Frequently Asked Questions: Specialist in Cooperative Extension Titles

Preparation of the Dossier

  • As a member of the Specialist in Cooperative Extension series, where do I find information on the personnel review process for my series?
  • Academic Affairs procedures are outlined in the Academic Personnel Manual (APM 220 and UCD 220AF). The review process is summarized in the Delegation of Authority. For all academic titles, the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs sends an Annual Call to the deans which is updated and issued after the end of each academic year. It outlines information on changes in the APM and a timeline for submitting documentation for merit and promotion dossiers to the office of the Vice Provost--Academic Affairs. Since these actions must pass through the deans’ offices, each dean provides his/her deadlines for specific types of actions. The Annual Call, APM, and Delegation of Authority Chart are available on the Vice Provost- Academic Affairs webpage. Specialists in Cooperative Extension should review the specific criteria for advancement outlined in APM 334 and UCD 334 (See also: Exhibit A, Evaluating Split Appointments: Specialist in Cooperative Extension with a Professorial Title; and,  Exhibit B, Evaluating Split Appointments: Specialist in Cooperative Extension with an Agronomist (_____ in the Agricultural Experiment Station).
  • What is the normal time between merit and promotion reviews, i.e., how often will I be reviewed?
  • The normal period between merit reviews is two years at Assistant rank and Associate Steps I-III, and three years at Associate Step IV-V and full rank. Promotion to the Associate rank entails a career review of the period since appointment to Assistant rank in the series. Promotion to full title (i.e., Specialist in Cooperative Extension) entails a review of the whole period spent at the Associate rank. The specific salary range and years at rank/step are listed on the Academic Salary Scales for the Specialist in Cooperative Extension series.
  • When will I be notified that I am up for a merit or promotion review and that I am expected to submit a dossier?
  • In the spring/early summer the dean's office sends to department/program chairs a list of individuals who are eligible to be reviewed for merit and promotion during the next academic year. The list is sent to the Chair who then notifies each eligible individual. Due dates for dossiers span the period November to April, and the specific dates for file submission to the office of the Vice Provost--Academic Affairs are listed in the Annual Call. For redelegated actions, due dates are set by the deans.
  • On what criteria will my work in the review period be evaluated?
  • As specified in APM 334 and UCD 334-10, Specialists in Cooperative Extension are evaluated on the following criteria:

    - Performance in extending knowledge and information
    - Research and creative work
    - Professional competence and activity
    - University and public service
  • Specifically, what is in the dossier and who puts it together?
  • The dossier is a summary of the body of work during the period of review presented for review.  Departments often have a designated staff member who works with the chair and the candidate in assembling the dossier. The candidate’s performance in each of the designated categories in question #4 (extending knowledge/information, research/creative work, professional competence/activity, university and public service) will be described by the candidate, either in a Candidate's Statement (UCD 220-IV F. 2) to be optionally included in the dossier, or in a separate document to the chair. The candidate’s Annual Report of Professional Activities can be very helpful in assembling professional achievement and public service information for the dossier.

    From information on the candidate’s performance in the various categories supplied by the candidate, department, supporting documents (e.g., publications, etc.), the approved Voting Group in the department votes and the chair writes the department letter (UCD 220AF, exhibit C) which summarizes the departmental evaluation of the candidate’s record, the results of the vote, and a recommendation for or against advancement. In the case of promotions, a list of extramural reviewers who have been contacted (with notation as to whether they were suggested by the candidate or the department, and whether they responded) is also included. Their confidential letters are part of the dossier, and only redacted copies of these letters are shared with the candidate. For promotions and merits to full rank step VI and first step Above Scale, a list of all of the external reviewers solicited is also included, with notation as to whether they were suggested by the candidate or the department, and whether they responded. This list is a confidential document and is therefore not reviewed by the candidate. Their confidential letters are part of the dossier voted on by the department Voting Group and submitted as part of the dossier going forward. Only redacted copies of these letters are shared with the candidate.

    Also included in the dossier are: a position description, list of extending knowledge activities, list of extension teaching evaluations, list of service activity, list of contributions of jointly authored works, list of publications. Please refer to the Checklist for Merits and Promotions.
  • How is the performance record documented and prepared for evaluation?
  • The performance record is assessed according to the candidate’s position description, which includes the criteria for review listed above (question #4) Documentation (supplied by the candidate or the department) is needed to support performance descriptions in each category, and can consist of the following examples:

    Performance in Extending Knowledge and Information:
    Written materials associated with outreach to agricultural groups, consumer
    groups, or other constituency groups, such as:
    - Letters of invitation;
    - Course materials;
    - Workshop agendas;
    - Newsletters, etc.

