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Equity information for academic promotion for applicants

  1. The University’s Academic Promotion policy HR-26 state that applications will be assessed on merit. Applicants may comment on any past discrimination.

  2. The definition of merit adopted by the University encompasses recognition of prior learning and of skills gained through various experiences other than traditional academic pursuits including family and community responsibilities. ‘Merit’ is defined as:

    The extent to which each of the applicants has abilities, aptitude skills, qualifications, knowledge, experience (including community experience), characteristics and personal qualities relevant to the execution of the duties in question; and where relevant —

    • the manner in which each of the applicants performed the duties or functions of any position, employment or occupation previously held or engaged in by the applicant, and

    • the extent to which each of the applicants has potential for development

  3. Merit and achievement are to be assessed ‘relative to opportunity”. Staff may include information in their application where:

    Past discrimination in promotion processes may have impeded the ability of groups such as women and some cultural groups to progress in their chosen careers. Moreover, societal demands (for example, parenting responsibilities) placed upon some individuals may have also impeded their career prospects. Applicants are invited to comment in their application if they believe that such matters are relevant to their claims for advancement.

    Applicants to which this clause particularly relates includes women, people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with a disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

    The University acknowledges that a number of factors may affect academic career development so these factors should be brought to the attention of the promotion committee.

  4. Outlined below are some issues pertaining to past discrimination that applicants may wish to address in their application for promotion. Applicants are advised that if they believe this clause is relevant to their application they should show:

    1. how their career development was affected by societal and other demands

      •  when they gained their first degree

      • when they gained a higher degree and the responsibilities which prolonged this study

      • the significant career gaps

      • the length of time of family responsibilities and the range of responsibilities associated with different ages of children and aged relatives

      • whether academic qualifications were gained before or after children were born

      • the number of consultancies or publications

      • the availability of a doctoral qualification in certain discipline areas (for example, Nursing, Fine Arts)

      • a break in career due to migration or refugee status

      • the country where initial qualifications were obtained, which may have been different to the western academic culture requiring adaptability and flexibility

      • the country where publications were published

      • overseas qualifications not recognised in Australia

      • inability to access appropriate technical assistance (for people with a disability)

    2. that particular non-traditional skills and experience have contributed to their academic development

      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples working within their communities

      • unpaid work, which demonstrates either leadership and/or community service, for example: president of school council; financial management of a community organisation

      • significant community responsibilities in their ethnic community where, for example, they support more recent immigrants or become representatives and advocates of that community in Australia.

  5. The issues above are not meant to be exhaustive. They are intended to encourage applicants to reflect on their career history from a perspective which may include reference to skills and experience gained outside of ‘traditional’ academic pursuits; and/or recognise factors that may have interrupted the career development of applicants.

    Applicants should specifically address these issues in a separate section of their application.

  6. HR consultants within the Human Resources Unit are available to assist applicants with their application in relation to this matter.

  7. There may be instances where a staff member believes the clause in #3 in this appendix is relevant to their application but the reason is of a personal and private nature and not appropriate to be set out in writing. In this situation the applicant may wish to contact the Director: Human Resources prior to submitting their application.

Human Resources Unit
May 1993
Revised March 2002
Amended March 2002
Amended March 2005
Amended March 2006
Amended February 2007
Amended February 2008