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Developing your career “Getting promoted”. Dr. Derek Bousfield, Head of Department of Languages, Information and Communications, MMU. Progression. There is no longer the near automatic progression there once was.

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developing your career getting promoted

Developing your career“Getting promoted”

Dr.Derek Bousfield,

Head of Department of Languages, Information and Communications, MMU.


There is no longer the near automatic progression there once was.

To progress from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer orLecturer A to Lecturer Byou need to demonstrate how you are meeting the next highest role descriptor.

To progress from Lecturer B to Senior Lecturer, or Senior Lecturer to Principal Lecturer(same thing, dep. on which university you work at) you need to adopt hefty; weighty *structural* administrative roles (and do it well, and consistently).

Progression to Reader or Professor is a different ball game and has a different applications structure…

You need to understand the landscape of your institution, and your career aspirations (and be prepared to be flexible in some areas, and firm in others, to make the above “meet”).

Let’s start with the most fundamental aspects of being promoted… shaping your career and mapping your skills onto the next level role descriptors.

it s not just about the research6
It’s not (just) about the research

Moving Target Problem:- The role descriptors in any university are constantly under review and reconsideration. Universities usually review these (a) in line with the changing HEI landscape, (b) the financial health and welfare of your institution, (c) with UCU consultation and discussion.

so what if i don t meet the next highest role profile
So, what if I don’t meet the next highest role profile?
  • Don’t wait until you’re caught at the top of your grade!
  • Seek your HoD’s support for a development plan.
    • Use Appraisal / PDR process to suggest goals and roles.
    • Suggesting (in line with dept. and faculty objectives) means you’re more in control of shaping your career.
  • Do it 2 years (at least) before you reach the top of your grade.
okay so i want to be senior lecturer or principal lecturer what next
Okay, so I want to be ‘Senior Lecturer’ or ‘Principal Lecturer’… what next?
  • Most universities – whether using the older “Senior Lecturer” in longer established HEIs, or the more recent “Principal Lecturer” title, reserve these for operational level academic leadership roles.
  • They’re usually where a colleague is taking operational responsibility for a sub-departmental role involving other colleagues.
  • Roles typically involve timetabling, resource management (workloading), staff development, research degrees coordinator, or other strategic, often cross-faculty role.
what about reader professor
What about Reader? Professor?
  • Currently, these are the roles undergoing most change in HEIs.
  • It’s not enough to be publishing 4 high quality publications per year, anymore, to reach the heady heights of the Professoriate.
  • Two ‘new’ areas required of Professoriate colleagues:
    • External (Grant) Income
    • Good Citizenship
what about reader professor1
What about Reader? Professor?
  • “Good Citizenship”
  • The development of research infrastructure/support
    • “Bidding for success”, “shared successful bid repositories”, “regular research audits and research development plans”, “helping find sources of internal and external funding for research”, “etc…”
  • Mentoring of ECRs and MCRs
    • Co-authoring with ECRs (and even ALs); Commenting critically on their proposed papers and plans – giving advice; helping them work through reader’s reports. Advising on outlets, connecting them to your networks, etc., etc., etc.
  • Just plain, old, discussing the work of your colleagues – formally, or informally.
  • Etc..
what about reader professor2
What about Reader? Professor?
  • External (Grant) Capture
  • Bidding activity, and bidding success along with an international profile and being a leader in your network / research field is the quickest, surest way to the Professoriate.
  • Balance between grants that “bring people in” as well as those that “take you away”…
    • Research Projects that need a Post Doc RA, or have a PhD funding element wrapped up in it – brings people in, engenders the next generation of scholars, and serves to more firmly place you at the centre of your research (and keeps your valuable skills, and skillsets on campus).
    • Funding which is sabbatical oriented whilst critically and strategically useful, is, nevertheless, the research income that takes you away for a term or a year. If you’re good, your department can suffer. You can return to a changed (and perhaps, scary) landscape.
    • Social Impact…
  • Don’t underestimate the value of collegiality.
    • Departments live or die by the engagement of the colleagues within it. Engage, and engage together, and the department thrives. Withdraw, and you might as well update the CV.
  • Don’t be a pushover.
    • This doesn’t mean refuse every request, or complain about them. If your workload is full, explain that, and seek ways to address with your HoD the role. Learn how to upwardly manage (we can talk about that)…
  • Roll with the punches.
    • Life’s tough, and so is work. Thingswill not always go your way, or the department’s way. If you lose time in negative resentment, you lose too much to mention. “No hippo ever got clean by wallowing in the same mud hole in which they got dirty in the first place.”.
    • Pick yourself up, learn from the experience, and work (perhaps with the HoD) to address the reasons for your not achieving what you wanted in the first place. It’s NOT someone else’s fault if you’re not successful first time, every time.