Senate Minutes 6 December 1989

The Committee considered a memorandum from the Vice-Principal which, amongst other things, commented upon the lack of a defined policy on the subject of honorary lectureships and the resultant inconsistency of approach through the University.

In the course of discussion concern was expressed about the proliferation of honorary appointments and, in many cases, the apparent lack of full peer review. The reasons usually adduced for appointment to honorary lectureships were:

  1. a substantial teaching commitment,
  2. the supervision of research students, and
  3. to allow applications for research funding to be made.

It was generally felt that (a) was a weak justification since research fellows were normally expected to contribute to teaching programmes; that (b) involved an important matter of principle and that with regard to (c) the lack of an honorary lectureship was not necessarily a barrier when applying for research funding.

Resolved: to recommend

(i) that, as a matter of policy, supervisors of research students should be members of the University academic staff. However de facto day to day supervision may be delegated within research groups to research staff with appropriate expertise provided that a member of the academic staff retains de jure responsibility;

(ii) that appointments to honorary research fellowships should be the norm and not appointments to honorary lectureships with the exception of certain special groups such as Health Board and SCRI staff;

(iii) that appointees to honorary lectureships should have approximately similar qualifications to permanent academic staff and be subject to peer review;

(iv) that recommendations for the appointment of honorary lectureships for the purposes of supervising research students should be submitted to the Senatus* for approval with full supporting evidence;

(v) that CV's should be presented to School Boards or Deans for all proposed honorary appointments other than those within the clinical or paraclinical grading scheme;

(vi) that in the case of a secondary honorary appointment in a different department to that in which a member of staff is employed, attention should be drawn to the existing policy set out in the Minutes of the Establishments and Promotions Committee of 11 June 1985

"(a) to note that it is and should be common for staff appointed in one department (or School) to have teaching duties or to collaborate in research with staff in another and that their doing so should not normally constitute grounds for arranging secondary appointments for them;

(b) to note however that where a member of staff has teaching and/or research links with a second department (or School) more directly related to his own discipline, it will often be appropriate for a secondary appointment in the second department (or School) to be arranged to make it apparent that the member of staff has maintained professional links and continues to work in his parent discipline, thereby avoiding professional isolation and protecting his potential for career advancement;

(c) to recommend that in most circumstances the secondary appointment should be as an Honorary Research Fellow, but that the titles of existing secondary appointments be left unchanged."