A faculty member’s academic career customarily begins with appointment to the rank of Assistant Professor. At UCLA the Assistant Professorship has four steps, each at a different salary, and normal progression through the rank takes eight years, or two years at each step. A candidate is usually appointed at Step I or Step II, depending upon experience. Sometimes that experience justifies Step III or, in most unusual cases, Step IV, but these are exceptions to normal practice.
An appointment is initiated by the Chair of the candidate’s department, after appropriate consultation with members of the departmental faculty, by addressing a letter of request and recommendation to the Dean, setting forth as fully as possible the candidate’s qualifications. The Chancellor or, by delegation of authority, the Dean acts upon the departmental recommendation. In the event of approval, the Dean makes the formal offer of appointment to the candidate.
II. Reappointment and Merit Increase
In the second year of an appointment an Assistant Professor becomes a candidate for reappointment to another two-year term and for advancement on merit to the next Step. There is no prior assurance of such reappointment and advancement because decisions about retention and advancement of the candidate are based on a careful review, by the department and the Dean, of the Assistant Professor’s progress, promise, and achievement according to criteria to be detailed below. Fiscal and programmatic considerations may also affect the decision. Because decisions are based on merit, the progress of a highly meritorious candidate through the rank may be, and frequently is, accelerated by one or more years. An Assistant Professor may not serve more than eight years in the rank, but may well serve less.
III. Formal Appraisal and Promotion
During the Assistant Professor’s fourth year of service in the rank, the department makes a formal appraisal, which is forwarded to the appropriate Dean, the Council on Academic Personnel, and the Chancellor. The purpose of the appraisal is to provide an early assessment of likelihood of eventual qualification for promotion to tenure rank and to identify any areas of weakness or imbalance in the record which appear to require correction.
In the seventh year (or earlier if justified), an Assistant Professor becomes a candidate for promotion to the Associate Professorship, which confers tenure. A recommendation for (or against) promotion is prepared by the department. Section 220 of the Academic Personnel Manual sets forth in detail the procedure to be followed within the department in promotion cases, including the opportunity for the candidate to contribute to the process. When the file in the case is complete, the Chair of the department forwards it through the Dean to the Council on Academic Personnel which refers it to an ad hoc review committee of the faculty, nominated by the Council on Academic Personnel and appointed by the Chancellor. This committee typically consists of four members with one member from the candidate’s department. However, the committee will not include a member from the candidate’s department when a department’s recommendation is unfavorable, or the department is divided in its assessment. The committee’s response is submitted (anonymously) to the Dean for final comment and recommendation, to the Council on Academic Personnel for its recommendation, and the case is then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for decision.
IV. Criteria for Advancement
For all faculty members in the regular Professorial Series, the criteria for advancement, briefly stated, are:
2. research and creative work;
3. professional competence and activity; and
4. university and public service.
A full explanation and analysis of these criteria are provided in the instructions to Review and Appraisal Committees. Because of its continuing importance to the faculty member every appointee should become familiar with this document. See Appendix 5 for "Instructions to Review and Appraisal Committees."
In general, the first two criteria are more important than the last two, though the last two are not to be neglected. It should be noted that the instructions especially emphasize the following statement:
"Superior intellectual attainment, as evidenced both in teaching and in research or other creative achievement, is an indispensable qualification for appointment or promotion to tenure positions."
At UCLA great attention is paid to every faculty member’s ability and achievement as a teacher, and there are numerous awards (University-wide, departmental, and student-generated) for good teaching. Evaluation of teaching by students is required not only by Instructions to Appointment and Promotion Committees, but also by the Academic Senate’s statement of policy:
"It is essential to the evaluation of instructional quality and impact that candid, non-selected and reasonably complete student opinion on teaching effectiveness be obtained for all courses and instructors. Student opinion, in writing, should be regularly solicited for all course offerings, and each department or School should devise its own procedures to this end. Reasonable uniformity and consistency in procedures within each department should be maintained, but it is recognized that differences in subject matter and methodology between departments make it unreasonable to specify a University-wide format."
