Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Faculty Promotions FAQ

Page Updated: 17th April 2024

Below, you will find Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Faculty Promotions process, including topics on:

  • Development Framework for Faculty
  • Timelines
  • Preparing Your Application
  • Application Commentaries
  • External Assessors
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Oral Feedback & Appeals. 

Development Framework for Faculty:

Yes. A revised Development Framework for Faculty came into effect on 1st September 2022.

If your application for promotion was submitted to HR by 31st August 2022 it will be assessed against the current Development Framework for Faculty.  Any application submitted on or after 1st September 2022 will be assessed against the revised Framework.

Applications that were with commentators on 1st September 2022 will be assessed against the new Development Framework for Faculty. Only applications that have been submitted to HR by 31st August 2022 will be assessed against the old Development Framework for Faculty.

The changes in the revised Development Framework for Faculty are intended to better support faculty preparing applications for promotion with additional indicators provided in several dimensions.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Under Research, Scholarship and Innovation, the introduction of a new ‘Research Culture’ dimension. The Innovation and Impact dimensions have been combined as an ‘Innovation and Impact’ dimension.
  • Under Teaching and Learning, there have been significant revisions to better outline the types of indicators faculty may draw on when preparing applications for promotion, particularly where a faculty member’s strengths may be in this category.
  • Under the Leadership and Contribution category, further clarity has been provided under the Professional/Clinical dimension.

The Faculty Promotions Committee will assess applications against the appropriate Development Framework for Faculty based on the ‘submitted to HR’ date.

No. Faculty members applying for promotion are not expected to have engaged in all the indicators listed in the framework but are expected in the aggregate to demonstrate that they meet the standard for promotion to which they are applying.

On 1st September 2022, the Infohub System was updated so that 'Innovation and Impact' appears as one dimension within the Statement of Achievements. For applications not submitted to HR by 31st August 2022, text that was inserted into the 'Impact' box from the previous framework remains in the relabelled 'Innovation and Impact' box. Text in the previous 'Innovation' box will not remain. As always, it is essential that candidates back up applications in another document such as Microsoft Word or Google Sheets etc. 


Currently it is taking, on average, between 9 and 12 months to process an application for promotion from the time it is submitted by you to HR, following the completion of commentaries. This is due to an increase in the number of applications received during the Covid-19 pandemic and due to high volumes of applications submitted within short time frames, which impacts how quickly an application can move through the process.

The FPC is meeting approximately 10 times per year between September and June and has increased the length of its meetings to manage the increase in applications.

No, the FPC will not be scheduling additional meetings. All Committee members are Full Professors who serve on the Committee on a voluntary basis. The Committee is working at full capacity to deal with the increase in applications, together with their normal duties to attend to and whatever challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has created for them personally.

Applications cannot be updated after they have been submitted to HR. The only way to update an application is to cancel it and resubmit noting that the new application will be reviewed based on the new date of submission to HR.

Preparing Your Application:

Faculty considering applying for promotion should attend a candidate workshop to receive an overview of the promotions process and the various steps in it. Candidates should also discuss applications with their Head of School and other colleagues who may provide advice and feedback in relation to their application.

The candidate workshops are scheduled three times per year, usually late September/early October, late January/early February and May. Faculty who are considering applying for promotion are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop. Booking for workshops can be made via the UCD HR People and Organisation Development page.  The online booking system is linked within the Course Catalogue A to Z under F: Faculty Promotion Workshop. 

Faculty can assess their current position on the framework across the various dimensions. The framework has been developed on the basis that all Faculty including Lecturers/Assistant Professors are expected to be working, at a minimum, at the level of satisfactory achievement across each of the dimensions listed.  Taken in the round, with due consideration for disciplinary norms, Associate Professors are expected to be working at the level of substantial achievement, Professors at the level of outstanding achievement and Full Professors at the level of exceptional achievement. It is not expected that faculty at higher grades would necessarily be working at levels of substantial, outstanding or exceptional achievement across all dimensions but that activity at a higher level in one area would balance against less activity in another dimension.