    Research, i.e. Applied Research, Creative Activity:
    - List publications in the required format; (See UCD 220 Exhibit C: Guidelines for Preparation of Publication and Other Creative Efforts Lists)
    - Briefly describe each publication detailing candidate’s specific role in each article;
    - List abstracts of presentations (talks, posters, etc.) at meetings
    - List/describe any grants/competitive funding supporting your various projects, including: name of Principal Investigator and all co-investigators, title of project, amount of funding, inclusive dates, and brief description of purpose of the grant and the role of the candidate.

    Professional Competence and Activity:
    Participation in activities specifically related to one’s discipline/expertise: If the candidate uses his/her expertise to further the related goals of the University, a government agency, a public organization/association, consumer/agricultural group etc., these activities constitute examples of professional competence:

    - List any professional society memberships you hold and describe any offices you hold in those organizations, or activities you have participated in, such as chairing a session at a research meeting or giving a plenary lecture, etc.;
    - List any service as an editor or editorial board member;
    - Describe other activities you have participated in for a research society or journal, such as writing an invited review article; organizing a research meeting/symposium, etc.

    University and/or Public Service:

    University Service:
     Participation in the governance of the university,
    maintenance of its facilities, provision of services to its faculty and
    students, such as:
    - List committee assignments (department, college, graduate group, AF, campus, systemwide) with inclusive dates and with role;
    - List assignments to chair a committee;
    - List/describe assignments to oversee a departmental facility, or manage a departmental website.

    Public Service: Participation in local/state/federal programs, review panels
    and committees where the candidate’s expertise is needed, or in public
    organizations related to the candidate’s discipline, such as:
    - List/describe any government committee assignments (review panels, study sections, advisory committees);
    - Describe any participation in the briefing of legislative staff, etc.;
    - Describe any requests for testimony at bill hearings, etc.
  • Are awards, prizes, and commendations considered in the merit or promotion review?
  • Yes. They should be fully described in the department letter and in the Candidate’s Statement. A list of grants, honors and awards is also included with the dossier. 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 department letter as indicators of 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.
  • Once the candidate, or the department, assembles all of the above information, how is it presented in the dossier?
  • The candidate may send the above information to the chair with/without further commentary; or, the candidate may include a Candidate’s Statement (UCD 220-IV F.2) which would then be considered by the Peer Group and the Voting Group. It may also be included in the dossier that goes forward for review outside the department. Refer to UCD 220AF and the appropriate checklist for your action. The following examples describe the kinds of information which may be included in the Candidate’s Statement, the Peer Group Report, and the Department Letter.

    Candidate’s Statement (UCD220-IV F.2): Each candidate may include a personal statement in the file (up to 5 pages), describing their perspective on any or all aspects of their performance during the period of review. Although optional, it is an opportunity for the candidate to describe: significant accomplishments during the review period; philosophy of service; and any unusual circumstances, both good and bad, that have affected performance in the various areas. For example:
    - Description of the significance of the research, any unusual problems which had to be overcome, or any breakthroughs which pushed the research forward;
    - 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.

    Peer Group Report (Optional inclusion in dossier): The Peer Group which was specifically selected according to the department’s plan, evaluates the candidate’s performance, reviews the written materials and advises the department on the merits of the personnel action.

    Department Letter: The letter is written by the chair (or a senior member of the department) and reflects the department’s evaluation (not merely the chair’s) of the adequacy of performance of the candidate, i.e. whether he/she meets departmental expectations and goals in the various areas of responsibility. In addition to the analysis of work performance i.e., outreach, research, professional competence, and university/public service, the letter includes the views of the peer group reviewing the dossier, as well as the official vote (i.e., that of the approved Voting Group); it includes the number of yes, no, and abstention votes and any reasons expressed for the no or abstention votes. There are sample departmental letters at UCD 220AF Exhibit C.
  • When are extramural (non-UC Davis) letters needed?
  • For promotions and merits to full Specialists in Cooperative Extension VI and first merit to Above-Scale, evaluation of the quality of the work or service is sought from extramural individuals who would have the expertise/knowledge to provide an objective evaluation of the candidate’s accomplishments during the period of review. Such external reviewers could include administrators of government programs or agencies with whom the candidate has interacted, scientists, researchers or other experts in the field, etc. The candidate provides the chair with a list of potential extramural reviewers and their qualifications to serve as reviewers. The chair, sometimes after consultation with senior members of the department, generates another list that is not revealed to the candidate. The chair then selects names from each list and solicits the letters. The combined list of reviewers who were contacted is included in the dossier, with notation as to whether the names were suggested by the candidate or the department. Letters can be requested from faculty on other UC campuses, particularly from people holding comparable positions who are familiar with the candidate’s work. The confidential letters in response to the solicitation are added to the file by the chair.
  • How many extramural letters are needed?
  • A minimum of five letters are expected in the review dossier (more than five may be requested to ensure that at least five will respond). In many instances letters will be solicited from individuals who have interacted with the candidate in some capacity (i.e., research, service, or outreach) during the review period; this does not constitute a conflict of interest because it is one of the main ways in which the University assesses the effectiveness of its outreach programs. Campus reviewers will look to see if the extramural referees:

