Task Force on Academic Employment

Council set up a task force to undertake a wide-ranging review of a range of key academic staffing issues.


Council is putting before Congregation in Michaelmas Term 2013 resolutions proposing a new system for merit pay for academics, and proposing that the main lecturer grades be renamed associate professor.  The resolutions (see Gazette No. 5037) and supporting material (see Supplement (2) to Gazette No. 5036) were published in the Gazette on 17 October 2013.


In 2013 the Personnel Committee issued a further consultation document on the possible wider use of the title of professor and on merit pay for titular professors (see Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 5012).  Individual members of Congregation were invited to respond to this by 22 April 2013. Responses (where respondents consented to publication) may be found here.


The task force made its final report to Council (see Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4975).  Council endorsed the recommendations in this report, and the task force was discharged.

All of the matters covered by the task force will now be taken forward through the permanent committee structures of the collegiate University.  In 2012 the Personnel Committee issued a Consultative paper (51kb) on the matters covered by the task force’s final report, with a deadline for responses of 2 July 2012.


Congregation approved a resolution proposing the adoption of a new system of merit pay and titles (see Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4915)

2009 consultation exercise

The task force issued a further Consultative document (100kb) on the duties of academics and related issues. Responses were requested by 29 June 2009.

Responses to the consultations (where respondents consented to publication) may be found here.

2008 consultation exercise

The task force issued a Consultative document (90kb) on specific proposals for career progression for academics, in the shape of a promotions system. Responses were requested by 19 January 2009.

Responses to the consultations (where respondents consented to publication) may be found here.

A Congregation Discussion on the proposals in this consultative document was held on 18 November:  A Verbatim transcription (147kb) is now available.  A brief note from the task force in response to some of the points raised in the discussion is available Discussion note (17kb).

Frequently asked questions about the proposals, together with responses, are available here.

2007 consultation exercise

Many members of the University, as well as a considerable number of college and university bodies, took the time and trouble to respond to the consultation exercise which ended in Trinity Term 2007 on the task force's proposed 'Direction of travel (216kb)', The task force is very grateful for this; it is encouraged by the number and the quality of the responses received, and by the level of support for the broad thrust of its propositions. As many respondents pointed out, however, much more detailed work remains to be done.

In the course of the academic year 2007-8, the task force will develop proposals in consultation with relevant university and college representatives (particularly in relation to the implications of those proposals for educational policy and standards and resource allocation). It envisages further wider consultation once this has been done. At this stage, and in the light of the responses made in the 2007 consultative exercise, the task force wishes to make it clear that

  • it sees the creation of better structures for career progression as a clear priority: its proposals will include (but not be limited to) (i) the development of a range of different templates for joint appointments, to be used by tripartite agreement between the academic, the college, and the University following quinquennial reviews initiated by the postholder if he or she wishes; and (ii) a system of regular promotions;
  • it is committed to preserving the best features of Oxford's characteristic tutorial teaching system, and to embedding graduate teaching more firmly into future contractual arrangements for academics;
  • it has given some consideration to the model of academic appointments at Cambridge, and intends to clarify in its next consultative document why it is not convinced that moving to that model would be appropriate;
  • while it is firmly of the view that many of the important details relating to the employment of academics should be made at the level of the subject, this should happen with the full involvement of the colleges, and within clear University-wide and/or divisional frameworks.

Responses to the consultation (where respondents consented to publication) may be found by clicking on the following link:

A summary and anlysis of the responses may be found by clicking on the following Analysis (311kb).

2006 consultation exercise

During Hilary Term 2006 the task force issued a Consultative paper (18kb) seeking submissions and comments on the substantive issues within the revised terms of reference. The task force invited colleges and intercollegiate bodies, divisional boards and relevant university committees, departments and institutions, and the Joint Consultative Committee with the University and College Union (UCU) to make submissions. It also took steps to solicit the views of individual members of the University.

The deadline for submissions was Week 5 of Trinity Term (Friday 26 May 2006). The submissions are published here (where the respondents have consented), together with an analysis undertaken by the task force.


Analysis (16kb)

Terms of reference and membership: 2005 consultation exercise

A consultation exercise on draft terms of reference was announced in the Gazette, 24 June 2005. On the recommendation of the task force, Council subsequently agreed to amend the terms of reference in the light of the responses received. The consultation exercise also elicited comments and suggestions about the composition of the task force. Council reflected on the points raised and invited the Conference of Colleges to nominate three additional lecturers and an estates bursar to join the task force.

Revised terms of reference (6kb)

Current membership (11kb)