Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Step Plus Proposal

What happens if the Step Plus Proposal is not approved on June 3, 2014?

If the Representative Assembly does not approve the Step Plus Proposal, the Academic Senate will not support Step Plus implementation.

Why does the Step Plus Proposal refer to reviews at 2, 3 and 4-year intervals?

Within the professorial title series, the normative review cycle is 2 years for the assistant and associate levels. After associate step 4, the review cycle occurs every 3 years.  At the professor level, the normative review cycle is 3 years up to step 9 and then the review cycle occurs every 4 years.  At every review the individual may be considered for more than 1 step (1.5 or 2 steps).

Will Academic Federation members move into the Step Plus System if approved?

The current Step Plus Proposal affects only Academic Senate titles.   If Step Plus is supported, the Academic Federation will be asked to review the Step Plus System for its members.  

Will a merit increase of 0.5 be part of the Step Plus proposed for implementation Fall 2014?

During a variety of discussions across campus, it was determined that the option for 0.5 step increase is not supported at this time.  The 0.5 step option in the Step Plus system will not be part of the Step Plus Proposal for 2014.

Will the responsibilities of the Faculty Personnel Committees (FPC) change if the Step Plus proposal receive a positive vote in June 2014?

The role of the college and school FPCs will not change based on the June 2014 vote.  If the Step Plus Proposal vote is positive, the Academic Senate will initiate a review of the FPC role during 2014-2015.  Changes may be proposed by the Academic Senate in the future.

If the Step Plus proposal is adopted in June, will department voting procedures need to change?

The Vice Provost – Academic Affairs stated:  “Departments select their own voting procedures and processes. The Committee on Academic Personnel reviews proposed changes in procedures for conformity to Senate Bylaw 55, but those changes most often address the issue of which department members are eligible to vote on which academic personnel actions.

Under the current system, department faculty express support for a colleague's proposed acceleration by voting "YES" on a dossier that is submitted in advance of the normative review interval. Under Step Plus, all merits will be reviewed at the normative interval, and so departments will need to consider how they wish to express support (or the lack thereof) for a merit of greater than one step (i.e., an acceleration in performance, rather than an acceleration in time). A number of possible approaches could be taken, and the members of SAWSPPP are currently developing some models for departments to consider. If Step Plus is approved by the Senate in June, it is my hope that all departments will engage in active discussions to select their voting method.”

Committee on Academic Personnel – Oversight Subcommittee (CAP) Chair Berger stated: “The vast majority (if not all) departments will not need to revise the voting procedures reviewed by CAP as these voting procedures discuss “who votes on what”, which is not affected by Step-Plus.  Departments will need to decide on a ballot format. “

I have a faculty member who was denied two-year acceleration this year (13/14).  If the Step Plus proposal is implemented will this person be able to come up again next year under guideline B (iii) that governs denials?  Or would the person have to wait until the normative year for the next merit action, which (if I am correct) would be 15/16?

We are assuming this person is at a rank/step that has an eligibility of 3 years at step. If 2013-2014 was a two-year acceleration that would mean their last action was effective 7/1/13.  If that is the case, the faculty member would no longer be eligible for a one-year accelerated merit in 2014-2015 and would have to wait until 2015-2016 to come forward for advancement in normal time.  Even though the faculty member no longer can pursue a merit that is accelerated in time, the individual may be eligible for a merit of greater than one step in their next normal merit review in 2015-2016 if the Step Plus Program is implemented.

With respect to the fixed/normative review period, will the law school’s “Acting Professor” designation be treated the same as “Assistant/Associate Professor” designation, and thus provided a normative review period of two years? 

Yes, this is correct.

Assuming that Step Plus is adopted, does the new, normative period of three years begin from a candidate’s last advancement? For instance, will a faculty member who received her last advancement effective July 1, 2013 (assume she is a “full” professor) go up for her next advancement—if any—effective July 1, 2016? For another example, will a faculty member who received her last advancement effective July 1, 2014 (again, assume she is a “full” professor) go up for her next advancement—if any—effective July 1, 2017? 

Yes, this is correct.

Does Step Plus change the process for Career Equity Review (CER)? More specifically, can a candidate request a CER coincident with a merit/promotion if the candidate’s surplus is less than one full step (in light of the half-step option under normal review)? Or must the surplus be at least one full step, as under the current system?

The half-step option is no longer under consideration.   If adopted, Step Plus will not change the process for Career Equity Review.

Will the Clinical Professor --- (aka: Clinical X) title be eligible for Step Plus if adopted?

Yes, the payroll title Professor of Clinical _____ is eligible.  The Professor of Clinical _____ is also referred to as “Professor of Clinical X’ or “Clinical X.”

We understand that the rate of advancement under Step Plus “should be at least as rapid as in our current system, provided that a 1.5 step merit is viewed by faculty as requiring substantially the same record as a well-justified one-year acceleration under our current system.” What procedures, if any, will be instituted to measure the relative pace of advancements going forward compared to (i) historical rates and (ii) other UC campuses? 

The Davis Division of the Academic Senate would like to review the impact of Step Plus if adopted.   The current proposal is review two years following implementation to assure the desired efficiency and efficacy is achieved.   Evaluating the relative pace of advancement compared to historical rates would be one measure by which we could assess that the personnel process remained effective.

Who decides how many steps the candidate will advance?

The candidate and department chair determine whether a 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 step advancement will be requested.  

Who decides who goes up for promotion?

A faculty member can come up for promotion when they are ready or when they feel that their record supports the action.  Assistant professors must promote no later than their seventh year, unless they received an extension on the clock under the Work Life Program.

We have received multiple comments and questions from colleagues contemplating the impact of the Step Plus Proposal on retirement plans.  We have created two scenarios in an effort to address the questions available at:

If a candidate went up for a 1.5 step merit and only received 1, would the candidate be able to appeal?

Yes.  In the Step Plus system the faculty are still requesting an action and if the decision is less than what was requested, they have the right to appeal.  The appeal process is available here: