Annual Memo from CP/EVC and CAP Chair on Academic Advancement-2017

November 02, 2017

By Marlene Tromp, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 
By Carla Freccero, Chair, Senate Committee on Academic Personnel 


Re: Annual Memo On Academic Advancement: 2017

Dear Colleagues:

As the new academic year begins, we write to provide you with updates and selected reminders regarding the academic personnel review process. These topics address frequently asked questions, provide policy updates, and emphasize priorities and expectations.

NEW: On May 26, 2017, Interim CP/EVC Lee announced the renewal of the campus Special Salary Practice for the 2017-18 academic year, with modifications. All salary recommendations and decisions should align with the new practice. The announcement memo describes the modifications and reiterates the criteria and eligibility for the special salary practice, which have not changed.

Department letters should clearly justify any Special Salary Practice recommendations based on the most recent period of review.


The Academic Personnel Office publishes deadlines by which departments and deans must submit files to subsequent reviewers. These deadlines ensure that all files can be completed during the academic year. Late submission of files results in faculty not receiving critical performance feedback in a timely way; delays pay increases for faculty; and increases workload for faculty and staff.

We ask all chairs and deans to make faculty personnel reviews a top priority in the upcoming year. The ability to meet deadlines should be part of the annual performance review of academic administrators.  CP/EVC Tromp will receive regular updates on timeliness, and deans can work with divisional academic personnel coordinators to track progress within the division. Deans and chairs are asked to keep candidates apprised of the progress of their reviews, particularly when there has been a delay.



The Committee on Academic Personnel requests that departments continue to include a single table summarizing the Overall Effectiveness responses from the student evaluation sets within the review period. Find a sample teaching table at this link.


Faculty advancement at the University of California requires excellence in teaching as demonstrated by at least two kinds of evidence. Student evaluations of teaching, though important, ought never to be the sole means of evaluating teaching. The Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) has published a Guide to Providing Evidence of Excellence in Teaching. We encourage all departments to review and discuss this guide, and to give thoughtful consideration to how these practices might be incorporated into your departmental review procedures.


Generally, the ability to teach effectively at all levels of the curriculum is an indication of exceptional achievement in the area of teaching. Faculty should strive for excellence in teaching across all levels of the curriculum: lower-division, upper-division, and graduate. However, because it is not always practical for a faculty member to teach at all levels during a single two- to three-year merit review period, the department letter should explain the candidate’s teaching workload in the context of the department teaching policy and workload assignments.  

Departments are especially encouraged to evaluate graduate teaching and mentorship and to contextualize departmental practice with regard to the teaching and supervision of graduate students.


Ladder-rank faculty are expected to be engaged in ongoing research activities, some of which produce research accomplishments, such as published articles and books, performances, and exhibitions. While research activities, progress, and plans should be discussed in the personal statement and subsequent assessments, rank and step advancement is normally based on accomplishments.

Research activity alone cannot be used to justify additional salary under the Special Salary Practice.

Promotions should be geared toward major or final accomplishments of the research agenda. In book-based disciplines, promotions are normally awarded when manuscripts have culminated in publication. If a peer-reviewed book is not part of the file, major or final accomplishments of a research agenda should be equivalent to the heft and scholarly significance of a peer-reviewed book. See Best Practices in Personnel Reviews (Humanities and Social Sciences Division).

Candidates should avoid submitting work that is still in its formative stages, as it is much more impactful to credit work as a research accomplishment when it is fully completed. There are exceptions to this practice, as when a faculty member is at a barrier step or approaching tenure, where it may be important to document significant and ongoing progress.

Candidates who are working on a project that spans multiple review periods, and who do not have sufficient other completed material to submit, may submit completed, polished portions of the work. It is helpful if there is evidence of peer review of the work. If advancement is awarded based on completed portions, and those portions are submitted again in a subsequent review, the candidate’s personal statement should describe the revisions that have occurred.

Any in-progress work submitted for review must be annotated as such on the cumulative biobibliography. Users of the Biobibnet module of DivData have access to a new Annotation Assistant feature to guide them through this process.  


Some departments solicit letters regarding candidates’ routine committee and professional service activities. Due to the workload imposed on both the staff doing the solicitation and the faculty writing the letters, it is not recommended that departments or candidates request service letters in regular merit cases, unless the qualitative feedback is somehow pivotal to the review. Unsolicited letters may always be included.

