Academic Senate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Concerning the Academic Affairs Review Process at UC Davis

FAQ AIMS:  The personnel review process described herein applies to all Senate faculty, but the main purpose of this FAQ document is to clarify the review process for new Senate faculty, and to give them basic information related to concepts discussed at the fall New Faculty Workshop.  The answers to these FAQs reflect not only APM information about the review process, but also 'best practices', traditions, and culture regarding that process at UC Davis.

What are the guiding principles for advancement in the UC system?

UC policy states:  "Superior intellectual attainment, as evidenced both in teaching and in research or other creative achievement, is an indispensable criterion for appointment or promotion in an academic position.  Merit increases will be awarded only on the basis of continuing excellence in teaching, research and university and public service in the rank at which the candidate is presently serving."

I. Terms/Definitions

In the APM, as well as this document, the faculty member being reviewed is referred to as the 'candidate'.  'Reviewer ' refers to all who participate in the review process: department members, extramural referees, Chair, Dean, Faculty College/School Personnel Committee, Ad Hoc Committee, Committee on Academic Personnel-Oversight Committee (CAP-OC), Committee on Academic Personnel-Appellate Committee (CAP-AC), the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs, Provost or Chancellor.

  • What is the APM?
  • The APM is the University of California Academic Personnel Manual ('the rules of the game'), which encompasses all university policies regarding academic employment.  There are two components of the APM, one containing UC systemwide policies, and the other containing the UC Davis implementation of those policies. Policies in each manual with the same policy number must be read as parts to a whole (view the APM).

     Under Section II. Appointment and Promotion, the following sections may be helpful references: 

    System-wide APM
    200: General Information
    210: Review and Appraisal Committees
    220: Professor Series
    220-10: Criteria for merit and promotion advancement
    220-17: Terms of Service
    220-80: Recommendations and Review: General Procedures
    220-82: Appointment or Promotion-Assistant Professor 
    220-83: Appraisal of Assistant Professors 
    220-85: Appointment or Promotion of Associate and full Professors

    UCD 210: Review and Appraisal Committees
    UCD 220: Academic Senate Review and Advancement
    UCD 220: Procedures
    UCD 220: Exhibits

  • Who are the members of the Academic Senate?
  • The Academic Senate faculty are those who hold a position in one of the following title series:

    - Professor (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor); sometimes called the 'ladder rank' or 'regular' faculty
    - Lecturer or Senior Lecturer With Security of Employment (SOE)
    - Professor In Residence (Assistant, Associate and full Professor)
    - Professor of Clinical ____ (Assistant, Associate, and full Professor)
    - Acting Professor (Associate, and full Professor)

  • What are the working titles for the Lecturer with Security of Employment series?
  • In accordance with APM 285-8-g and after consultation with the Academic Senate, the UC Davis Chancellor and Provost approve use of the following working titles for current and future appointees in the LSOE series:

         - Lecturer with Potential for Security of Employment = Assistant Professor of Teaching (___)

         - Lecturer with Security of Employment = Associate Professor of Teaching (___)

         - Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment = Professor of Teaching (___)

    For example, a Lecturer with Security of Employment in the Department of Evolution & Ecology will use the working title of Associate Professor of Teaching Evolution & Ecology.
  • What is an FTE?
  • The term faculty fulltime equivalent or faculty FTE refers to faculty positions in a way that acknowledges the workload of the employee. For example, a 1.0 faculty FTE is a 100% appointment in a tenure track position or lecturer with security of employment. Faculty positions include academic‐year (or nine‐month) and fiscal‐year (or 11‐month) appointments, based on the college and terms of the position. The 1.0 FTE indicates full‐time employment regardless of whether the position an academic‐year or fiscal –year appointment.
  • What are the roles of Department Chair, Deans and Vice Provost-Academic Affairs in the personnel advancement process?
  • The Chair is responsible for overseeing the departmental review of the candidate's record, soliciting extramural letters, when required, and for writing the recommendation letter, which presents the department's evaluation (including the vote) of the candidate's teaching, research/creative activity, and service for all personnel actions (APM 245 and UCD 245).

    The Dean (in some colleges an Associate Dean has responsibility for Academic Affairs matters) is the administrator responsible for reviewing or deciding the following actions within the school, college, or division:

    - Appointments
    - Merits
    - Promotions
    - Accelerations
    - Deferrals
    - Appraisals

    Dean's personnel actions, which need no further review by the Vice Provost are called redelegated actions.  Currently these Academic Senate actions include:  all normal merits (excluding Professor VI and Above Scale), and appointments at or below the Assistant Professor III level.  See the Delegation of Authority for the title series.

    The Vice Provost-Academic Affairs is the administrator responsible to the Chancellor for reviewing all non-redelegated actions, which consist of:

    - Appointments at or above the Assistant Professor IV level
    - Promotions
    - Accelerations that skip a step on the salary scale
    - Deferrals of more than two years
    - The two high-level merit reviews at Professor, steps VI and Above Scale

    See: Delegation of Authority.

