APP 3-40: Types of Action

Describes normal, accelerated, and decelerated actions. A list of possible actions and their definitions may be found in APP 3-30, Appendix II, Annual Progress Report.

Scope of Reviews: Cases for normal merit increases and accelerations through the level of Professor, Step V are judged on the basis of accomplishments since the last action. Cases for promotion (to Associate Professor, Professor, Professor VI through VIII, or Above Scale) are judged on the basis both of accomplishments since the last action and of cumulative accomplishments.

After the required consultation with members of the faculty, a department may recommend one of the following actions detailed in the sections below.

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A. Normal Merit Increase or Normal Promotion

While serving in the final year of the normal years at rank or step, a candidate is eligible to be considered for a promotion or merit increase which would be effective the following July 1. Normal years at rank and step are specified in the Notes in Appendix I, “Normal Time at Step.”

“Normal” time refers to the standard rate at which the majority of faculty will progress through the ranks and steps. Progress at a faster rate (acceleration) is discussed below in Section B. Progress at a slower rate (No Change or deferral) is discussed below in Section C.

NOTE: Normal merit increases within Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor I-V ranks, although less critical than promotions, are not automatic and do require demonstrated merit. For normal merits, the Short Form may be used. (See APP 3-60).
B. Accelerated Merit Increase or Promotion

Accelerated Merit Increase

An accelerated merit increase occurs when an individual is awarded a merit increase after serving fewer years at a given step than is normal for that salary step, or when an entire step (or more) is skipped.

An accelerated merit increase generally requires “two buckets” of outstanding performance and no substandard third bucket.  For traditional faculty, this means outstanding research/creative work plus one other category of exceptional performance (teaching and/or service); for Professors of Teaching, this requires outstanding teaching plus one other exceptional category of performance (research and/or service). Accelerations at a more senior level will generally require more evidence of exceptional performance than accelerations at a more junior level. Accelerations are an extraordinary request and, as such, require extraordinary justification.

Accelerated Promotion

A promotion may be considered accelerated if an individual is promoted after serving fewer years at a given rank than normal. There are, however, some special situations, explained below:

