UCSC Special Salary Practice Modifications

May 26, 2017

By Herbert Lee, Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 


RE: UCSC Special Salary Practice Modifications

Dear Colleagues:

I am approving the continuation of the campus Special Salary Practice (SSP) through review year 2017-18, with some modifications.

For the last nine years, we have had a campus practice of awarding more generous off-scale salary increases in conjunction with senate faculty personnel actions in order to improve the equity of UCSC faculty salaries within the UC system. The SSP allows for advancement to be coupled with a greater number of salary options beyond the standard one- or two-step movements. The criteria for merit and promotion advancement at all ranks and steps are not affected by the SSP.

The Academic Personnel Office’s 2016 Annual Report of Faculty Salary Competitiveness shows that this practice has been successful. Our campus salaries are now above the median of our seven-campus cohort (consisting of UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz) and at some ranks are the highest in the cohort.

I acknowledge that UC systemwide salaries are not where we would like them to be relative to public and private university comparators. I also understand that the rising cost of living in Santa Cruz and surrounding communities makes it increasingly difficult to attract and retain a diverse faculty, despite the progress that has been made through the SSP and other salary programs. However, we need to operate within systemwide standards and budgetary reality.

I considered all of these factors in the annual SSP renewal review. While leaving the SSP unchanged would continue to enhance our competitiveness, the ongoing costs of the SSP are unsustainable in light of the many campus priorities that remain unfunded or underfunded. I have consulted with the Senate and the deans on a range of proposals to scale back the salary practice. I value what it has achieved so far, and aim to maintain the practice’s gains while modestly paring its costs.

The following practices will go into effect with the 2017-18 review year:

  • Normal advancement: Files that demonstrate excellence in all three areas of teaching, research, and service will be considered for advancement of one step with no additional off-scale salary component (no change).
  • Greater-than-normal advancement: Files that exceed the criteria for normal advancement, but do not reach the threshold for accelerated advancement, will be considered for a one-step advancement plus an additional off-scale salary component. Greater-than-normal actions are appropriate when performance is outstanding in two of the three areas or when performance is unusually outstanding in only one of the three areas.
    • G1: Greater-than-normal files that are closer to a normal action will be considered for an off-scale salary increase of one-third of a step.
    • G2: Greater-than-normal files that are closer to an accelerated action will be considered for an off-scale salary increase of two-thirds of a step.
  • Accelerated advancement: Files that demonstrate outstanding performance in all areas—meaning that performance in teaching, research, and service is significantly beyond expectations—will be considered for a two-step advancement.
    • AC: A standard acceleration file will be considered for a two-step advancement with no additional off-scale salary component. Most accelerations are expected to be in this category.
    • A1: In rare and exceptional circumstances, acceleration files that exceed the standard for a two-step advancement will be considered for an off-scale salary increase of one-third of a step.

Academic advancement is based on the record of accomplishments in teaching, research, and service, including contributions to diversity in these areas, as presented in the review file. The criteria for merit advancement at all ranks and steps have not changed, and the Senate Committee on Academic Personnel and the deciding authorities consistently apply the SSP to faculty reviews.

Given that we have made significant strides in increasing the competitiveness of ladder-rank faculty salaries over the past nine years, and considering that a reduction in the program’s cost is essential, this modification is intended to bring the pace of salary growth more into alignment with systemwide norms while maintaining equity with our cohort campuses. The SSP will continue to be evaluated on an annual basis.


Herbert Lee
Interim Campus Provost and
Executive Vice Chancellor


Academic Senate Director Mednick
Acting Vice Provost Academic Affairs Berger
Chancellor Blumenthal
Department Managers
Divisional Academic Personnel Coordinators
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor- APO McClintock
Vice Chancellor Planning and Budget Delaney