment of academic merit, without budgetary restriction. If necessary the Council will ensure that funds are available to meet the additional cost of promotions recommended by the Board.2

How that came about, with links to the series of calls and protests, may be read in the report of my own remarks, in the Reporter of 16 June 1999.3 The principle that all who deserved it should be promoted was honoured for several years and then dropped in a return to ‘competition’ via the Report on Allocations from the Chest for 2006–07, which stated that:

£0.6m has been budgeted for short-term transitional costs of promotions and regradings for all categories of staff.4

That particular tension is less in Oxford where there is ‘recognition of distinction’ not ‘promotion’, though the award of the title of full Professor carries a salary rise.

The General Board’s Working Party behind the Report we are discussing recognized a need to compare notes with other universities:

academic titles needed to be reviewed to ensure they described the broad range of the roles and took into account those used by peer institutions.

But it does not say what it made of any comparison with Oxford. Oxford opens the way to that title to a far wider range of its academics. In Cambridge there is merely a promise to revisit the question of the ‘Talent Management’ of academics currently not eligible:

Broadening the scope to include the Senior Researcher Promotions (SRP) scheme will be reviewed once there is an agreed way forward for the senior academic promotions scheme.5

What of the often-expressed fears about the exercise of patronage? In the years of Discussions of proposals for reform of the Cambridge promotions procedures last time round, concern was expressed about the behaviour of the ‘local barons’. When the proposal to create a single procedure to be used for applications for Senior Lectureships as well as Readerships and Professorships was discussed on 12 November 2002, Professor Dumville put the concern powerfully:

These proposals constitute a barons' charter. But they are unlikely to be remembered as this University’s Magna Carta. Rather, they give a green light for Heads of institutions to exercise or to withhold patronage. Those of us who have experienced great changes in our circumstances arising from the succession of a new Head of Department or the megalomaniacal rush of blood to the head of an existing superior or the decision of a senior colleague to begin a campaign of bullying or vilification will know all too well what the changes proposed here must portend.6

The difficulty is to design a procedure which such ‘barons’ and any exercise of patronage cannot subvert. It has probably passed from the memories of many now eligible for promotion in Cambridge that there was a time when there was no procedure at all. Professor Dumville described what used to happen in those bad old days:

A professorial colleague, with whom I had a conversation a few days ago, was reminded by this Report of the time when he first attended a Faculty Committee dealing with promotions, when not a sheet of paper was to be seen in the room and the fates of individuals were wilfully decided.7

That practice had been brought to an end when the High Court held that something more was needed, a transparent procedure which would ensure that the General Board, formally the decision-maker, had not merely approved 'baronial' choices. What was needed, the judgement said, was that:8

without repeating the entire onerous exercise undertaken by the committee the [General] Board could see how it had arrived at its recommendations and either approve them or seek, if it wished, to consider the basis upon which one or more of them had been reached.9

To that end the University would need, it added:

to ensure that the Board has in digestible form the evaluations upon which the recommendations of the committee are based, curing the problem of over-delegation; and it is likely to be in a position to tell candidates, using the same evaluation format, the reasons for the judgement reached by the committee upon them.10

Words from that judgement have always been quoted down the years since, in the Report of the outcomes of the Senior Academic Promotions process.11 The Report of 2017, for example, still states that:

The Board was able to see how recommendations had been arrived at so that, without repeating the entire exercise, it could either approve the recommendations or, if it so wished, consider the basis on which any of the recommendations had been made.12

But in the present Report we read that the Working Group concluded that this did not seem to be the reality:

The current promotions guidance set out evidence to be provided but included only limited information on the assessment criteria. This meant that the S[enior] A[cademic] P[romotions] Scheme lacked transparency in that it was not clear how decisions were made. It would be helpful if evaluative criteria were developed to define academic excellence for each office which were applied consistently in probation and progression processes.

This suggests that progress has not been as enduring as the High Court had hoped.

In any case, Professor Dumville was not convinced that adding ‘plenty of paper’ would mend the problem of the ‘local barons’:

Repeatedly through this Report, the would-be applicant is reminded of the necessity to consult his Head of institution or another senior colleague before making an application.13

That appears to be recommended still in the present Report, for the Working Party found that:

Eligible academics did not always seek appropriate advice before applying, as provided for in the SAP guidance.

Can it be assumed that every possible candidate may go confidently to the local baron for a steer?

Since the last time the University of Cambridge grappled with the 'academic promotions' problem two decades ago, requirements and priorities have changed. Senior Lectureships have been introduced; the balance between research, teaching, and general contribution has been revisited; 'equality and diversity' has become a high profile issue, to the point where I see it is proposed to ensure equal numbers of both sexes on some decision-making bodies on the assumption that that will make things fairer. That could prove tricky if individuals are going to be allowed to declare a change of gender at will, but in any case it is surely a dangerous doctrine to assume that a member of a 'category' alleged to be under-represented will (or should) promote the interests of that category?

One thing has certainly not changed. Academics in Cambridge will still have to compete with one another for promotion and they will still in reality be at the mercy of those local barons. I hope the generations now seeking to progress along that Academic Career Pathway will help design a system where that will not be a risk.

Professor G. J. Virgo (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education), read by the Junior Pro-Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in my capacity as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, I am pleased to recommend approval of this Report concerning arrangements for senior academic promotion.

