Step Plus System

Staircase in Shields Library

The Step Plus system, as described below, was implemented effective July 1, 2014 and adopted immediately for personnel actions in the Senate titles of Professor, Professor in Residence, Professor of Clinical__, and Acting Professor of Law. On July 1, 2015, the Step Plus System was implemented for the following title series: Adjunct Professor, Agronomist in the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), Specialist in Cooperative Extension (CE), Health Sciences Clinical Professor, Professional Researcher, Project Scientist, and Specialist. On July 1, 2017, Step Plus was implemented for the following title series: Academic Administrator, Academic Coordinator, Assistant/Associate University/Law Librarian, Continuing Educator, and University Extension Teacher.


Overview of the Step Plus System for Personnel Actions

A. These guidelines are to be used in addition to the policies, procedures, and exhibits provided in the Academic Personnel Manual (APM) and the APM-UCD. If an apparent conflict between the APM and the Step Plus guidelines is discovered, please contact Academic Affairs for guidance.

B. New appointments are allowed only at full steps.

C. Normative schedule. All merits are considered on a fixed two-, three- or four- year schedule, as determined by normative time at their current rank and step. Normative time is defined in APM 220-18, or applicable title series policy, and can also be found on the Step Plus System Salary scales . At every review, the individual may be considered for more than one step, i.e. 1.5 steps, 2 steps, etc. (Guidelines for Advancements- Senate, Guidelines for Advancements – Federation; Guide for Step Plus Promotions and Barrier Steps; Above Scale Merits in the Step Plus System)

D. An advancement of only 0.5 step is not an option in the Step Plus system.

E. Promotions to Associate and Full ranks can be accelerated in time or can be evaluated according to Step Plus Guidelines, but not both. (See Guide for Step Plus Promotions and Barrier Reviews)

F. Advancement to Step 6, or equivalent step, and to Above Scale, like other merits, will only be considered on the fixed three- or four-year schedule.

G. Advancements of greater than two steps are permitted in Step Plus, although they are expected to be extremely rare.

 

Academic Federation Step Plus Process Overview (additional considerations)

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 greater than 1.0-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 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.


Action Form for Step Plus

The Action Form should reflect, as the default action type, a 1.0-step advancement for all actions during the initial department review and vote. This is also true for Above Scale actions (see first Above Scale formula at http://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/policies/stepplus/further-above-scale-merits.html; after which Above Scale actions of 1.0-step = 5% salary increase).

Reminder: If the action is an Endowed Chair/Professorship Appointment/Reappointment or a Department Chair Five-Year Review, the current and proposed status on the Action Form should be the same rank and step.

  • If the candidate’s advancement eligibility (up to 2.0 steps) could potentially cross a promotion/barrier step, the department should prepare the dossier matching the longest potential review period. If advancement to promotion or a barrier step would require extramural letters, the candidate must be consulted regarding soliciting extramural letters. The actual solicitation of letters can be delayed until after the initial department vote. However, if any of the recommending bodies (departments, FPC or deans) makes a recommendation for an advancement that requires extramural letters (promotion or crossing a barrier step), additional review and voting are required by the department(s) after receipt of the extramural letters.
  • In the case of an evenly split vote, the highest step supported by at least half of the voters shall be the department recommendation. Every department shall determine how to consistently include/exclude abstentions in the total number of eligible department voters.
  • Although this practice should not be encouraged, the candidate may make the case for a particular advancement (1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 steps) in their candidate’s statement. However, this request per se does not affect either the Action Form or Delegation of Authority.
  • After the results of the department vote are shared with the candidate, the candidate retains the option to pursue the action even if advancement is not supported by the majority of department voters. (In this case, the Action Form should be presented as a 1.0-step advancement.) Alternatively, the candidate may defer consideration for advancement by requesting a deferral, unless policy requires promotion or five-year review. 
  • The primary department should update the proposed status on the Action Form to reflect the highest advancement recommendation from any of the candidate’s departments (home department, secondary department, etc.). The proposed action then determines the delegation of authority (see delegation discussion below). If the action is an Above Scale merit, please include the rate of the proposed action (1.0-, 1.5- or 2.0-step advancement) in the field “Rank and Title” under the Proposed Status in the Action Form.

Delegation of Authority Guidance

The Delegation of Authority for the action should be updated by the primary department after the recommendation(s) of the department(s) is/are received. The Delegation of Authority may also be changed after receipt of the recommendation(s) from the Faculty Personnel Committee(s) (FPC) and/or dean(s). To determine the delegation of authority, see http://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/dofa.cfm and use the following guidance:

  • If none of the reviewing bodies (departments, FPC or deans) supports more than either a 1.0- step or 1.5-step advancement, and that highest supported advancement action is redelegated, then select “Redelegated” as the delegation of authority. If this redelegated action is the first action after appointment or promotion, the dean has decision authority and FPC review is optional.
  • If any department recommends a 2.0-step advancement or an action that is a promotion or merit that crosses a barrier step, the action is entered as “non-redelegated”. This applies to any primary or joint department(s) recommendation(s). Depending on how the dossier was prepared or if the barrier step requires extramural letters, the action may need to be returned to the primary department for possible dossier changes and new vote(s)/recommendation(s) from all departments. 
  • If the FPC, primary dean, or joint dean makes a recommendation for a 2.0-step advancement or an action that crosses a barrier step, the action becomes non-redelegated. Depending on how the dossier was prepared or if the barrier step requires extramural letters, the action may need to be returned to the department level for possible dossier changes and new vote(s)/recommendation(s).