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PASS: Scientific and Technical promotions process

How the recommendations were developed | Terms of Reference for SO/TO Promotions Committee |
The appeals/review process

How the recommendations were developed


In 2005 a task team, consisting of Scientific Officers (SO) and Technical Officers (TO), HR representatives from relevant faculties and the UCT Skills Development Officer, was set up to:

Using competencies alone (the competency profile) as a basis of achievement was problematic, often leading to subjective evaluation of candidates for promotion purposes. Thus, during the period 2009 - 2013, and in order to shift the focus to performance, a representative task team developed a new instrument - the performance standards document.

This performance standards instrument was developed to:

The performance standards document should enable all of the following:

Broader context

Given the role that SO/TOs play in supporting the academic endeavour, performance management, career development and retention strategies need to be explicit and transparent. The elements below show the broader context within which the promotion process resides.

If Then
the candidate and line manager wish to determine performance and development plans apply Development Dialogue (DD) process
candidate meets criteria for promotion by delivering outputs consistent with that of a higher job level follow promotion process
operational requirements of the job change / grow apply for job evaluation
the candidate wishes to apply for an academic post (see Performance management - academic staff) consider whether an academic post is available for the candidate to fill

Terms of Reference for SO/TO Promotions Committee

General rules and guidelines

The terms of reference should be understood in conjunction with the general rules and procedures for committees, as published in the Principal's Circular, and on the governance intranet.

General Provisions


Eligibility of SO/TO candidates

Permanent SO/TO staff members are eligible. Only achievements in services and support provided at UCT, after the appointment of the person concerned, will be considered and evaluated.

The candidate will have worked in their current position for at least 2 years.


The candidate submits the following documentation, which is made available to each committee member for confidential review.

  1. Candidate's motivation for, and evidence of, performance in the core functional areas, using the performance standards document as a guideline. Please use the performance standards template to capture this information, see Scientific Officer performance standards template and Technical Officer performance standards template.
  2. Nomination letter by candidate / senior staff member / HOD.
  3. Names and email addresses of up to three job-related referees, one of whom must be the candidate's HOD.
  4. Name and email address of person presenting the candidate's application at the promotions meeting.
  5. Job description (on HR191 template) reflecting current operational requirements of the section (signed by the HOD / Line Manager and the incumbent).
  6. Copies of the candidate's 2 most recent performance evaluations.
  7. Copy of current CV.
  8. Any additional supportive documentation.

Formulation and composition of committee

Each year the SO/TO Promotions Committee will meet to assess candidates' submissions.

Prior to the promotions meeting, committee members are expected to review the documentation of each candidate. Such documentation is made available for confidential review prior to the committee meeting.

Membership of the Promotions Committee:

Members on the committee Capacity
1 x Deputy Vice-Chancellor (nominated by the Vice-Chancellor) Chair with Full Voting Rights
4 x Deans of relevant Faculties (FHS, Science, EBE, Humanities) Full Voting Rights
6 x SO/TO constituents nominated by the Scientific and Technical Officers' Association (STOA) and agreed by the Deans Full Voting Rights
1 HR representative Advisory role and Servicing Officer


Quorum rules

All members must be present.

Terms of office

For consistency, it is recommended that members from the STOA will serve on the committee for at least 2 consecutive years.


Time-lines for the ad hominem process are outlined below:

  Description Timeline
1. The Dean (Health Sciences, Science, EBE, Humanities) calls for applications and nominations for SO/TO promotions. July/August
2. The Promotions Committee is finalised. July/August
3. The candidate submits all required documentation necessary for evaluation by the Promotions Committee August/September
4. Faculty HR Practitioners collate all relevant documentation submitted by candidates and make it available to Promotions Committee members for their review prior to the promotions meeting. September
5. The Promotions Committee meets to evaluate all SO/TO applications and make recommendations for promotions. October
6. Recommendation for promotion is approved and candidate notified by letter. October
7. The relevant Dean provides constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidate at a meeting, which should include staff member, and HOD or Line Manager. October
8. Any appeal decision is signed off by the Promotions Committee Chairperson. October
The ad hominem process will be reviewed regularly for fairness and efficiency Ongoing

The appeals/review process

Every applicant for ad hominem promotion has a right to feedback. The Dean is responsible for feedback.

The ad hominem decision is final. However, an applicant may request a review of the process if she/he believes that there may have been a significant degree of unfairness in the procedure or that the outcome was unreasonable in terms of faculty criteria in that it suggests flaws in the way in which the committee applied itself to the application.

The applicant must submit a letter requesting a review, stating the grounds on which the review is requested, ( "the application" for review) to the DVC responsible for academic matters via the Faculty Dean within 14 days of notification of the ad hominem promotion outcome. The applicant may not submit any additional materials in support of his/her application for review which were not originally submitted to the committee. If granted, the review must proceed strictly on the basis of the original documentation.

A DVC not involved in the prior faculty ad hominem process, designated by the Vice-Chancellor must then review the application.

This DVC must decide whether the application has merit to be reviewed on the grounds of process, or reasonableness of outcome.

If this DVC decides that the application has merit to be reviewed he/she must:

The following documentation must be circulated to all Deans:

Two questions are asked during the Deans' review meeting:

  1. Was the process procedurally fair?
  2. If the process was procedurally fair, was the outcome reasonably evaluated against the performance criteria? (Indicators here could also be the voting outcomes; or HOD input.)

Outcomes of the review meeting: the Deans review meeting must result in one of the following:

  1. The decision of the SO and TO Ad Hominem Promotions Committee is confirmed.
  2. The Committee of Deans upholds the application for review, and remits the matter to the SO and TO Ad Hominem Promotions Committee for reconsideration, with its written reasons.

Page last updated: 18 May 2015

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