Guidelines for Advancement Under the Step Plus System – Academic Federation Titles

Academic Federation Step Plus Process Overview

When eligible for a merit or promotion, the candidate is considered for advancement of 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 steps, based on the record of professional accomplishments. The department will vote on all Step Plus options with no knowledge of or regard to availability of funding. Because many of the appointees in these titles receive compensation from non-State sources, special consideration must be given to both the potential salary and retirement accrual ramifications of advancements. This consideration needs to occur before a promotion or merit action is pursued, because once an advancement is approved, it cannot be deferred.

  • For all Academic Federation advancement requests (as for Senate actions), the Action Form in MyInfoVault should indicate, as a default setting at the time of the department-level vote, a 1.0 step advancement.
  • A candidate electing for full Step Plus consideration is allowed to make a case for greater-than-one-step advancement in their candidate’s statement, but regardless of that request, subsequent reviewers and decision-makers should evaluate the record carefully and consider all Step Plus advancement options (no advancement, 1.0 step, 1.5 steps, or 2.0 steps).
  • For a candidate electing consideration for 1.0-step advancement only, subsequent reviewers and decision-makers should review the record within the Step Plus context and may indicate their view that the record deserves more than a 1.0-step advancement, but only 1.0-step advancement will be approved. 
  • The department’s recommendation should be based on the opinions of the Peer Group and Voting Group after reviewing the candidate’s record. If the voting majority recommends advancement of more than one step, the proposed action in MIV should be updated to reflect that recommendation.

Please see the following list of considerations and recommendations that are specific to each Academic Federation title.

  1. Specialists in CE - No additional considerations are needed for this State-funded series.
  2. Agronomists in the AES - No additional considerations are needed for this State-funded series.
  3. Health Sciences Clinical Professors - If an advancement of more than one step is approved, the base salary (both the X and X’ components) should be adjusted according to the Step Plus salary tables. The increment needs to be tracked and implemented in payroll as off-scale components, although it is not treated as off-scale salary for purposes of the Health Sciences Compensation Plan. The half-step Step Plus increment is technically part of the base salary (X and X’) even though it is entered in payroll as off-scale.
  4. Adjunct Professors/Professional Researchers/others who are paid from non-state funds as Principal Investigator (PI) – In this situation, the candidate/PI typically determines the allocation of funding from external grants or contracts. Accordingly, when eligible for advancement, the candidate should evaluate both the level of accomplishment for the review period and the availability of funding for the future 2-3 years (the normative period for review, as specified by Step Plus). Following these self-assessments, the candidate/PI may consult with the department chair and/or budget officer regarding financial implications of advancement. If sufficient funds are available to support any anticipated merit and/or promotion action, full Step Plus consideration should proceed. However, if funds will not be available for a 100%-time appointment following the approval of all advancement options, the candidate/PI must decide on one of three options:
    1. Pursue all Step Plus advancement options (this may require a reduction of the percent time until additional sources of funding are available);
    2. Request approval of a 1.0-step advancement only (this may require a reduction of the percent time until additional sources of funding are available); or
    3. Defer (which would allow the candidate to apply for advancement as early as the following year).
  5. Academic Federation members on extramural funds for which they are not a PI – When informed of eligibility for advancement, the candidate should evaluate his or her level of accomplishment for the review period, ideally in consultation with the PI. At the same time, the department should send the Notification of advancement eligibility for an Academic Federation member to the PI(s) in charge of grant funds, filled out with the following information: eligible candidate’s name; current title (including rank and step); year of last advancement (or appointment, whichever is more recent); current % time; current salary and benefits; and salary and budget projections for Step Plus advancement (assuming the current % time does not change). The PI then provides to the department chair a brief description of anticipated funding availability, which is subsequently shared with the candidate. Based on this funding information and self-assessment, the candidate makes an informed decision about advancement options. If funds are unlikely to be available for full-time appointment following the approval of an advancement action, the candidate must decide on one of three options, as follows.
    1. Pursue all Step Plus advancement options. If advancement is approved, it may require an involuntary reduction of the percent time (with the option of pursuing other part-time employment), or it may be necessary for the AF member to work for a shorter time period until additional funding is available.
    2. Request approval of a 1.0-step advancement only. If advancement is approved, it may require an involuntary reduction of the percent time (with the option of pursuing other part-time employment), or it may be necessary for the Academic Federation member to work for a shorter time period until additional funding is available.
    3. Defer consideration for advancement (which would allow the candidate to apply for advancement as early as the following year).

The candidate's choice must be reflected in an addendum to the department letter using the form Notification of advancement eligibility for an Academic Federation member. If the candidate elects not to pursue an action, this completed form should be uploaded as the department letter into a redelegated deferral action in MIV.