  • What personnel committees have responsibility for reviewing Academic Senate faculty? How are they appointed?
  • CAP-OC (CAP Oversight Committee) is an Academic Senate standing committee which advises the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs, Provost or Chancellor by reviewing advancement materials and making recommendations on non-redelegated personnel actions.

    CAP-OC consists of 9 senior faculty from across the campus appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees.

    CAP-AC (CAP Appellate Committee) is an Academic Senate standing committee of 5 faculty appointed by the Academic Senate Committee on Committees, advises the Deans and Vice Provost, Provost or Chancellor concerning appeals of all merit and promotion decisions.

    The  'local level' Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) or School Personnel Committee (SPC) in each school/college/division advises the various Deans by reviewing most redelegated personnel actions.  FPCs and SPCs are considered subcommittees of CAP-OC and their members are nominated by the school, college, or division Executive Committee and approved by CAP-OC.

  • What are series, ranks, and steps?
  • Series are the various job titles described above, i.e., Professor,  Professor In Residence, Professor of Clinical ____, Lecturer SOE, etc.  The Dean, the CAP-OC, and the Vice Provost must approve a faculty request for a change in series and it is considered as a new appointment.  The action is termed an "appointment via change in title".

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

    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.  The number of steps at each rank and the usual step at which faculty apply for promotion are as follows:

    - Assistant Professor: Steps I-VI (Steps V and VI are overlapping steps), most faculty apply for promotion at Step IV
    - Associate Professor: Steps I-V (Steps IV and V are overlapping steps), most faculty apply for promotion at Step III
    - Professor: Steps I-IX and Above Scale

  • What are overlapping steps?
  • Within the Assistant and Associate Professor ranks there are steps that overlap the salaries of the first steps of the next rank.  Within the Assistant Professor rank, Steps V and VI overlap with Associate Professor Steps I and II, respectively.  Within the Associate Professor rank, Steps IV and V overlap with Professor Steps I and II, respectively.  Time at both overlapping steps counts towards time to the next merit.  For example, time spent at Assistant Professor V and Associate Professor I count towards merit to Associate Professor II.  See UCD-220 IV. A for information on overlapping steps.
  • When are overlapping steps used?
  • Overlapping steps at the Assistant Professor level  (V and VI) are most commonly used when the individual is hired at Step III or above and, although making good progress toward tenure, he/she has not achieved a record commensurate with promotion.  Overlapping steps at the Associate Professor level (IV and V) are most commonly used when the individual is initially promoted or appointed to Associate Professor at Step II or higher, and again reflects the need for more time to achieve promotion.  Only individuals who are making good progress toward promotion are eligible for overlapping steps.
  • What is an Ad Hoc Committee?
  • An Ad Hoc Committee is a subcommittee who reviews and advises CAP-OC, the Vice Provost, Provost and/or Chancellor.  Each Ad Hoc Committee has three members nominated by CAP-OC and are appointed by the Vice Provost to review the teaching, research/creative activity, and service performance of a particular candidate.  One member is from the candidate's department and the other two have expertise in the candidate's field of research.  Although the composition of the Ad Hoc committee is confidential, the candidate has the right to request that certain individuals be excluded from appointment to the committee; this is accomplished by way of a letter to the Vice Provost.  Ad Hoc committees are normally appointed for all promotions, as well as for high-level merits at Professor Steps VI and Above Scale.  CAP-OC has the discretion to waive an Ad Hoc review when it deems it appropriate (APM 210-1 and  APM 220-80e).
  • What is a merit review?
  • A merit review is an evaluation by the department, Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) or School Personnel Committee (SPC), and the Dean of a faculty member's record of teaching, research/creative activity, and service which may result in advancement in step within rank. 
  • What is the period of review for a merit increase?
  • Merit reviews normally occur at two year intervals at the Assistant, 1-6.5 levels and Associate Professor, 1-3.5 levels, every three years at the Associate Professor, 4-5.5 and full Professor levels 1-8.5, and every four years at Step 9, 9.5, and the Above Scale level (APM 220-18b).  Merit increases to Professor, Above Scale require extramural letters and generally may include evaluation by an Ad Hoc Committee.

    The merit reviews from Assistant 1 through Assistant 4.5, Associate 1 through 3.5, and Professor 1 through Professor 5.5 includes all materials since the merit review.

    For Professor 6 or 6.5, the merit review covers the period since promotion or appointment to full professor. When reviewing these merits, the Committee on Academic Personnel will focus their review on activities during this review period, but will also consider the entire career for evidence of national recognition and impact.

    For Professor Above Scale, the review period is the period since promotion or appointment to full professor.  When reviewing these merits, the Committee on Academic Personnel will focus their review on activities during this review period, but will also consider the entire career for evidence of international recognition and impact. Subsequent Above Scale merits do not normally occur more frequently than once every four years.

    For those who advance to an overlapping step (see above), the combined period at overlapping steps applies.  For example, time at Assistant Professor 4 and Associate Professor 1 count towards Associate Professor 2. See UAPM 220-18-b-(2). for information on overlapping steps.