    - Are respected in their field;
    - Are at least of a rank comparable to the position being sought if they are university employees;
    - Discuss the impact of the candidate’s outreach/research/service;
    - Consider the candidate’s career to be on an upward trajectory;
    - Discuss the context in which they have known the candidate (below their signature line).
  • What supportive documentation is appended to the dossier?
  • - Copies of research publications from the review period: articles, books, abstracts, etc.
    - Materials related to interactions with outreach groups: teaching evaluations (if any), newsletters, brochures, etc.
  • Does the candidate see the department letter?
  • Yes. The candidate must be provided an opportunity to review the departmental letter before the departmental vote and before the file goes forward for review. This gives the candidate an opportunity to alert the chair to any factual errors.
  • What can the candidate do if he/she doesn’t agree with the Departmental Letter?
  • Although the content of the letter is not negotiable, the candidate should alert the chair to factual errors. After these errors are corrected, the candidate can write a rebuttal if he/she still disagrees with the department’s recommendation or wants to clarify statements made in the letter. Any rebuttal 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 rebuttal may be sent directly to the dean or Vice Provost-Academic Affairs if the candidate does not want to submit it via the department chair.
  • What is the Candidate’s Disclosure Certificate?
  • The Candidate's Disclosure Certificate is a standard form which the candidate reviews and signs, verifying that he/she has seen the non-confidential content of the file and that it is complete and free of factual errors, and also that a summary or redacted copy of confidential materials has been provided, if applicable.
  • In summary, what documents are in the dossier, or appended to it, when it leaves the department?
  • The Specialist in cooperative Extension candidate can use the Checklist for Merits and Promotions for on the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs web page to determine whether they have included all the necessary information in the dossier. The Candidate’s Disclosure Certificate is also on the vice Provost-Academic Affairs web page (Forms and Checklists).

    Dossier Inclusions:

    Department Letter (including the vote; peer evaluations for promotion actions)
    Candidate’s Disclosure Certificate
    List of Invited Extramural Reviewers (for promotions and merits to full rank step VI and first Above Scale)
    Extramural Reviewer Letters (for promotions)
    Candidate’s Statement (optional)
    Position Description
    List of extending knowledge activities
    List of Service Activity
    List of contributions of jointly-authored works
    Complete List of Publications

    Peer Group Review (optional)
    List of Grants, Honors and Awards (if any)

    Appended Materials (To be returned to the candidate):
    Extension Teaching Evaluations (if any)
    Extension course outlines (if any)


Review of the Dossier

  • What is the dean’s letter?
  • After the dossier leaves the department, it goes to the dean’s office. For actions that are redelegated to the dean for final decision, the Joint Academic Federation/Senate Personnel Committee (JPC) evaluates the dossier and appended materials, then writes comments regarding their evaluation of the candidate’s performance and makes a recommendation on the action. This recommendation then goes to the dean for approval or denial. In general, the dean writes comments only if he/she disagrees with the recommendation of the JPC.

    If the action is not redelegated, the dean (or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs/Personnel) reviews the entire documentation and indicates concurrence or does not concur with the recommended action. If the dean does not concur with the recommendation, he/she writes a letter of support or non-support that becomes part of the file that is forwarded for  review by the JPC and returned to the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs for a final decision.
  • What is the process by which dossiers are reviewed, how long does it take, and who does it?
  • The process is summarized in the Delegation of Authority for each title series.

    Department: Once the dossier has been assembled, it is reviewed within the department by a Peer Group that will provide evaluative comments to the voting members of the department (i.e., the Voting Group). The latter will review the entire file, including the Peer Group comments and vote on the action. For those candidates with teaching responsibilities: AF and AS votes are tallied separately and reported in two separate department letters (However, only one letter needs to include a detailed evaluation /discussion about the candidate’s performance unless the views of the AS and AF voters differ). In addition, the chair may include comments from the Peer Group review. The complete dossier is then forwarded to the dean.

    Dean/Associate Dean for Personnel: If advancement is a redelegated action, the Dean’s Office sends all of the materials to the JPC for review and recommendation. The Dean makes the final decision after reviewing all of the information, including the recommendation of the JPC.

    In the case of non-redelegated actions, the Dean reviews the materials after receipt from the department and evaluates the record. If the dean concurs with the recommendation and has no further comment, he/she forwards the file for review to the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs office.  The dean only writes a letter if he/she has additional comment in support of the action, or does not concur with the proposed action.  This letter would be included in the file.

    Vice Provost-Academic Affairs: All materials are sent to JPC, the members of which evaluate the materials and adds their written recommendation to the file. All of these materials are then reviewed by the Vice Provost, who makes the final decision based on all the information in the file.

