Definitions

What is the “Eight-Year Rule ” regarding tenure?

Tenure is the University of California’s guarantee of continued appointment and is granted with promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. A tenured faculty member’s appointment can be terminated for such reasons as violation of UC ethical principles, unacceptable conduct, or incompetence. The Bylaw Unit, the Dean, CAP, the Vice Provost for the Faculty, and the Provost/EVC conduct the tenure review, which is expected to occur during the sixth year of service. In rare cases a candidate may request a one-year postponement of tenure review, but in all cases a final decision on whether tenure is to be granted must be made by the end of the seventh year. Those who do not receive tenure are given a final year notice, during which they may pursue an appeal of the decision. (MAPP 2014.E)

What is “shared governance ” and how does it relate to the individual faculty member?

“Shared governance” is the University of California’s policy of having the Senate faculty share with the Administration in the running of the University and formulation of campus policies. Faculty members usually participate in this endeavor by serving on Unit, School, campus, or systemwide committees, and/or taking on leadership roles such as AP Chair, Dean, Vice Provost, etc.

What are series, ranks and steps?

Series are the various job titles, such as Professor, Lecturer SOE, etc.

Ranks are the various levels within a series, such as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor in the Professorial series. Rank and salary are increased by promotion.

Steps are the various levels within a rank, e.g., Assistant Professor, Step II, III, IV or V. Each successful merit review results in an increase in both step and salary.

What are full-career reviews and when do they normally occur?

A full-career review is an evaluation of the accomplishments of an individual from the time of initial appointment in the series to the present. There are four full-career reviews in the University of California professorial series. Two are promotions, which is the advancement from one rank to a higher rank within a series: Assistant Professor to Associate Professor (with tenure), and Associate Professor to Full Professor. The other two merit advancements within the professorial series that involve career reviews are advancement beyond Professor Step V (normally step V to Step VI), and beyond Professor Step IX (normally Step IX to Above Scale). All full-career reviews require evaluation by external reviewers via letters of evaluation.

Advancements to Professor, Step VI and to Professor, Above Scale involve the application of considerably more rigorous review criteria than at other ranks. Advancement to Step VI requires national or international recognition for significant research or creative accomplishments. Advancement to Above Scale is reserved for the most distinguished scholars and creative artists whose work achieves international recognition and acclaim. As with other advancements in the professorial ranks, there is also a requirement for teaching performance that is excellent and service that is highly meritorious.

What is an acceleration?

An acceleration is a more rapid advancement through the ranks and steps than the norm due to the extraordinary record of the candidate. Accelerations are usually sought when there has been unusually high academic achievement in one category (teaching, research or service) since the last advancement, and at least normal progress in the other categories; that is, accelerations are not granted if any component of the record is below par.

What is a deferral?

A deferral occurs when an academic employee who is eligible for normal advancement chooses not to be considered for advancement at that time. Assistant Professors must be reappointed and may not defer.

What is the quinquennial or five-year mandatory review policy?

To ensure that faculty standards are being met, the Academic Personnel Manual (APM) requires that the performance of every Academic Senate member must be evaluated at least once every five years.

What is an “Acting ” title and how is it changed to a regular title?

On the UC Merced campus, the “Acting” modifier is placed before the title of Assistant Professor when an individual is appointed before his or her PhD degree is complete. There is a two-year limit on the use of the “Acting” designation for Assistant Professors, and it is removed or “regularized” when documentation that a PhD degree has been conferred is provided to the Academic Personnel Office.

What is a Career Equity Review and who is eligible?

A Career Equity Review (CER) is an examination of a faculty member’s personnel actions from the initial hiring at UC Merced onward to determine whether those actions have resulted in an inappropriately low rank and/or step. The purpose of a CER is not to re-open or appeal the decision of any previous action, but to see if the candidate’s performance, when considered over multiple review periods, warrants additional advancement. The goal of a CER is to determine if a faculty member’s initial appointment was at too low a step; whether over time sufficient productivity has accumulated to warrant additional advancement even though merit actions did not call for accelerated advancement; and/or whether contributions have been overlooked, undervalued, or gained delayed impact after particular merit actions.

A CER may be initiated by any Academic Senate member. As stated in the MAPP, a CER may be requested once at the Associate Professor level, once at the Full Professor level prior to advancement to Professor, Step VI, and once after advancement to Professor, Step VI, up to Above Scale, but no more than once every six years.

What are “crossover ” steps and how are they used?

A “crossover” step is a step within one rank that is approximately equivalent in salary to a corresponding step in the next higher rank. Assistant Professor, Steps V and VI are considered to overlap or crossover with Associate Professor, Steps I and II, respectively, just as Associate Professor, Steps IV and V crossover with Professor, Steps I and II. Time served at the steps of the lower rank may be considered as service at the overlapping step at the higher rank. For example, promotion from Associate Professor, Step IV to Professor, Step II is common, but a lateral promotion to Professor, Step I or an accelerated promotion to Professor, Step III are also possible.

What is a “stop-the-clock”?

An Assistant Professor may stop the tenure clock during the pre-tenure period for up to one year at a time, provided that all time off the clock does not exceed two years. This stoppage is typically granted to allow for the care of a newborn child or a child under the age of five newly placed for adoption or foster care, but may also be granted for medical reasons or other exceptional circumstances.