  • What is a promotion review?
  • A promotion review is an evaluation for advancement in rank; i.e., from Assistant to Associate Professor, or Associate to full Professor.  At both of these levels, there is a more extensive review, which includes peer review of teaching, solicited extramural letters, possible Ad Hoc committee review, and CAP-OC review (See APM 220-82 and UCD 220).
  • What is the period of review for promotion?
  • For promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor, the review includes all teaching, research, and service accomplished during the period since the date of the terminal degree.  The period of appointment at UCD in the rank of Assistant Professor (including Acting or Visiting Assistant Professor) cannot exceed eight years.  Since an Assistant Professor must be given one year of notice if the candidate does not advance to tenure, the candidate must be reviewed no later than the seventh year (APM 220-20c).

    For promotion from Associate Professor to full Professor the review covers the period since promotion to Associate Professor. 

  • What is the Eight Year Limit ("Seven Year Rule") regarding tenure?
  • Tenure is the University of California's guarantee of continued employment and is granted with promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. The department, the Dean, a possible Ad Hoc Committee, CAP-OC, the Vice Provost, the Provost and the Chancellor, conducts the tenure review.  A final decision on whether tenure is to be granted must be made by the end of the seventh year of service.  Those who do not receive tenure are given a final year of notice before termination of appointment. 
  • Under what circumstances can the normative time for tenure be extended to more than seven years?
  • The tenure clock may be extended for major illness or parental responsibilities associated with the birth or adoption of a child (APM 133-17h).  The Chancellor also has the authority to extend the tenure clock in other extraordinary circumstances, but maximum extension of the clock for all circumstances is two years total. (APM 133APM 715 and APM 760).
  • What is an appeal?
  • A faculty member has the right to appeal his/her denied personnel action within 30 days of notification of denial, by submitting an appeal letter and supporting documentation. (see UCD 220, Procedure 5).  Before deciding whether to appeal a decision, a candidate can consult with a Faculty Privilege/Academic Affairs Advisor (see Senate website for a list of advisors). The CAP-AC recommendation is forwarded to the Dean for final decision if the action is a redelegated action (UCD 220, Procedure 5).  The CAP-Appellate Committee recommendation is forwarded to the Vice Provost for final decision if the action is a non-redelegated action (UCD 220, Procedure 5).
  • What is an appraisal?
  • At the Assistant Professor rank, an appraisal of teaching, research/creative activity and service is performed in the faculty member's fourth year to determine if he/she is 'on track' for promotion. The dossier is submitted in the fall and the FPC (acting as the ad hoc committee doing the appraisal) forwards their report and the dossier to the Vice Provost's office.  After review of the file by CAP-OC and the Vice Provost, an appraisal letter is sent to the candidate with reviewer's comments on performance in teaching, research/creative activity and service.  The intent of the appraisal is to provide feedback on the areas of satisfactory performance, as well as collegial advice as to how the candidate can improve those areas where there are problems (APM 220-83UCD 220 VI. D).
  • What is acceleration?
  • An acceleration is a merit or promotion review which occurs earlier in time than the normal period for advancement.  Thus, it is a more rapid movement through the ranks and steps than the norm due to an extraordinary record. Accelerations are usually sought when there has been unusually high academic achievement in at least one category (teaching, research, or service) since the last advancement, and at least normal progress in the other categories, i.e., accelerations are not granted if any component of the record is below par. One-year accelerations for Assistant and Associate Professors and one or two year accelerations for Professors are normally reviewed by FPC or SPC and submitted to the Dean for final decision.  Requests for greater than one step in acceleration are reviewed by CAP-OC, with final decision by the Vice Provost. 
  • What is a deferral?
  • A deferral occurs when an academic employee who is eligible for normal advancement does not submit a dossier for review. Some title series require a written formal deferral submitted to the Dean.  Please refer to UCD 220 and UCD 220AF for a list of those employees for which written deferral requests must be submitted.
  • What is an “Acting” title and how is it changed to a regular title?
  • With the exception of the Law School, 'Acting' is placed before the title, under the following circumstances:

    1) when individuals are appointed before their Ph.D. thesis is completed/accepted by the degree granting university (i.e., Acting Assistant Professor).  There is a two year limit on the use of the 'Acting' designation for Assistant Professors, and it can be removed when there is documentation that the degree has been granted;

    2) for Associate and full Professors with exemplary backgrounds in research (usually from industry or government), but who have little or no teaching experience. There is a four year limit on the 'Acting' title for Associate and full Professors and the candidate may apply to have the 'Acting' removed from the title after he/she has satisfactory teaching reviews.  Removal of the Acting title requires review by the Dean, CAP-OC, and the Vice Provost (APM 235).

    In the Law School, the 'Acting Professor' title is used for all new untenured Professorial appointees, in lieu of Assistant or Associate Professor titles.  When those faculty become tenured, the 'Acting' is removed and they are given the full Professor title.