Department letters should contextualize and assess (not simply list) the departmental service performed.


Campus expectations for retention cases and subsequent advancement cases have been outlined in previous communications (see CP/EVC Kliger 2010; CP/EVC Galloway 2011; CP/EVC Galloway 2012). Departments generally follow these guidelines; however, we underscore the need for departments and deans to explain and justify salary recommendations in retention cases, particularly when recommending something other than a direct match to the documented outside offer.


NEW: In all senate faculty searches opened after October 12, 2017, applicants are required to submit a statement regarding their past and potential future contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion. See CP/EVC Tromp’s announcement memo. The Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity provides useful guidelines for applicants and reviewers.

The department should explain and justify all salary recommendations for new hires if the recommended salary does not correspond to a published scale step. Files that do not include an explanation may be returned for additional information.


Two situations may justify a waiver of open recruitment for a senate faculty position: Target of Excellence (TOE), and Spousal/Domestic Partner. Waiver requests undergo thorough assessment by multiple senate committees and the administration. When preparing a waiver request, departments and divisions should carefully review CAPM 101.000: Waivers of Open Recruitment for Senate Faculty Positions. Failure to provide required documentation, to consult thoroughly, or to follow established protocols leads to requests being returned and/or significantly delayed.

The TOE waiver policy requires that departments comment on the candidate’s contributions to diversity. Candidates proposed for TOE appointment should include a diversity statement.



University policy requires that the campus maintain the confidentiality of letter writers. Sometimes departments inadvertently disclose information about letter writers in their letter. For example, “Reviewer A, a member of the National Academy of Sciences….” Such information should be listed in the biographical information contained in the list of letter writers included with the file and not in the department letter.

Another common misstep occurs when departments redact letters using Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word, but fail to remove the metadata showing the original author of the document. Please take appropriate steps based on the redaction method you are using. If uncertain, redactions should be done in paper on a copy machine, then scanned to .PDF format for uploading. Departments that release improperly redacted letters to candidates must inform the letter writers that their identity has been disclosed.


In selecting external reviewers, departments should keep in mind the importance of obtaining evaluations from individuals of comparable or higher rank at research institutions. Reviewers should, to the extent possible, be independent of the candidate and understand the qualifications for advancement. Departments should explain in the list of letter writers any exceptions to this practice (for example, when the reviewers solicited are preeminent experts in the candidate’s field but do not meet one of the above criteria). For Step 6 cases, it is highly recommended, although not required, that departments solicit and receive an external letter from at least one UC colleague who is familiar with the UC ladder-rank system.


A candidate may only request a Career Equity Review (CER) in conjunction with the major post-tenure actions of promotion to full Professor, advancement to Professor, Step 6 and advancement to Professor Above Scale. See CAPM 412.000 Career Equity Review for additional information.


In cases where normal advancement is a promotion, advancement to Step 6 or to Above Scale, but the candidate requests a salary increase in lieu of the advancement, the department should explain the deficiencies in the file that led to the decision not to pursue the major action. Faculty at these junctures who choose not to undergo a major action are limited in the amount of salary increase they can receive, in accordance with CAPM 803.620.C.

If the outcome of a five-year mandatory review is not “positive” (i.e., does not result in advancement in rank, step, or salary for faculty below Professor, Step 5, and/or where performance is deemed to be less than satisfactory), the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs will meet with the faculty member to discuss the review and develop written improvement measures designed to address the performance deficiencies identified during the course of the review. See CAPM 402.200 for additional information.


Please take a moment to review CAP’s Tips for Chairs, containing guidance for writing effective department letters for personnel reviews.

The Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity has published Guidelines on Evaluating Contributions to Diversity for Appointment and Promotion.

Emerging modes of scholarship are yielding new forms of research contributions, which should be evaluated in faculty review files. The UCOP Office of Research and Graduate Studies has published a white paper on this topic: The Pursuit of Collective Excellence in Research at the University of California.

The Academic Personnel Office hosts a number of Training and Workshop Events throughout the year for faculty, staff, and department chairs, including opportunities for chairs to hear directly from CAP and the administration about best practices in academic personnel reviews.


Carla Freccero
Senate Committee on Academic Personnel


Marlene Tromp
Campus Provost and
Executive Vice Chancellor


Department Chairs
Department Managers
Divisional Academic Personnel Coordinators
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Lee
Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Personnel McClintock
Academic Personnel Office
Academic Senate Office