2009-10 Ladder-rank Faculty Review Files

June 24, 2010

By David S. Kliger, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 
By Maureen Callanan, Chair, Committee on Academic Personal 

Dear Colleagues:

As another academic year comes to an end, we write to thank you for all of your efforts in processing academic personnel reviews. This year, over 220 ladder-rank advancement actions were processed, as well as 20 retention actions and 7 ladder-rank appointment files. As you begin to plan for your 2010-11 academic personnel reviews, we want to share some observations and reminders to keep the files moving through the process as smoothly and expeditiously as possible.

Faculty at Indefinite Steps

Faculty serving at an indefinite step (Professor, Steps 5 to Above-Scale) do not appear on the annual Call for review issued by the Academic Personnel Office (APO); however, as stated in the annual Call letter, Professors at Steps 5 through 8 are eligible for review if they have served three years at step. Professors at Step 9 or Above Scale are eligible for review after four years. Because these faculty do not automatically appear on the Call, it is important for department chairs to talk with their faculty who are at indefinite steps to assist them in determining whether they should be considered for review.

Reports of Narrative Evaluation Timeliness

As the Senate Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) stated in their May 20, 2010 memo, the Academic Senate recently voted to make undergraduate narrative evaluations instructor-optional as of September 1, 2010. As a result, beginning with 2010-11 review files, narrative timeliness reports and narrative completion reports will no longer be required for any academic personnel files – Senate or nonSenate. However, these requirements remain in place for those files carried over from 2009-10.

Please note that until September 1, 2010, all policies and regulations regarding narrative evaluations remain as currently written in the Senate Regulations and Campus Academic Personnel Policy.

External Letter Writers

In addition to providing brief comments on the academic standing of each proposed letter writer, policy also requires that departments include information regarding the letter writer’s relationship, if any, to the candidate. This information is to be included on the list of letter writers for all names, even those provided by the department. If there is no known relationship, this should be stated so that it is clear that the issue was addressed by the department. Further, as a reminder, department letters should not include any identifying information about the external letter writers; this includes comments regarding the academic standing of the letter writer, their area of expertise, or their relationship to the candidate. This information should be included on the confidential list of letter writers, not in the department letter. As a faculty member advances through the ranks, we expect the department and the candidate to increasingly rely on experts in the candidate’s fields of study and less, if at all, on collaborators and mentors (e.g., dissertation advisors).

Contributions to Diversity

It is important to remember to recognize a faculty member’s contribution to diversity and equal opportunity in education in the review file. Please refer to the 2010-11 Call letter or 2005 memo announcing the revision to academic personnel policy for information on including contributions to UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-(Letterhead for Interdepartmental Use) 2009-10 Ladder-rank Faculty Review Files June 24, 2010 diversity as a criteria for advancement. A list of possible ways that faculty can engage in promoting diversity at UCSC is available here.

Contributions to Co-authored Work

In order to accurately assess a faculty member’s record of research or creative activity, it is important to establish their contribution to co-authored works. It is the responsibility of the department chair to assure that the faculty member’s level of collaboration on any such work is established in the review file. This can be discussed in the department letter, or the information can be provided by the faculty member as part of their self-statement or as a separate document. If external letters are being solicited, it is not necessary that such information be sent to the letter writers; in this case, the faculty member may wish to provide a document separate from their self-statement if they do not want this information transmitted to external reviewers.

Recording Votes

Any department recommendation must be accompanied by a report of the vote taken on that recommendation. In order to reduce confusion on the intent of the department's recommendation, it is strongly advised that the report include the response of every voting member of the department on each specific recommendation. Otherwise, it is not always clear what the intentions were of the non-recorded votes. For example, some files contain the following:

Vote on one step merit: 12 yes
Vote on one step merit, with additional off-scale: 9 yes
In this case, it is unclear if the non-reported votes were noes or abstentions or waivers.

A more helpful report of the vote would be:
Vote on one step merit: 12 yes, 0 no, 0 waivers, 0 abstentions
Vote on one step merit, with additional off-scale for a salary: 9 yes, 1 no, 0 waive, 2 abstentions

Reporting votes in this manner clarifies the department's recommendation for subsequent reviewers. See also CAP memo on Bylaw 55 voting practices.

Review Periods

Ladder-rank actions are all effective July 1; however, faculty submit their materials in the summer or fall prior to this effective date based on the deadline for submission of materials set by the campus or an earlier date set by the department. In some files this year, we saw departments begin the current review period from the effective date of the last action versus the materials submission date; consequently, not all work that was completed during the prior review period was considered. For example, for a faculty member being considered for promotion to Professor, the review period begins the year before they were promoted to Associate Professor.