V. Non-Renewal and Terminal Appointment
During a review of a formal appraisal, or consideration of renewal or promotion of an Assistant Professor (or other appointee of equivalent rank), if the Vice Chancellor’s preliminary assessment is not to reappoint or promote, or is contrary to the departmental recommendation, the Department Chair and the candidate shall be notified of this in writing by the Vice Chancellor. The candidate also shall be notified of the opportunity to request access to the records placed in the personnel review file subsequent to the departmental review in accordance with APM-160-20-c. When the candidate is provided copies of such records the Department Chair also shall be provided with copies of the extra-departmental records. The candidate and the Chair, after appropriate consultation within the department, shall then have the opportunity to respond in writing and to provide additional information and documentation. The candidate may respond either through the Department Chair or directly to the Vice Chancellor. The personnel review file, as augmented by the added material, shall then be considered in any stage of the review process as designated by the Vice Chancellor before a final decision by the Chancellor is reached. The Chancellor’s final decision not to renew or promote, shall not be made without the appropriate preliminary assessment notification process and opportunity to respond being provided to the candidate as specified herein.
In any case in which non-reappointment of an Assistant Professor is considered, there shall be review by the Committee on Academic Personnel. An ad hoc committee shall be appointed if the Chancellor or the Committee on Academic Personnel requests it. See also APM-220-80 and 220-84.
The Chancellor is responsible for a decision not to renew an Assistant Professor, and so informs the individual in writing. The individual is entitled to one year’s notice.
If an Assistant Professor is not to be renewed and if fiscal or programmatic considerations are significant factors in the decision, the facts of the matter are fully discussed by the Chancellor with the Council on Academic Personnel. When issues of general educational policy are involved, the Chancellor has prior consultation also with the Divisional Committee on Educational Policy about these issues, and the results are made available to the Council on Academic Personnel.
The termination of the appointment of an Assistant Professor before the expiration of a contract term can be only for good cause, after the opportunity for a hearing before the properly constituted advisory committee of the Academic Senate.
A request for reconsideration does not automatically initiate consideration of the case by the entire review process. After consultation with the Council on Academic Personnel, the Chancellor determines whether a given case should be referred to an ad hoc review committee and whether this should be the original committee or a new committee. If the case is not referred to an ad hoc review committee, or, if it is so referred, after this committee makes its report, the case is considered in normal review channels, including the Office of the appropriate Dean and the Council on Academic Personnel. Final action is taken by the Chancellor.
Upon appointment, an Assistant Professor should take note of, and as occasion requires, consult the UCLA Summary of Policy: Academic Personnel (usually referred to as the CALL) which describes personnel policy in detail. The CALL is available in the offices of Chairs in each department.
VI. Advancement within the Tenure Ranks
In the Associate Professorship there are normally three steps; in the Professorship, there are eight steps. A faculty member normally spends two years in each step of the Associate Professorship and three years in each of the first four steps of the Professorship. Progress through these steps may of course be deferred or accelerated according to individual merit, but in any case, the faculty member is automatically considered for advancement at the end of each normal period. In the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth steps of the Professorship there is no normal period of service, since advancement depends on the special accomplishments and distinction of the faculty members. There may also be advancement to an Above-Scale salary, after service at Step IX. Criteria for advancement to Steps VI, VII, VIII, IX and Above-Scale are contained in the Policy Section of The CALL.
Merit increases within the three steps of the Associate Professorship and the first five Steps of the Professorship are recommended by the Chair of the department and approved by the Chancellor, or by delegation of authority, in certain categories of cases by the Dean. Promotions to the Professorship and advancement to an Above-Scale salary are submitted after departmental recommendation to an ad hoc review committee in some instances, and to the Council on Academic Personnel before final action by the Chancellor or their designee (and by UC Office of the President in the case of some Off-Scale and Above-Scale salaries).
Web page updated 02/06/23