  • What is the five-year review policy?
  • To ensure that faculty standards are being met, UC policy requires that the performance of every Senate member must be evaluated at least once every five years. See APM 200-0UCD-220 and UCD 220- Procedure 4.


II. Dossier

  • What is the dossier?
  • The dossier, or 'packet', is the file compiled to review a faculty member's teaching, research/creative activity, and service activities for a specific review period.  It is prepared by the candidate and department and forwarded to the appropriate administrators and faculty personnel committees for review.

    Currently, dossiers are compiled using the MyInfoVault (MIV) program.  

  • What is the Annual Call?
  • The Annual Call is a document issued in the summer by the Vice Provost--Academic Affairs that describes current changes in policies and personnel procedures, along with due dates for submission of dossiers for non-redelegated actions. Deadlines for submission of all actions to the Dean are determined by the Dean.  You can find the current annual call (as well as historical annual calls) on the Academic Affairs website
  • When are faculty members notified that they are up for a merit or promotion action and are expected to submit a dossier?
  • In the spring or early summer the Dean's office prepares a list of eligible individuals in each department who should be reviewed for merit and promotion during the next academic year. The department chair notifies each individual.  Dossiers are usually due sometime in the fall quarter, and the specific due dates for submission of the file for various types of merit and promotion actions are listed in a due date document published by the Dean's office.  Deadlines for non-redelegated actions to be submitted to the Vice Provost's office are listed in the Annual Call. 
  • What, specifically, is contained in the dossier?
  • See the Academic Senate checklists for the complete list of required documentation for review by type of action.

    The department may have a designated staff member who assists the candidate and chair in assembling his/her dossier.  The following documentation for the review period must be assembled for each dossier: the teaching record (course numbers/titles/credits, class sizes), summaries of student and peer evaluations of teaching; descriptions of any teaching or training grants; numbers of undergraduate and graduate students; and number of postdoctoral fellows being trained in research.  The research record includes a list of publications in a standardized format; letters of acceptance of articles, which have been submitted but not yet published (i.e., items in press); description of research or creative activity presentations; reviews of the publications or presentations; list or description of any grants supporting the research. The service record includes a list of committees and other forms of service to the campus, the candidate's discipline, and to the public.

    In addition, the Candidate's Statement (see FAQ below) and the Departmental Letter are included in the dossier. In the case of promotions and high level merits at Professor VI and Above Scale, a list of extramural reviewers who have been contacted (with notation as to whether they were suggested by the candidate or the department) and their confidential letters in response are added to the file by the Chair. There is a Candidate's Disclosure Certificate for the candidate to review and sign, verifying that he/she has seen the non-confidential content of the file, and also that a summary or redacted copy of confidential materials has been provided.  This document is signed electronically in MIV reviews.

    The following supporting documents are submitted in a separate envelope or box with the dossier:

    - Copies of all publications or creative activities in the review period
    - Summaries of teaching evaluations from all courses and original copies of teaching evaluations from two different courses
    - Teaching materials, such as a syllabus or textbook, written by the candidate.

  • What is the Candidate's Statement?
  • Each candidate has the right to include a personal statement in the file (up to 5 pages), describing the teaching, research/creative activity, and service accomplishments during the period of review.  Although it is optional, this is the opportunity for the candidate to describe progress of his/her research; his/her approach to teaching; as well as to explain unusual circumstances, both positive or negative, which may have affected performance.  For example:

    - Problems with teaching and any solutions the candidate has developed
    - Description of the significance of the research, including any unusual problems which had to be overcome or any       breakthroughs which pushed the research forward
    - Discussion of reviews of the research or publications
    - Explanation of the significance of any awards or honors received during the review period
    - Description of any difficult, time-consuming, or particularly noteworthy committee assignments
  • What is included in the Departmental Letter?
  • The Departmental Letter is an evaluation of the faculty member's record as presented in the dossier.  It reflects the views of the department, not simply the views of the chair.  It may discuss how the candidate meets departmental standards and goals with regard to teaching, research/creative activity, service and professional competence.  The letter also states the department vote.  (UCD 220UCD 220 Procedure 1 and UCD 220, Exhibit A).
  • What can the candidate do if he/she doesn't agree with the Departmental Letter?
  • The candidate is provided an opportunity to review the departmental letter before the file goes forward for review to the Dean's Office.  Although the content of the letter is not negotiable, the candidate should alert the Chair to factual errors.  After these errors are corrected, if the candidate still disagrees with the department's recommendation or wants to clarify statements made in the letter, he/she can write a rejoinder.  Any rejoinder letter must be submitted within 10 calendar days from the candidate's receipt of the departmental letter and his/her signature on the disclosure form (indicating that he/she has read the file and certifies that it is complete and factually correct).  A rejoinder may be sent directly to the Dean or Vice Provost-Academic Affairs if the candidate does not want to submit it to the Departmental Chair.  (APM 220-80 e.)
  • Who votes on personnel actions within a department?
  • UCD Academic Senate Bylaw 55 defines the rights of Senate faculty to vote on personnel actions within their department:  Voting is confidential, and all Senate faculty at or above the rank of the candidate have the right to vote on an action.  The bylaw also allows departments to extend the vote to Senate faculty below rank, as well as emeritae/i, by following the process described in Bylaw 55.  If departmental voting is changed, the new voting procedures must be sent to the Senate office for approval by CAP-OC.  Thus, in some departments all Senate faculty can vote on all Senate candidates.  Although departments may consult with non-Senate faculty on Senate faculty personnel actions, non-Senate faculty may not vote on their Senate colleagues. 
  • When a candidate has an appointment split between two different departments, which one prepares the dossier? Do they both vote?
  • When there is a joint appointment, the home department of the candidate prepares the dossier; the chair of the secondary department(s) also supplies a letter.  Senate faculty in all departments vote on the action according to their individual departmental voting procedures. See UCD 220, Procedure 2.
  • What is the Dean's Letter?
  • After the dossier leaves the department, it goes to the Dean.  For actions that are not redelegated for the Dean's decision, the Dean/Associate Dean reviews the entire dossier and writes a letter of support or non-support of the action.  This letter becomes part of the file, which then goes forward for further review to CAP-OC, the Vice Provost, and for tenure cases, the Provost and Chancellor.
  • What are Extramural Letters? How many are needed? What is meant by 'arm's length reviewers?
  • Extramural letters from evaluators outside the campus constituency are requested by the Chair (faculty must not request them directly from reviewers) reviewing the candidate's qualifications for promotion, or advancement to Professor, Step VI or Above Scale.  The candidate submits a list of outstanding researchers in his/her field who could write such letters, and the Chair, in consultation with the departmental faculty, makes up a second list of potential extramural reviewers (not revealing the names to the candidate).  The Chair then solicits letters from reviewers on each list, asking for an evaluation of teaching, research, and service, and an opinion of the candidate's record for the action at hand.   These letters are confidential; however, the candidate is provided redacted copies prior to the department review and vote, in order to provide any correction to factual errors.

    'Arm's length' means reviewers who are qualified to evaluate the work, but have no connection with the candidate, e.g., they are not a recent mentor, collaborator, or advisor.  This assures that reviewers do not have a conflict of interest (See UCD 220 Exhibit B).

    Between 6-8 letters are usually expected in the review dossier.  Regardless of number however, reviewers find that detailed, informative, evaluative, arm's length letters are the most valuable.  Reviewers will look to see if the extramural referees:

    - Are well known/respected in their field
    - Are at least of rank comparable to the position being sought
    - Discuss the impact of the candidate's research
    - Consider the candidate's career to be on an upward trajectory 

  • What is the process by which dossiers are reviewed, how long does it take, and who does it?
  • Redelegated Merits:  The file is sent by the department to the Dean's office.  For most actions, the Faculty Personnel Committee reviews it; the committee writes a report and the Dean makes a final decision.

    Non-Redelegated Merits:  High level merits at Professor VI and Above Scale, two or more year accelerations in the Assistant or Associate ranks and three or more year accelerations at the Professor rank, are all reviewed by the Dean/Associate Dean, who writes a letter, and sends the file on to be reviewed by CAP-OC and the Vice Provost, who makes the final decision.

    Promotions:  The department sends the file to the Dean for comment (i.e., Dean's Letter); from there it goes to the Vice Provost and then to CAP-OC where it is reviewed.  CAP-OC may recommend a slate of faculty names who could serve on the candidate's Ad Hoc Committee.  These are faculty who are familiar with the research area.  The names are sent to the Vice Provost, appoints the committee.  The committee meets and writes a report, which includes a recommendation for or against the action.  The report then goes back to CAP-OC for review; CAP-OC makes a recommendation to the Vice Provost, who makes the final decision, or in consultation with the Provost and the Chancellor if the action is a tenure decision.

    The length of time the process takes varies with the complexity of the review.  At each step, knowledgeable staff review the dossier to ensure adherence to policy and process.  While merit actions may take only a few months, promotion actions take longer.  Dossiers for promotion are due in November, and the first announcements of the promotion actions are made in January.  Merits and promotions are effective July 1.

    Appraisals: Appraisals are done in the fourth year of appointment at the Assistant rank, and most often accompany a merit action.  The merit action must be complete prior to the final assessment of appraisal. The file goes from the department to the Dean's office, where it is reviewed by the FPC, acting as the ad hoc committee.  The Dean adds comment and the file then goes to CAP-OC and the Vice Provost for additional review and comment.  All comments are then provided to the candidate.

  • Are awards, prizes, and commendations considered in the merit/promotion review?
  • Yes.  They should be fully described in the Departmental Letter and the Candidate's Statement.  Letters of thanks/appreciation for service to the university, the government, a research society, etc., while not included in the dossier, can be discussed in the Departmental Letter or the Candidate's Statement as reflecting the impact of the candidate's service. Prizes, commendations, honors for research, as well as awards given to students/fellows working with the candidate, should be described under the Research category.  Awards for teaching should be described under the Teaching category.