The proposals in this Report include enhancing the weighting for teaching contribution when evaluating promotion applications. This reflects a greater recognition by the University of the vital importance of contribution to and excellence in teaching and learning support within the collegiate University as a key component in fulfilling the University’s mission. This increased emphasis on teaching excellence will be taken forward with the further evolution of the Academic Career Paths Scheme and with the expected review of the career progression of teaching-only staff.

Professor P. B. Jones (School of Clinical Medicine), read by the Junior Pro-Proctor:

As a member of the Academic Career Paths Working Group and a member of the Regent House I support the proposals set out in this Report concerning amended arrangements for senior academic promotions. These new arrangements are important steps towards implementing the new Academic Career Pathway model that seeks to address concerns with the current promotions and probationary schemes. Having been a Head of Department, a member and Chair of a Faculty Promotions Committee, and a member of a Promotions Sub-Committee I am aware that, under the current arrangements, applicants can be unclear about the criteria against which their cases are assessed.

I welcome the move towards defining criteria for academic excellence. This will lead to greater transparency for candidates regardless of whether their particular strengths lie in research, education, or a combination of these academic activities.

The proposal to introduce separate promotions committees for the School of Clinical Medicine and the School of the Biological Sciences is welcome. Unlike other Schools they have operated for many years as a combined committee. I also support the proposal to follow a career development process, with clear guidance and constructive feedback at each stage. This aligns with the arrangements currently operated in the School of Clinical Medicine.

Finally, I believe that adopting the proposals that are based on principles of fairness and inclusion would be a very positive move for the University.

Dr C. Gagne (Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Churchill College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am a Senior Language Teaching Officer in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). I am also a Fellow of Churchill College where I hold an academic fellowship and where I have been Director of Studies for Modern Languages. I am not currently Director of Studies but I will be next year. I design and teach courses which are an integral part of the MML Tripos. I also examine for those papers. I have also in the past taught and examined for what in MML parlance we call ‘scheduled papers’. Over the twenty years I have been working for this University, I have been a member of various Faculty committees: Faculty Board, Undergraduate Studies Committee, CALL Committee, which as CALL Director I have been chairing for the last ten years. I have been involved in various outreach and access events, Open Days, and residential courses. Yet, in spite of the nature of my work, my post is not categorized by our University as ‘academic’ but as ‘academic-related’, in the same way as administrative staff. While I understand that my position does not require that I do research, I nonetheless find this anomalous.

Another puzzling fact about being a Language Teaching Officer is that there is no natural progression from Language Teaching Officer to Senior Language Teaching Officer, nor indeed beyond that. Any Language Teaching Officer who wishes to become senior has to go through a regrading process. I have gone through this process myself, as have some of my colleagues in MML. It is a long, stressful, and arduous process. Had it not been for the strong support of my then Head of Department, who took decisive action so that I could be regraded, the process might have taken longer, and might not have had a successful outcome.

In July 2014, the creation of teaching-only lectureships was put forward by the University.1 Myself and other colleagues in my Faculty saw this as a very positive prospect, as it meant that the University might at long last recognize our contribution as ‘academic’. More importantly, the new scheme also meant that career progression might become a reality. Other Language Teaching Officers in MML and myself approached our Chair of Faculty, Professor Ian Roberts, who unequivocally gave us his support and read an extremely supportive statement in this very room in autumn 2014.2

As a result of the discussion we had kick-started, the School our Faculty belongs to decided to launch a Working Group to look into this issue more closely. Language Teaching Officers were consulted: we had to account for what we do, and our contribution to the good running of our Faculty was scrutinized to a high level of detail. The Working Group produced a report in spring 2015 that reiterated the fact that should teaching-only Lectureships be created, Language Teaching Officers should be considered for the scheme. Subsequently to this, the School created yet another Working Party with different and yet similar terms of reference. This process involved regrading all language teaching posts across the School (Language Teaching Officers as well as hourly-paid staff and people on other grades). The central objective of the Working Group was to increase comparability between those on the same salary grade. Language Teaching Officers had to produce CVs and once again their work was scrutinized by colleagues who hold different posts (UTOs mostly). This process was scheduled over several months (summer, autumn, and winter of 2017); the outcome of the process was in the spring of this year. This was a particularly stressful process as it involved the possibility of being downgraded to a lower salary grade. The Group agreed that Language Teaching Officers do not naturally fit into an academic-related contract, and that should teaching-only Lectureships be created, Language Teaching Officers should be part of that scheme.

At a time when the University is considering academic career paths, I would urge the University to recognize the academic nature of the work I and my colleagues do. I would also urge the University to extend the proposed Academic Career Pathway model to all Teaching Officers. Language Teaching Officers currently have no career path whatsoever; not only is it unfair on those already in post but it also has a negative impact on recruitment. For the last four years we have been told that this matter would not be ‘kicked into the long grass’; evidence to the contrary remains to be seen. At a time when the University is about to launch its festival of wellbeing, I would also like to point out that there is great review fatigue amongst Language Teaching Officers. In my view, having one’s work probed to the level we have experienced in the last four years would be detrimental to anyone’s wellbeing. What we need is not yet another review and more discussions; what we need is action.