No. Although the indicators under ‘Satisfactory’ describe the minimum acceptable level of performance across all areas for all Faculty, your case for promotion will rely on showing that your overall performance is at the level required for promotion by providing a significant number of indicators of that level of performance. The example indicators in the Development Framework are a guide as to what constitutes ‘Substantial’, ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Exceptional’ performance in each area.

Consideration is given to any personal, caring or non-academic circumstances that are brought to the attention of the Committee, which may have impacted on performance and candidates are strongly encouraged to provide this information in their application. The Faculty Promotions Committee takes into account the impact that such circumstances can have on the quantity of the outputs of a candidate under the criteria for promotion but expects the same standard in terms of the quality of the outputs.

The Faculty Promotions Committee recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated government restrictions have impacted faculty in many different ways and to different extents depending on personal circumstance and discipline. The Committee recognises that there may be a reduction in the outputs of a candidate under the criteria for promotion but would not expect any reduction in the quality of these outputs. . The Faculty Promotions Committee considers the individual circumstances as presented by the candidate and encourages candidates to share any information in relation to how their circumstances were impacted by COVID-19.

Yes. If a candidate wishes to withdraw their application for promotion they should email (opens in a new window)promotions@ucd.ie specifying that they wish to do so. Once the application has been withdrawn the HR Promotions and Grading office will notify the candidate that this has been done.

There are ten faculty members on the Faculty Promotions Committee. The membership of the Faculty Promotions Committee is available on the main Faculty Promotions webpage under ‘Faculty Promotions Committee Membership’

Yes. There must be at least 7 members of the Faculty Promotions Committee, with at least 2 members of each gender, at each meeting of the Faculty Promotions Committee. Not only must the meeting itself be quorate but the assessment of each application must also have a minimum quorum of 7 to assess the application. If a meeting is quorate but there is not a quorum for an individual application due to a conflict of interest then the application is moved to the next meeting’s agenda.

The Faculty Promotions Committee primarily considers the candidate’s application against the Development Framework for Faculty. In addition, the Faculty Promotions Committee considers, but is not bound by, the following:

●       The commentaries by the Head of School and College Principal

●       The External Assessors reports (where a prima facie case has been established)

Application Commentaries:

The purpose of the Head of School commentary is to provide additional context to assist the Faculty Promotions Committee in making a recommendation in relation to an application for promotion.

The Head of School commentary is neither a reference nor a recommendation. The Head of School should not advocate on behalf of the candidate nor provide a judgement on whether the candidate should be promoted.

The candidate will be able to see and reply to the Head of School’s commentary.  Further response from the Head of School is not required.  

The commentary should cover topics such as workload, module coordination, administration, committee membership and any caring responsibilities that the candidate has highlighted so that this can be taken into consideration during the faculty promotions assessment process. The Head of School commentary should include verification of the candidate’s achievements based on the evidence provided by the candidate in their application. Finally, the Head of School's commentary should provide information on School context and disciplinary norms.

In providing a commentary on a candidate’s application, the Head of School should consult with senior colleagues as appropriate. Senior colleagues are considered those who hold a higher position than the candidate, preferably at Full Professor Level.  In scenarios where faculty may hold a joint appointment between two schools or a leadership role elsewhere in the University, the Head of School should ensure that they liaise with the other Head of School and/or senior faculty as appropriate. When asking senior colleagues for comments on the candidate’s achievements, prior to providing their commentary, the Head of School should be aware of any potential conflict of interest and ensure that the information gained is relevant to the promotion application.

The College Principal’s role when providing a commentary on a candidate’s application for promotion is to endorse the commentary from the Head of School or when necessary add additional context to that commentary.  The College Principal should also, where applicable, comment on any work undertaken by the candidate within the College.