III. Evaluation Criteria for Merit/Promotion

  • What are the evaluation criteria for merit/promotion?
  • See APM 220 and APM 210 for complete details:

    Those in the Professor and Professor in Residence series are to be judged by the following criteria:
    - Teaching
    - Research and creative work
    - Professional competence and activity
    - University and public service

    Those in the Professor of Clinical ___ series are to be judged on the following criteria:
    - Teaching
    - Professional competence and activity
    - Creative work
    - University and public service

    Those in the Lecturer SOE or Sr. Lecturer SOE series are to be judge by the following criteria:
    - Teaching
    - Professional achievement and activity
    - University and public service


IV. Teaching

  • How is teaching evaluated in the personnel review process?
  • The file should contain a complete record of all teaching during the review period: lectures, labs, discussion sessions, one-on-one teaching, etc.  The department should already have student evaluations for all courses as well as the official DESII reports of courses (titles/hours/credits) taught by all departmental faculty each year.  The candidate, however, may need to supply information on courses taught outside the department, -- e.g., Graduate Group courses.  For all promotions, peer evaluation of teaching is also required.  If there is no departmental teaching committee that routinely reviews teaching for the department, the Chair may designate certain faculty members to evaluate the lectures, labs and teaching materials of the candidate. 
  • What are reviewers' particular concerns when evaluating the teaching record?
  • Consideration of the appropriate quantity will vary by department and school/college. This includes the minimum number of courses/credit hours and quality of teaching, as well as the appropriate balance between upper and lower division courses and graduate and undergraduate courses.  It is important that the candidate understand what is considered an average workload and distribution, as well as what are considered acceptable student evaluation scores in his/her own department and college.  New faculty should discuss these departmental expectations with the Chair or a senior faculty member.
  • In evaluating the teaching record, reviewers consider the following points to be important:
  • With regard to quantity of teaching, reviewers want to know if it is within the norm for the department:
    - Is the candidate carrying his/her share of the teaching load in the department?
    - What is the balance between lower and upper division courses?
    - What is the balance between undergraduate and graduate courses?

    With regard to quality, reviewers want to determine if the candidate demonstrates excellence in  teaching.  For example:
    - Does he/she have good-excellent student and peer evaluations?
    - Has he/she shown evidence of trying to improve in areas where student or peer comments have been negative?
    - When there has been a serious problem with a class, has the candidate sought help from the Department Chair, the Teaching Resources Center, or a departmental mentor?
    - Is the department satisfied with the level of learning in fundamental undergraduate courses; i.e., are the students well prepared for subsequent advanced courses?
    - Are there graduate students working with the candidate and are they making good progress toward finishing degree requirements?
    - Are graduate students getting good jobs or postdoctoral positions?
  • What documents are usually submitted to indicate quality of teaching?
  • Confidential student evaluations should be sought for all courses.  The department usually arranges to have courses evaluated, numerical results tallied, and comments recorded.  Sometimes the department uses a standard form. Student evaluations are required for all merit and promotion actions; peer evaluations are required for all promotions.  Faculty who evaluate those courses for the department usually include an assessment of the effectiveness of teaching materials, such as syllabi, slides, PowerPoints, overheads, textbook assignments, as well as the lecture or lab presentations.  If original teaching materials such as a textbook, videotape, CD, or website have been developed by the candidate, copies or links should be submitted with the packet as part of the supporting documentation for the teaching record.
  • What kinds of teaching assignments are included, outside of lecture, lab, and conference/discussion sessions? Is off-campus teaching included?
  • All teaching should be reported (even if there is no course number), including one-on-one teaching, demonstrations, teaching of other faculty, discussion sessions in the dormitories, etc.  Off-campus teaching, (e.g., courses or lectures for the government, community groups, hospital groups, research societies, other colleges and universities, etc.) should also be reported.  If these lectures are evaluated, the evaluations should also be included for assessment of teaching quality.


V. Research/Creative Activity

  • What is meant by 'research or creative activity'?
  • In the APM, 'research' usually refers to scholarly investigative endeavors, while creative activity usually describes activities in areas of the humanities and the arts, such as music composition/performance, theater and dance, creative writing, etc.  Evidence submitted to document achievements in this category include published articles, books, recordings, works of art, videos, and other varied evidence.
  • How does Research/Creative Activity differ among Senate members of the medical school faculty in the Professorial and Clinical__series?
  • Research activities of the Professorial faculty of the medical school, including those in the In Residence series, are similar in many respects to those of Professorial faculty on the rest of the campus, i.e., discovery-type research which tends to be characterized by a focus on hypothesis-driven questions and laboratory or other investigative techniques requiring significant grant support; investigative results are usually published in peer-reviewed journal articles, monographs, and reviews. 