  1. Assistant Professor – Initial Appointment Higher than “Entry Level” Step I: Promotion from assistant professor to associate professor is normal after six years at rank. However, an assistant professor who is appointed to a level higher than Step I on the basis of comparable service at another institution might serve fewer than six years in rank on this campus before being proposed for promotion, and this would not necessarily be considered an acceleration. Thus, promotion to Associate Professor, Step I, after two years at either Assistant Professor, Step III, or Assistant Professor, Step IV, would be considered normal, depending on the context of the action.
  2. Associate Professor – Initial Appointment Higher than Step I: Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor is normal after six years at rank. However, an Associate Professor who is appointed to a level higher than Step I and who has comparable service at another institution might serve fewer than six years in rank before being proposed for promotion, and this would not necessarily be considered an acceleration.Service in overlapping steps requires special consideration. For example, a promotion to Professor, Step II, after three years at Associate Professor, Step IV, is not an acceleration if the performance during time at Associate Professor, Step IV, is demonstrated to be equivalent to the performance expected during the same time at Professor, Step I. Promotion to Professor I should be considered appropriate and normal in any advancement, and promotion to a higher step should require additional justification for the proposed step.
  3. “Cumulative” Acceleration: Circumstances inevitably arise which make it debatable whether or not a proposed promotion is “accelerated.” In general, CAP expects at least two areas of outstanding performance for an accelerated merit. However, at promotion (Assistant to Associate Professor; Associate to Full Professor) CAP may also consider the appropriate placement for the candidate and consequently relax this two-outstanding-buckets-in the review period rule. For example, if someone was accelerated in the past from Associate Professor, Step I, to Associate Professor, Step III, promotion after two years at Step III could be considered either to be normal (in terms of usual promotion patterns) or accelerated, in that the individual is moving through the rank at an accelerated pace.In all cases for promotion, it is necessary first to address the question of whether the candidate has attained the expected performance level and record of the proposed rank. If the case also involves an element of acceleration, that should be addressed as a secondary issue.A recommendation for acceleration will be considered by the voting members of the department if a request is made by the candidate, the chair, or any other faculty member of the department eligible to vote on the recommendation. After departmental review, it may be determined that the case does not support acceleration. If the candidate insists on pursuing the acceleration, the department should forward a file, with its recommendation, for further review.A dossier proposing an acceleration should always include a discussion of the reasons for the accelerated advancement. In what ways does the candidate’s record justify accelerated advancement? The case made should be commensurate with the degree of acceleration proposed.Major accelerations will come under particular scrutiny by CAP. In general, one of the following criteria must be met:
    1. Extraordinary scholarship and excellent teaching or service during the review period; or
    2. In cases of promotion, extensive, persuasive documentation that the candidate should be at the proposed rank vis-a-vis others in the same academic unit, i.e., is under rank. It is often the case that a Career Equity Review is a more productive way to handle significant underplacement.[/su_note]
C. No Advancement
  1. No Review: If a candidate is not due for normal review (is not serving in the final year of the normal years at step) and, after informal review, the department decides that no formal action is warranted, no file need be prepared for the individual.
  2. Deferral: If an associate professor or professor, who is due for normal review and their last review was positive, requests that a merit or promotion review be deferred for one year, a brief memorandum to that effect from the faculty member should be forwarded, with endorsement by the department chair, to the appropriate dean for approval. If the deferral is approved, review must take place the following year. Exceptions to this policy requires Vice Provost’s review and approval.
    • In those units organized with formal departments, the dean has the authority to approve or deny the proposed deferral. If the dean approves a one-year deferral of review, Academic Personnel should be informed in writing of the decision.
    • In those units organized without formal departments, requests for deferral should be forwarded, with endorsement by the unit administrator, to the Executive Vice Chancellor for review and decision. Such requests should be sent via Academic Personnel.
    • Review may not be deferred for an assistant professor, who must be reviewed for reappointment. In addition, deferral cannot be approved for an associate professor or professor whose last action was “No Change” or “Deferral”.
  3. No Change: If the candidate is due for normal review (and has not been granted a one-year deferral), a file must be prepared and submitted for review even though the individual is not recommended for advancement. In such cases, the action recommended is “No Change.” CAP has noted that a “No Change” contemplated at a normal review period requires careful analysis, especially when it is a repeated no-action decision.
    NOTE: “No Change” is not appropriate for Assistant Professors, who must, at a minimum, be reappointed.
    1. First Review After Normal Time at Step: A number of circumstances can result in a “No Change” recommendation, and the type of documentation which is submitted can vary with the seriousness of the “No Change” recommendation. In cases where the unit and individual agree that “No Change” is appropriate, the Short Form may be used for an initial “No Change” review after normal time at step. If there is disagreement, or if there are other complexities with the case, a dossier should be prepared as if it were a normal merit or promotion file, as appropriate. Where review after normal time at step has resulted in a decision for “No Change,” the department is expected to consider the individual each year thereafter in the review cycle to assess whether the record merits action. However, it is not necessary for the department to forward a formal review file every year. Rather, it must do so when:
      1. the department (or the candidate) believes that the record now merits action, or at the latest,
      2. the normal interval between steps has elapsed since the previous formal review (see below).
    2. Actions If Two Consecutive “No Changes”
      1. After the second consecutive “No Change” at final decision, the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel may initiate a request for the development of an Action Plan by the department Chair, in consultation with the faculty member and Dean.
        1. The purpose of the Action Plan is to place the faculty back on a positive trajectory with regard to areas needing improvement in research productivity, teaching and/or service.
        2. The Plan must include measureable goals that are realistically achievable in annual increments, up to three years, and tailored to each faculty’s unique case. Goals may encompass a wide range of actions and outcomes.
      2. The completed Action Plan should be signed by the faculty, Chair and Dean and submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, via the Office of Academic Personnel, for approval, no later than two months following the final decision.
      3. The Vice Provost for Academic Personnel will review the Action Plan and may request changes/clarification. Approved Action Plan will be communicated in a letter to the faculty member via the Chair and Dean.
      4. Before the end of the next academic year, a progress report will need to be submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel. If the progress report is not satisfactory then Vice Provost for Academic Personnel will meet with the faculty, Chair and Dean.
        1. If progress is satisfactory, the faculty member will be informed in writing. Successful completion of an Action Plan does not assure a positive review during the next CAP review cycle.  Its success should be documented in associated files submitted for CAP review.
        2. If the goals of the Action Plan are not achieved, further action may occur including, in extremely rare cases, the initiation of termination consistent with APM-075 for incompetent performance.
  4. Five Year Review: University policy, Academic Personnel Manual (APM) 200, requires that faculty members be reviewed objectively and thoroughly at least every five years.  Policies pertaining to Five Year Reviews apply to all academic appointees in all professorial series, both Senate and non-Senate.  The period of service at Professor, Step V and higher is indefinite.  Every faculty member should be reviewed at least every five years.  Five Year Reviews are not the same as a No Change, even though there is no advancement in step.  A faculty at Professor, Step V or higher may be making satisfactory progress in all areas, however, they might not be at the high level of accomplishment to warrant advancement to the next step.  Five Year reviews can be proposed as a Satisfactory Five Year review or an Unsatisfactory Five Year review.
    1. Purpose of the Five Year Review: The purpose of the Five Year Review is to comply with the University’s policy that each faculty member’s performance in teaching, research, professional activity, and service must be assessed at regular intervals.
    2. Titles to Which the Five Year Review Applies: The Five Year Review will apply to faculty at indefinite steps (Steps V and above) in the following titles:

      S
      enate:
      Professor
      Professor In Residence
      Professor of Clinical X
      Professor of Teaching (Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment)Non-Senate:
      Adjunct Professor
      Health Sciences Clinical Professor
      Researcher[1]
    3. Chair’s Responsibility in the Five Year Review: The department chair should initiate a Five Year Review for eligible faculty according to the guidelines for academic personnel reviews in APM 160, 200, 210, and 220.  The faculty member whose record is being assessed shall have the opportunity to be informed about the contents of the file and to add materials to the file to the same extent as in other personnel actions. 