This was a particular issue with first reviews conducted after appointment. In these cases, work done since the faculty member submitted their application can be considered in the initial advancement review. Greater weight will be given to work done since appointment at UCSC, but all work since initial review for appointment may be submitted.

One aspect of the mid-career appraisal is to evaluate a faculty member’s ability to launch their independent career at the Santa Cruz campus; therefore, the review period for mid-career appraisals is the time since appointment as an assistant professor at UCSC. Also, remember that the review period for tenure and for advancement to Step 6 and to Above-Scale may include the faculty member’s entire career; although emphasis should be given to work completed since the last major review.

Cumulative Biobibliographies

All faculty must submit an updated cumulative biobibliography (biobib) with each personnel review file. The biobib should conform to the standard formatting as outlined in the campus academic personnel manual Appendix 9. As stated in these biobib guidelines, the biobib must be annotated to reflect which publications/creative works were submitted by the candidate and considered by the department, as well as which publications/creative works were forwarded with the file. The numbering of the publications/creative works is to appear on the biobib, as well as on the publications themselves, including publications submitted via CD or via a web site. It is also important to remember to include all teaching, including student supervision, qualifying examination committees, etc.

In addition, we want to remind you that APO has created a web application tool, BiobibNet, to assist faculty in maintaining their biobibs in a standard format for personnel reviews. If you are interested in moving your biobib into this electronic format, please contact Leslie Marple in APO at lesliem@ucsc.edu.

Possible Tenure at Time of Mid-career Appraisal

We have seen an increasing number of reviews that are on the Call as mid-career appraisals but become promotion to tenure reviews. If a department chair and a faculty member agree that the review file may support promotion to tenure, or if a faculty member requests review for tenure, the solicitation to external letter writers must clearly request an assessment for promotion to tenure at this time, in addition to providing a mid-career assessment.

Remember that tenure is granted based on demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service appropriate to rank. It is not based on the promise of such excellence.

Early Review Files (Accelerations in Time)

As in previous years, we continue to strongly discourage review files that are early in time – those review files that are submitted in advance of normative eligibility for review. In these cases, time is defined as the number of years served since the last positive advancement based on the normative eligibility period for review at the current step: two years for Assistant Professor, Steps 1-5 and Associate Professor, Steps 1-3; three years for Associate Professor, Steps 4-5 and Professor, Steps 1-8; and four years at Professor, Step 9 and Above-Scale.

This distinction is particularly important in review files where the faculty member is currently at an overlapping step (Assistant, Step 5 and Associate, Steps 4-5), is requesting promotion, or has served the normative time at rank but not the normative time at step. In these situations, the review file would be considered an early review file if the normative time at step has not been served. Similarly, the review file of a faculty member whose last review did not result in a change in step or rank but did result in a salary increase would be considered an early review file if the normative time at step has not elapsed since the last review. The one exception is the case of an Assistant Professor on the Call for mandatory review for promotion to tenure because the eight-year limit on service at that rank. See examples of early review files.

Retention Files

If a faculty member receives an outside offer of employment and time constraints set by the other institution preclude the standard academic personnel review for step or rank advancement, a file may be put forward with only a salary increase recommendation for the purpose of retaining the faculty member. When a department considers a retention file or when a department chair is counseling a faculty member regarding a retention action, please refer to the recent April 2010 memo from CP/EVC Kliger on perspectives and expectations regarding retention cases.

Faculty Salaries

We continue to recognize the need to raise faculty salaries and will maintain in 2010-11 the campus practice initiated in 2008-09 of a more generous merit process to achieve salary increases. Please review the October 2009 memo for more information on greater-than-normal and accelerated salary increases. We would also like to clarify that faculty with files that are determined to be close to an acceleration may receive an additional off-scale component that is equal in amount to $100 less than an additional step. For faculty who already have an off-scale component, any additional off-scale would be added to the existing off-scale component.

Future Workshops

We wish to remind you that in early fall quarter APO offers a detailed walk-through of the policies and procedures relevant to processing a review file for ladder-rank faculty. While primarily intended for new department chairs, this workshop is a good refresher for returning chairs as well.

Also at the beginning of fall quarter, the new CP/EVC and the new CAP Chair may schedule a meeting with deans, department chairs, and department managers to provide an overview and answer questions. 

Since this year brings to a close our involvement with ladder-rank review files in our capacities as CP/EVC and CAP Chair, it is fitting for us to thank you, along with your faculty and staff, for your dedication to faculty advancement on our campus. While the campus and the UC system look to streamline the review process, we must not lose sight of the integrity that multiple levels of peer review bring to this procedure. For this, we also sincerely thank the members of the Committee on Academic Personnel, the APO staff, and the faculty who participate on ad hoc personnel committees.

Best regards,

David S. Kliger
Campus Provost and 
Executive Vice Chancellor

Maureen Callanan
Committee on Academic Personnel