    Creative Activities of the Clinical__faculty tend to fall into the following four categories:
    - Innovations in medical education/training
    - Improvement or integration of new information into clinical practice
    - Study of community health education, health policy and health care delivery
    - Discovery-type research

    Creative activities of the Clinical____faculty must be documented by peer-reviewed publication and/or by dissemination in the medical community, as well as documentation of their use at other institutions, (APM 275 and UCD 275).
  • Does the publication list have to be arranged in any particular format?
  • Yes.  The categories of the bibliography are prescribed in the APM, which separates items into published, in-press, submitted, and in preparation.  Abstracts, reviews, and reports having limited distribution are listed separately.  Policy also prescribes the format of the bibliographic entries.  Faculty who co-author publications are required to describe their role in each publication (idea, development, benchwork, data analysis, writing, etc.) as well as give a description of co-authors, i.e., are they undergraduate, or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, faculty colleagues (See UCD 220 Exhibit C).  Although work that is submitted and in preparation may be listed, only work that is published or in-press is generally considered.
  • How do reviewers evaluate your contribution to a project when there are many authors on the papers?
  • The Departmental Letter should explain the details of the research, who participated in the research, and the candidate's specific role.  The candidate must include a list explaining his/her role in each study, who the co-authors are, and who the primary (or corresponding) author is on each paper, if the candidate is not the first author. 
  • How does a reviewer evaluate the research/creativity category? Are both quality and quantity evaluated?
  • All reviewers consider both quality and quantity to be important.  Quantity during the review period, i.e., productivity, is evaluated, but the specific minimum level of productivity expected will vary by department and discipline, and the Departmental Letter should discuss whether productivity meets the departmental norm.  Quality is judged by the importance and the impact of the work.  Some of the factors used to judge impact are:

    - Venue where work is published; i.e., high quality, peer-reviewed journals, and highly respected presses for books.
    - Citations; i.e., where and the number of citations.  Whereas citations in journal articles are important indicators of the timeliness and impact of a work, citations in reviews, monographs and textbooks are important indicators of a candidate's national or international reputation, and often put the research into perspective with regard to an entire field.  National and/or international impact is an important factor in the review for full Professor. 
    - Critiques of the work.
    - Exhibitions or performances in highly respected galleries, museums, concert halls, etc. 
  • How do reviewers evaluate independence?
  • Independence in research/creative activity is an important criterion for merit and promotion.  A candidate must show that he/she has established a productive research program at UC Davis, as opposed to simply a continuation of research associations within previous training programs or with  previous colleagues.  The candidate must also show that he/she has a cohesive program of research, rather than a mere collection of unrelated papers. Collaboration with colleagues is strongly encouraged, but reviewers will look to see if:
    - The candidate's contribution to the body of work is distinct and can be clearly associated with his/her name
    - The candidate is sole, first, or corresponding author on a significant number of the papers
    - The candidate is the Principal Investigator (PI) on funding of a significant number of the projects in his/her program.
  •  How does a reviewer evaluate the quality of the journals in which you publish? Are online publications acceptable?
  • Journal quality is important, and it is definitely considered by reviewers.  In some departments, the Departmental Letter lists the most important journals in the candidate's field ('top tier'), or discusses the relative qualities of the most common journals in the field. There are also rating services which assign 'impact factors' to journals, which some reviewers use (however impact factors refer to the journals, not the individual papers and thus have limited value); others refer to publications like Citation Index to determine the frequency of reference to the candidate's work.

    In a number of fields, online publication is becoming as important as print journal publication and research societies are rapidly establishing competitive online journals.  Whether or not it is peer-reviewed however, is the important factor for both print and online publication.

  • Does it matter if you have national funding (e.g., NIH, DOD, NASA, NSF, NEA, AHA, etc.) as opposed to campus or local funding? Can you be promoted if you have no grant funding? Do you have to be PI (i.e., Principal Investigator) on a grant to get promoted?
  • The first priority is to have the funding you need to support the studies you propose to carry out, regardless of whether it comes from campus, local or national sources.  All money, whatever its source, buys the goods and services you need to do the experiments, gather the data, or create the artwork.  With regard to national vs. local funding, reviewers look on national funding as not only providing the money to do the studies, but also providing some assurance that a national standard of review has been met; i.e., when a federal grant application undergoes review it is usually by a national panel of experts.  The same can be said about being Principal Investigator.  Although you may have more than enough money as a co-investigator on grants, being PI implies that you have the stature and ability to oversee the entire project and its quality; i.e., you have leadership skills.  Reviewers look on that as a definite plus, but it is not necessarily a sine qua non for promotion in all fields.

    If you need grant money to carry out the studies and you have none, you are not likely to be promoted.  If you don't need money to carry out your program of research/creative activity (i.e., you can be productive without grants), then grantsmanship should not be an issue in the promotion review.  Many departments, however, view grant/fellowship money not only as support for the research and validation that the candidate has a national audience, but also as support for graduate students. Some departments look on the lack of grants as a serious failing - - i.e., a lack of concern for the department and its ability to attract and support graduate students.  Since this opinion about grant funding varies across the campus, new faculty should be sure they understand the expectations of their own department and school/college with regard to grant funds by discussing this with the department Chair or a senior faculty member.


