Academic Specialist vs. Staff Research Associate

 Specialist (Junior, Assistant, Associate, and Full)Staff Research Associate (SRA) I-V
Position TypeAcademicStaff
Union RepresentationNoYes
Research Support Staff (RX) - UPTE
Supervised byAcademic supervisorAcademic or staff supervisor
Initiating Recruitment (this process may vary by campus)Academic hiring supervisor submits to department/divisional academic personnel coordinator request with draft posting, including outline of responsibilities, nature of research, qualifications, rank and terms of appointment.Approved by staff human resources upon review of detailed job description, percentages of time, and qualifications.
ClassificationApproved by dean (or other administrator as designated by the campus) upon review of responsibilities, intellectual/scientific contributions to the field, and qualifications. Academic appointees do not have pre-specified, detailed job descriptions as duties and percentages of effort change over time depending on the course and results of the research.Approved by staff human resources upon review of detailed job description, percentages of time, and qualifications.
Criteria for AppointmentPerformance in research in specialized area, professional competence and scope of professional activities, and University and public service. Bachelor's or advanced degree frequently required.Meets minimum qualifications of the position as reflected in the job description.
Hiring/Appointment ProcessAt the conclusion of the recruitment, interviews, and selection, the principal investigator/director/department chair compiles appointment dossier including candidate's CV, funding information, and a letter of justification which recommends rank and step and briefly outlines responsibilities and nature of research, along with supporting letters of recommendation for designated ranks. Dean (or other administrator as designated byt eh campus) reviews the recruitment documentation and dossier, and issues appointment letter outlining the terms and conditions of appointment, including rank, step, and end date of appointment.At the conclusion of recruitment, interviews, and selection, hiring supervisor requests staff human resources to extend an offer of employment. Normally hired at step 1 of the recruited classification. Above-step hire may be considered in certain circumstances, e.g. there has been difficulty attracting qualified applicants for the position, candidate's current salary is above step 1, etc.; requires dean's approval.
Option for Without Salary AppointmentYesNo
Security of EmploymentAppointments are temporary with a specified ending date of normally one to three years. Reappointment is dependent on availability of funding and a positive review based on professional competence and activity, including the value and impact of the individual's contributions to the field, their advancement of knowledge in the discipline, and their University and public service as judged by other academics and scientists through a process of peer review. May be released prior to the end date due to poor performance only after taking appropriate corrective action.Employees in career positions are considered permanent and may be released due to poor performance only after taking appropriate corrective action.
Merit IncreaseSalary increase within rank normally awarded at time of reappointment or on July 1, dependent on campus policy. Advances occur every one to three years depending on title, rank and step of the position (see academic salary scales for normal number of years at rank and step). Step increases are typically 5-10%. Requires merit/promotion dossier, including updated CV and letter from PI or department describing individual's professional competence and activity, including value and impact of contributions to their area of research, advancement of knowledge in the discipline, and their University and public service as judged by other academics and scientists through the peer review process. External letters of recommendation, department votes, Academic Senate review, and/or copies of publications required at some levels. Salary recommended by PI or department based on accomplishments and funding availability. Authority to approve merits depends on rank/step and may rest with the dean or executive vice chancellor and provost.Salary increase within classification based on an annual performance evaluation and the outcome of collective bargaining. Merits are generally effective on October 1 of each year. Eligibility criteria generally include: must be in a career position, completed a probationary period, and received an overall rating of "satisfactory" or better on their last performance evaluation. Annual appraisals assess performance-based competencies, e.g. job knowledge, quality of work, productivity, flexibility, initiative, problem-solving, teamwork, dependability, and interpersonal skills.
Promotion/ReclassificationPromotion is a change in rank normally awarded at time of reappointment (one to three years depending on title, rank and step; see academic salary scales for normal number of years at rank and step). Promotions typically represent a 5-10% salary increase. Requires a promotion/reappointment dossier including updated CV and letter form PI or department describing individual's professional competence and activity, including value and impact of individual's contributions to their area of research, advancement of knowledge in the discipline, and their University and public service as judged by other academics and scientists through a peer review process. External letters of recommendation, department votes, Academic Senate review, and/or copies of publications may be required at some levels. Salary recommended by PI/department based on accomplishments and funding availability. Authority to approve promotions depends on rank/step, resting with dean, evcp, or chancellor or other administrator as designated by the campus.Promotion for a staff employee is the change via open recruitment to another position which has a higher salary range maximum than the employee's current position. An upward reclass is a change in classification resulting when an employee assumes higher-level responsibilities while retaining some of the duties of their current position. A revised job description is required and the classification decision is made by staff human resources. The normal salary increase upon reclass is approximately 5-6% or to the minimum of the salary range of the new classification, whichever is greater. Union notification is required.
Other Salary IncreasesSalary advancements to address retention, equity, etc. are dependent on campus policy.Other within classification staff increases: Stipend - increase provided when employee is temporarily assigned new duties. Equity increase - increase provided when new duties assigned permanently but reclass to higher classification not appropriate, or to address an equity or retention situation. The normal salary increase for a stipend or equity is 5-6%.
Eligibility for Health and Welfare BenefitsSame as SRAEligible for UC benefits (full, mid-level, core, or no benefits) depending on length and % time of appointment. Must be at least 43.75% time to receive any level of benefits. Employees appointed at least 50% for 12 months or more or who attain 1000 hours on pay status within a 12-month period are automatically enrolled in the UC Retirement Program and are eligible for full benefits.
VacationEligible to accrue if appointed for at least 6 months at 50% time or more. Accrue 16 hours per month if full-time regardless of length of service. Not eligible to accrue if drop below 50% time. Upon separation or transfer to a position that does not accrue vacation, employee is paid for any unused vacation.Eligible to accrue if appointed for at least 6 months at 50% time or more. Accrue 10 hours per month if full-time and has less than 10 years of service. Accrual rate increases incrementally to a maximum rate of 16 hours per month after 20 years of service. After meeting eligibility criteria, part-time employees accrue proportionately even if they drop below 50% time. Upon separation or transfer to a position that does not accrue vacation, employee is paid for any unused vacation.
Sick leaveSame as SRAEligible to accrue if appointed 50% time or more. Full-time appointees accrue 8 hours per month. Part-time employees appointed at least 50% accrue proportionate to their percent time.
FLSA Exemption StatusExemptNon-exempt
Probationary PeriodNoneServe six months probation during which time may be released at sole discretion of the University. May receive up to six months credit toward completion of probationary period for time served in same or similar job on a temporary basis. Probationary period may be extended for up to three months.
Layoff ProvisionsAppointees who are laid off or involuntarily reduced in time have preferential rehire and recall rights for a period of not more than one year. Severance pay is not an option.Employees in career positions who are laid off or involuntarily reduced in time have preference for rehire and recall rights for a period of one to three years depending on their length of service. Employees may opt for severance pay in lieu of preferential rehire/recall or a combination of severance pay and preferential rehire/recall

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