    Process/Time Frame: The length of time necessary for the whole process varies with the complexity of the review. Staff check the file at all stages (Department, Dean’s Office, and Vice Provost’s Office) to ensure that all necessary documents are included and that the correct processes have been followed; every effort is made to expedite the file through the process. While redelegated merit actions may need only a few months to reach the dean for a final decision, non-redelegated promotion actions, which have to be reviewed by the dean, a personnel committee, and the Vice Provost, may take several months longer. Most final decisions are made by the end of the academic year (June), but any that are not completed and had met the deadline leaving the department, will be completed during the summer or early fall and are made effective retroactive to July 1st.
  • What personnel committee has responsibility for reviewing Specialists in Cooperative Extension?
  • Specialist in Cooperative Extension dossiers are reviewed by the Joint Academic Federation/Senate Personnel Committee (JPC):

Reviewer's Concerns

The following topics are typical of the concerns of the various reviewers (Peer Group, Department Chair, Voting Group, Dean, Personnel Committee, and Vice Provost-Academic Affairs) who will evaluate the file. (See: APM 334-10 and UCD 334-10). A candidate’s performance will be judged on the quality of the specific areas of responsibility as identified in the position description and criteria for the position (UCD 334-10 a-b).


Performance in Extending Knowledge and Information

  • What is meant by ‘extending knowledge and information’?
  • Specialists in CE are expected to develop and present educational programs for off-campus clientele groups who would be considered constituency groups having interest in the candidate’s discipline. The educational program should extend knowledge to address problems and issues affecting the constituency groups to further the outreach mission of the university. Educational activities might include interacting with:

    - Other Specialists in CE;
    - CE Advisors;
    - Work groups;
    - Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) personnel;
    - Teaching faculty; or outside clientele groups

    Developing and presenting educational materials; communicating to clientele through:

     - Media (broadcast, print, electronic)
    - Preparing and distributing newsletters to clientele groups
    - Meeting with clientele;
    - Working with public or private schools;
    - Teaching University Extension courses or short courses
    - Developing and presenting in-service training courses
    - Organizing or presenting workshops;
    - Field tours
    - Symposia

    Planning research and educational programs by AES and CE
  • How will performance be evaluated?
  • A candidate’s choice of activities will be based on what is appropriate for his/her program. Evidence of the successful extension of knowledge may be documented by reports of program success (e.g. behavior change, new applications adopted, etc.). Letters from constituency group clientele may be used as documentation of program quality.


Professional Competence and Activities

  • What kinds of professional activities are usually engaged in by Specialists in Cooperative Extension?
  • The candidate's professional activities should be scrutinized for 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. The candidate’s dossier should provide a list of professional activities. The departmental letter should provide an analysis of the quality of work.


University and Public Service

  • What are the typical types of university service expectations for Specialists in Cooperative Extension?
  • Service is assessed in two categories: that performed for the university and that for the public sector. Expectations for service vary among the AF titles and should be specified in each candidate’s position description based on the criteria of their series.

    Specialists in CE are evaluated on both the amount and quality of their service to the department, college, campus, including AF and systemwide committees, and to the public. Particular attention is given to service that is directly related to the candidate’s professional expertise and achievement.


Special Review Considerations

The review considerations that apply are summarized in the Academic Personnel Attribute Chart. For specific procedures see UCD 220AF Academic Federation Review and Advancement. In addition to normal merit and promotion actions, Academic Administrators are eligible to be considered for the following:

Acceleration: Acceleration is a merit or promotion action that occurs prior to eligibility for normal advancement; i.e., the candidate can be considered for review if the record of performance has been exceptionally strong in at least one major aspect of the candidate’s position description since the last advancement and there was at least normal progress (i.e., very good to excellent) in all other categories. Accelerations are not granted if any component of the record is below expectation. All AF series are eligible to be considered for accelerations. See Delegation of Authority.

Appeal: A Specialist in Cooperative Extension has the right to appeal his/her denied personnel action within 30 calendar days of notification of denial by submitting an appeal letter via the chair, to the dean, addressing each of the specific criticisms which led to the denial recommendation by the reviewer(s). Since the action is non-redelegated, the dean evaluates the appeal, writes a recommendation, and forwards all of the material to the office of the Vice Provost-Academic Affairs. These materials are then referred to the JPC for review and recommendation. The Vice Provost-Academic Affairs makes the final decision after reviewing all materials including the recommendation from JPC.

Term Appointment: A term appointment is an appointment for a specific period that ends on a specified date. An appointment with an established ending date is self-terminating subject to the notice requirements of APM 137-32. The University has the discretion to appoint and reappoint non-Senate academic appointees with term appointments; reappointment is not automatic. Appointees at the Assistant rank for Specialist in Cooperative Extension series have term appointments.