VI. Professional Competence and Activities

  • When is assessment of professional competence important?
  • In certain positions in the professional schools and colleges, such as architecture, business administration, engineering, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine, a demonstrated distinction in the special competencies appropriate to the field and its characteristic activities should be recognized as a criterion for appointment and promotion.
  • What kinds of professional activities are important?
  • Activities where evidence of achievement and leadership in the field and of demonstrated progressiveness in the development or utilization of new approaches and techniques for the solution of professional problems are important.  Examples of the common types of professional activities include:

    - Reviewing of articles, books, or works of art
    - Membership on editorial boards and on research society committees
    - Organizing of symposia
    - Any activity which give faculty opportunities to use their leadership skills 

    Invitations to work with professional groups may also indicate that one's research or creative work is recognized and valued nationally and/or internationally.
  • What are the expectations with regard to professional service for faculty in the Assistant Professor rank?
  • For untenured faculty, ad hoc review for journals, book publishers, or granting agencies, or participation in a professional society committee or a public service organization (e.g., American Heart Association) are generally considered sufficient.  Greater involvement is expected as the candidate advances in rank and step, (APM 210-1d(3)).


VII. Service: University and Public

Service is assessed in two categories: that performed for the university, and for the public sector.

University Service

  • 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 faculty and staff assist and comment to Administration in formulation of campus policies.  Faculty also participate in this endeavor by serving on departmental, college, campus, or systemwide committees, and/or participating in leadership roles, such as Department Chair, Associate Dean or other administrative role.
  • In addition to student advising and committee work, what other activities constitute university service?
  • Committees are generally organized in departments, schools/colleges, Graduate Groups, or can be university-wide or system-wide.  The Academic Senate has both standing and ad hoc committees, which serve the campus and system-wide.  There are also standing and ad hoc administrative committees.  In addition to committees, other service activities include: advising students, mentoring students or junior faculty, managing a departmental website, overseeing/sponsoring student activities, overseeing departmental equipment or facilities, using one's expertise to solve a problem for the department or college, serving as Chair of a department, etc.
  • How much service is enough? How much is too much?
  • It is important to develop a workable balance between teaching, research, and service activities.  When service encroaches upon time that should be used for teaching or research it is too much.  At the early stages of one's career, i.e., before achieving tenure, faculty are expected to have a relatively lighter service load, perhaps consisting of student advising and assignment to a few committees at the department, college, or Graduate Group level.  After achieving tenure, faculty are expected to take on a heavier service load at both campus and systemwide levels.  At the rank of Professor, including the upper levels, in addition to serving on committees, faculty are expected to serve in leadership roles on committees.
  • Is membership in a national organization or a graduate group considered service?
  • Membership in a national organization or graduate group does not in itself constitute service. However, serving on a committee of the national organization or graduate group would be considered service.

Public Service

  • What kinds of public service are usually included?
  • Faculty are expected to serve on department and campus committees, use their expertise to participate in local community, state and federal government review panels and committees, to respond to solicitations for advice in developing public policy, to help organize research meetings, brief legislative staff on current issues, testify at hearings regarding proposed bills, serve on government delegations to foreign countries, and other such activities.
  • Are some activities more important than others; i.e., does the reviewer 'give more credit' for some activities?
  • Yes.  Reviewers recognize that there are hierarchies of activities and that the most important assignments are those requiring more time, effort, and/or expertise.  Extraordinary activities such as chairing committees/panels/societies/public service organizations, acting as an expert witness, editing a journal, representing the university in learned societies, organizing a scientific congress, giving invited lectures or keynote speeches, advising federal, state or foreign governments, advising other colleges, universities, or foundations, are examples of time consuming public service assignments.


VIII. Suggestions for New Faculty

  • Use MyInfoVault, so that new information can be readily added to keep your record up to date.
    The MyInfoVault Program is a data repository that can be used to create a CV, your review dossier, or other documents such as an NIH Biosketch.  The best practice is to enter data as you publish or complete teaching or service to keep your file up to date in the following areas:

    1. Publications (published, in press, and submitted)
    2. Abstracts
    3. Professional activities
    4. Seminars/invited lecturers given
    5. Departmental and campus committees you have served on
    6. Courses or guest lectures you have given
    7. Teaching materials you have developed
    8. Grants acquired and submitted
    9. Student advising assignments
  • Find a mentor. Discuss departmental culture and expectations with respect to teaching, research and service with your Chair and the senior faculty of your department. In addition, you might find it helpful as a new faculty member to have a mentor during the early stages of your career, i.e., someone who can advise you on questions regarding your teaching and research, and departmental expectations. In selecting a mentor look for:
    - A senior faculty member who has successfully moved through the ranks and is willing to mentor
    - Someone whom the faculty consider to be an outstanding teacher and researcher
    - Someone in your research field, a related field, or knowledgeable about your field
    - Someone with whom you would feel comfortable discussing problems which may arise with teaching or research