(opens in a new window)External Assessors:

External Assessors should be leaders in the discipline and should be from Universities that have a similar or better ranking than UCD. In some circumstances an External Assessor may be nominated from a lower ranked institution if the Assessor is the expert in the discipline. Candidates and Commentators should try to have a gender balance and geographical spread in the assessors being nominated, where possible and outside Ireland. Candidates should use the box on the external assessor nomination form to outline the reasons for nominating each assessor. Finally, candidates and commentators should ensure that all nominations are in line with the ‘Conflict of Interest’ guidance.  

Yes, candidates should contact External Assessors to ensure that they are willing to provide an assessment if requested by the Faculty Promotions Committee. Candidates should not share their application or current CV with the potential external assessor as part of this process.

There is a template letter available under ‘Forms’ in ‘Faculty Promotions Supports’ on the Faculty Promotions website which candidates can use to send to potential external assessors.

No. You will nominate three potential External Assessors, of which the committee will use one. Heads of School/College Principals are also required to identify 4 or 5 potential External Assessors (depending on the level to which the candidate is seeking promotion) recognised as experts in and close to the candidate’s area of expertise. For further details on the selection and approval process of External Assessors please see Section 12.2 of the Faculty Promotions Policy.

No. Heads of School should not discuss potential external assessors with candidates. There is no risk of a Head of School duplicating a candidate nomination as the Head of School will be able to see the external assessors nominated by the candidate when reviewing the application.

Candidates can choose to exclude up to two potential external assessors and do not need to specify a reason for doing so. These exclusions will be visible to the Head of School, College Principal and Faculty Promotions Committee.

Conflicts of Interest:

It is essential that in order to maintain a fair, transparent and academically rigorous process of faculty promotions that the Faculty Promotions Committee must be convinced that no actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest exists in any component of the assessment process including the commentaries provided by the Head of School and College Principal, the selection of External Assessors and by members of the Faculty Promotions Committee?

A commentator (normally the Head of School and College Principal) who is part of the assessment process is deemed to have a conflict of interest if they have a professional, personal or family relationship with the candidate that could reasonably call into question their ability to be objective in relation to the candidate and their application.

The Conflict of Interest guidelines outline what constitutes a conflict of interest with an External Assessor. These are available under the ‘Additional Resources’ section of the Faculty Promotion Supports webpage.

Members of the Faculty promotions Committee are drawn from across the University and may know many of the applicants personally or professionally.  Members of the Faculty Promotions Committee are not representing their discipline, subject area, School or College on the Committee.  Applications from faculty within the member’s School will arise.  Members of the Faculty Promotions Committee will not participate in the assessment of applications from members of their School.

Members of the Faculty Promotions Committee will also exclude themselves from consideration of the application where:

  • A close friendship, business, professional partnership or family relationship exists between the candidate and the member;
  • There is evidence of close/and or repeated/or recent co-authorship, co-presentational, co-editorial activities between the candidate and the member.
  • The member declares there may be a perceived conflict of interest.

Oral Feedback & Appeals:

Yes. Candidates are encouraged to receive oral feedback from the Chair and another member of the Faculty Promotions Committee.

Oral feedback is provided to further explore the written feedback provided by the Faculty Promotions Committee and is not intended to provide for a detailed review of the application and its merits for each dimension.  It is not the role of the FPC to prescribe the approach that a candidate may take to develop the evidence of impact against the various dimensions of the framework.  Each applicant will have different areas in which they may choose to focus their effort.

Yes. An appeal can be made in relation to an unsuccessful application for promotion in line with the grounds for appeal outlined in Section 19 of the Faculty Promotions Policy. Appeals cannot be made for applications made under Section 20 – Academic Retention of the Faculty Promotion Policy.

The Appeals process is managed through UCD Legal. Information in relation to appeals is available at https://www.ucd.ie/corpsec/

The Faculty Promotions Appeals Committee, which is an independent Committee, considers each appeal.  https://www.ucd.ie/corpsec/

Re-application within one year of an unsuccessful application will only be permitted in cases where there are substantial new achievements since the previous application. The one year is from the date of the FPC decision.

UCD Human Resources

Roebuck Offices, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4900 | E: hrhelpdesk@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)