      The department should review the file and discuss it with the chair.  The chair should meet with the faculty member to discuss the outcome of the Five Year Review.  Finally, the chair should report in writing regarding his/her consultation with the candidate and the department (including the department vote), and the chair should provide written assessment of the candidate’s performance in teaching, research, university and professional service.
    4. Proposed Recommendation of the Five-Year Review: The proposed recommendation, as a result of the department vote, should propose one of the following:
      1. Advancement: If the performance warrants advancement, the Five Year Review should be terminated and a merit or promotion file should be prepared.  The appropriate merit or promotion dossier should be prepared according with applicable policies and procedures.
      2. No Advancement, performance satisfactory (Satisfactory Five Year Review):  If the performance continues to meet the criteria (as appropriate for the series) for the current step but does not warrant a merit increase at the time, a satisfactory five year review should be prepared. The file should document this satisfactory progress of the academic appointee
      3. No Advancement, performance unsatisfactory (Unsatisfactory Five Year Review):  If some aspects of the performance are less than satisfactory for meeting the criteria that apply to the current step (as appropriate for the series), an unsatisfactory five year review should be prepared. The file should document this unsatisfactory progress of the academic appointee.
    5. Standards for Five Year Review
      1. Satisfactory: To be deemed Satisfactory at an indefinite step, reviewers expects to see evidence of contributions in both teaching and research (with effort commensurate to the faculty’s primary area of emphasis), as well as evidence of meaningful professional and university service.
      2. Unsatisfactory: Faculty who are doing little to no significant work in one or more categories of review (research, teaching, service) are likely to be judged Unsatisfactory. Faculty who are negatively contributing to the university through substandard teaching or service might also be judged Unsatisfactory, even if they are producing meritorious research.
    6. Actions if Final Decision is Unsatisfactory
      1. If the final decision is unsatisfactory, the Vice-Provost for Academic Personnel, may initiate a request for the development of an Action Plan by the Department Chair, in consultation with the faculty member and Dean.
        1. The purpose of the Action Plan is to place the faculty on a positive trajectory that will likely increase the probability of a positive review outcome in the future.
        2. The Plan must include measureable goals that are realistically achievable in annual increments, up to three years, and tailored to each faculty’s unique case. Goals may encompass a wide range of actions and outcomes.
      2. The completed Action Plan should be signed by the faculty, Chair and Dean and submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, via the Office of Academic Personnel, for approval, no later than two months following the final decision.
      3. The Vice Provost for Academic Personnel will review the Plan and may request changes/clarification. Approval of the Action Plan will be communicated in a letter to the faculty member via the Chair and Dean.
      4. Before the end of the next academic year, a progress report will need to be submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel. If the progress report is not satisfactory then Vice Provost for Academic Personnel will meet with the faculty, Chair and Dean.
        1. If progress is satisfactory, the faculty member will be informed in writing. Successful completion of an Action Plan does not assure a satisfactory review during the next review.  Its success should be documented in associated files submitted for CAP review.
        2. If the goals of the Action Plan are not achieved, further action may occur including, in extremely rare cases, the initiation of termination consistent with APM-075 for incompetent performance.
Appendix I: Normal Time at Step (With Overlapping Steps)

Professor Series or Equivalent Titles

Assistant Professor Associate ProfessorProfessor
(8 year limit, tenure-track) (6 years normal, tenured) (indefinite, tenured)
StepsPeriod of Service (years)StepsPeriod of Service (years)StepsPeriod of Service (years)
I2
II2
III2
IV2
V2 (overlapping step)I2
VI2 (overlapping step)II2
III2
IV3 (overlapping step)I3
V3 (overlapping step)II3
III3
IV3
V3
VI3
VII3
VIII3
IX4 normal minimum
A/S4 normal minimum

Note 1: Assistant Professor Rank

On this campus, the normal period of service at the rank of Assistant Professor is six years. (The maximum allowable period of service may not exceed eight years under the Eight-Year Rule. See APM 133.) The normal period of service at a given step is two years.

The first four steps in rank and corresponding salary levels are for normal use. Step I may be considered entry level for a recently completed Ph.D. (in which case, a recommendation for promotion would be normal after two years at Step III). Step II or III might be considered entry level for an appointee with postdoctoral training (in which case, a recommendation for promotion would be normal after two years at Step IV or V).

Steps V and VI may be used in exceptional situations and with proper justification. Service at Assistant Professor, Step V, may be in lieu of service at Associate Professor, Step I, for which the published salary is slightly higher; service at Assistant Professor, Step VI, may be in lieu of service at Associate Professor, Step II. Whether or not the time at these steps should count in lieu of service at the higher level should be addressed at the time of the promotion review. Promotion to the rank of Associate Professor is such an important advancement in the UC system that promotion to Associate Professor I should be considered appropriate and normal in any advancement, and promotion to a higher step requires additional justification for the proposed step. The record should reflect performance commensurate with the step proposed: if the proposal is for Associate Professor II, for example, the candidate should have performance equivalent to others at that step. It would be helpful to include letters from UC faculty who can address the level proposed.

Note 2: Associate Professor Rank

The normal period of service at the rank of Associate Professor is six years. The normal period of service at any one of the first three steps is two years.

Steps IV and V may be used in exceptional situations and with proper justification. Service at Associate Professor, Step IV, may be partly or entirely in lieu of service at Professor, Step I, for which the published salary is slightly higher; service at Associate Professor, Step V, may be partly or entirely in lieu of service at Professor, Step II. Whether or not the time at these steps should count as time at the higher level should be addressed at the time of the promotion review. Promotion to the rank of Professor is such an important advancement in the UC system that promotion to Professor I should be considered appropriate and normal in any advancement, and promotion to a higher step requires additional justification for the proposed step. The record should reflect performance commensurate with the step proposed: if the proposal is for Professor III, for example, the candidate should have performance equivalent to others at that step. It would be helpful to include letters from UC faculty who can address the level proposed.

Note 3: Professor Rank

The normal period of service at any of the first four steps is three years. Service at Step V may be of indefinite duration.

Advancement to Step VI normally will not occur after less than three years of service at Step V. For review purposes, this advancement will be treated like a promotion and will be granted on evidence of great scholarly distinction and national or international recognition, highly meritorious service, and evidence of excellent University teaching. (The Council on Academic Personnel defines teaching activities broadly to include supervision and mentorship of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.) Service at Step VI may be of indefinite duration.

Advancement from Professor, Step VI to Step VII, from Step VII to Step VIII, and from Step VIII to Step IX, usually will not occur after less than three years of service at the lower step and will be granted only on evidence of continuing great distinction, national or international recognition, highly meritorious service and excellent teaching performance.

Note 4: Professor, Above Scale (Merit to, or within, Professor or Professor of Teaching)

Revised 9/1/2020

Advancement to Professor, Above Scale, is reserved for scholars and teachers of the highest distinction whose:

  1. scholarly/creative work has been internationally recognized and acclaimed,
  2. University teaching performance is excellent, and
  3. University, professional, and public service is highly meritorious.

Advancement to Professor of Teaching, Above Scale, is reserved for teachers and scholars of the highest distinction whose:

  1. contributions to teaching and education are outstanding and have received national or international recognition,
  2. scholarly/creative/professional activity in education or the discipline is excellent, and
  3. University, professional, and public service is highly meritorious.

Except in rare and compelling cases, advancement will not occur after less than four years at Step IX. Moreover, mere length of service and continued good performance at Step IX is not a justification for further salary advancement. There must be demonstration of additional merit and distinction beyond the performance on which advancement to Step IX was based.

Senior faculty of distinction play a critical role at UCI, and further advancement at above-scale provides a mechanism to reward those faculty who remain active as professors, scholars and educators. To recognize the range of potential contributions at this level, there are five possible actions. The requirements for each are detailed in the following table:

ActionTiming% increase on total salaryClockExpectations
Merit Plus4 or 5 years10resetExcellence in all three areas.
Merit4 or 5 years8resetProfessor series*: excellence in scholarship and second area;

Professor of Teaching: excellence in teaching and second area;

No area subpar.
No change4 years0not resetDoes not meet standards for merit at 4 years; Required review in year 5.
Satisfactory5 years4resetContinuing contributions in all review areas. No area subpar.
Unsatisfactory5 years0not resetThree year action plan with yearly progress reports required. Must be reviewed no later than 5 years after Unsatisfactory 5-year review.
* Applies to the following titles: Professor/Professor In Residence/Professor Clinical X. 

Professor/Professor of Teaching appointees who have attained Above-Scale status may use the title Distinguished Professor/Distinguished Professor of Teaching, respectively, as an honorary title.

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[1] Under Academic Researchers Unit, Article 21, Professional Research Series, Full Professional Researcher at Step V and above shall be reviewed at least every five years, in accordance with local procedures.[/su_spoiler]

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