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Academic Review

All persons holding ladder-rank appointments at the University of California occupy positions that are reserved permanently. Those appointed without tenure are reviewed periodically to assess their progress. Those appointed with tenure, and those promoted to tenure rank, are reviewed periodically to determine their continued scholarly progress and their other achievements, and are advanced accordingly.

Every faculty member undergoes an academic review every two, three, or four years, depending upon the individual appointee's rank and step. A simplified version of the Academic Review process is presented here, but specific questions should be addressed to the department Chair or Academic Personnel staff.

Schedule of Reviews

The normal service period for each rank/step is as follows:

Asst. Prof., Step I-VI - 2 years at each step
Assoc. Prof., Step I-III - 2 years at each step
Assoc. Prof., Step IV-V - 3 years at each step
Prof., Step I-VIII - 3 years at each step
Prof., Step IX and Distinguished – 4 years at each step

Assistant professors are generally appointed for a two-year term. Beginning in the spring of the first year of appointment or reappointment, an academic review file is assembled. Assistant professors are then normally under consideration for reappointment and a merit increase; an appraisal is required in the fourth and sixth years. (A reappointment is a continuation of employment for a new term, usually two years, although the continuation may be for one year only; a merit increase is considered advancement to a higher step within the same rank; an appraisal is an analysis of progress toward tenure.)

Assistant professors are limited to a total of eight years of service at this rank. Periods of leave, with or without salary, are included in this total unless (1) the Chancellor grants an exception; or (2) leave is granted for childbearing or child rearing (the period of time involved must be equal to or greater than one quarter and not greater than one year). Under these circumstances, the leave is automatically calculated to extend the probationary period, with the exception that the extension cannot occur in the eighth year. Detailed information on the impact of childbearing and parental leave on the assistant professor probationary period is available at:

Department Review Standards

Contents of a Review File

Faculty members undergoing review are responsible for collecting and submitting most, but not all, of the materials to be included in the review file. Each faculty member is responsible for providing updated versions of their biography-bibliography, copies of their publications/works, and a written self-review. The self-review is a fairly detailed, descriptive statement that addresses the following headings: (1) research, including research in progress; (2) teaching; and (3) university and public service; and (4) contributions to diversity. The Chair will rely heavily on the self-review when preparing the required departmental letter for each file. Please note that the biography-bibliography and self-review (take this out, only the Biobib needs to be signed) should be signed and dated by the faculty member.

Faculty members undergoing a review should submit all required review materials to the Academic Personnel staff at by the deadline established by the department. Once the staff have received all of the materials (including external letters of review, if necessary) and has prepared the file, the file is submitted to the faculty for consideration and vote. At this point, the file contains:

  1. University of California Academic Employment History (prepared by staff);
  2. Teaching evaluations: one form of evaluation each for undergraduate and graduate teaching is required.  More than one form is encouraged. (reviewers may also request a written assessment of the faculty member's teaching performance by a fellow faculty member following a class visit at the invitation of the Chair.);
  3. Other evidence of teaching effectiveness (course syllabi, students’ testimonials, etc.)
  4. Signed and dated Course load and Student Direction forms (provided by the Statistical Unit of the Campus Planning Office);
  5. Academic Biography-Bibliography packet (completed and signed by the candidate).  Faculty members are encouraged to update their biography-bibliography form on an annual basis in-between review periods so that they do not have to reconstruct several years' worth of data when they next come up for review. The biography-bibliography form and accompanying instructions may be downloaded from the web at:
  6. For promotion and career reviews, outside evaluation letters solicited by the Chair, (a minimum of five recommendations for promotion to tenure, three for promotion to Professor, three for advancement to Professor VI or Above-Scale);
  7. Sabbatical Leave Report (signed and dated) if the faculty member took a leave during the review period;
  8. Publications: All publications since the last review/advancement. Work in manuscript form accepted for publication may be included
  9. Other materials that the faculty member may wish to include, such as reviews of recently published books/works.

Timetable for Reviews

The review process begins in the spring of each year when faculty due for review are informed, and meet with the Chair and staff to discuss their upcoming review. If external review letters will be required, the candidate is asked to provide names so the department can begin soliciting external review letters during the summer. Publications and an electronic, updated Biography/Bibliography (BioBib) should be submitted at that time to send the external reviewers the candidate’s material, along with an updated BioBib.

Once a faculty member provides all of their review materials to the staff, the materials are reviewed for format and faculty are advised of any corrections that are necessary to bring the review materials into compliance with APS guidelines. The file is then uploaded into Interfolio. Review candidates are given the opportunity to review the confidential materials in their file (letters of evaluation in redacted form) and to respond, if they so desire. The candidates certify that they have had the opportunity to review their file by signing Certification 1-A.

Individual files are available for review by the voting members of the faculty prior to the faculty meeting at which the vote is scheduled. Following the vote, the Chair prepares a departmental letter. Once the faculty approves the departmental letter, the review candidate is provided the opportunity to review the letter, respond if they so desire, and sign Certification 2 (signifying that they have had the opportunity to review the departmental letter). The file is then submitted to the Dean of Arts and Humanities and candidates are usually informed of the results of their review in the spring.



Additional Types of Reviews

Requesting a One-Year Delay

In normal advancement cases in which a faculty member has not produced enough work to receive serious consideration for an advancement but has work in progress that will likely be ready within a year (and is of the quality necessary to be given serious consideration for a merit), a faculty member may request a one-year deferral in lieu of submitting the file. Faculty members should take careful note of the fact that they will have to undergo a review the following year. Only in extraordinary circumstances are faculty members granted additional extensions beyond the initial one-year delay.

No-Change Files

In normal merit cases in which a faculty member has not produced enough work to receive serious consideration for a merit (perhaps because he/she has been on leave for one or two years), a faculty member may request that the department submit a "no-change" file. In this case, the faculty member will not be scheduled for another review for a period of two, three, or four years (in accordance with their normal review cycle). However, the faculty member may ask the department to submit a review file any time during this three-year period if the faculty member so desires.

One-Year Accelerations

The Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) discourages faculty members from submitting their review files a year early (resulting in an "off-cycle" acceleration). CAP has had frequent discussions of the issue of "off-cycle" accelerations, with the resulting consensus that it is particularly difficult to judge what is sufficient for a one-year acceleration. CAP also remains concerned that accelerated advancement based on one good year might be mitigated by reduced productivity in the following year or two. Unless there are extraordinary reasons for pursuing a one-year acceleration (e.g., a retention case), candidates are not encouraged to submit their review files a year early.

Voting Procedures

Type of Action Eligibility to Comment or Vote
New Appointment Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty
Reappointment Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Promotion Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Appointment to an rank Chair decision with consultation by the Dean
Accelerated merit advancement in any rank Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Advancement to full rank step VI and full rank scale Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Promotion of assistant to associate rank Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Promotion of associate to full rank Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Assistant rank fourth year appraisal; assistant professor "readiness assessment" in last merit review before promotion Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Non-reappointment/termination of assistant rank Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
Normal merit advancement in any rank Obtain vote of all permanent and tenure-track faculty (past their Fourth-Year appraisal)
No Change

No vote required, unless the file also includes an action (i.e., Bonus Off Scale) that would require CAP approval


Faculty recruitments are subject to approval from the Executive Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs Office and the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity (OADEO). Once the faculty vote in favor of conducting a recruitment and the department has secured approval from the EVCAA, the department submits a Recruitment Plan with the advertisement wording to the OADEO. Once the plan is approved, the Director of the OADEO may meet with the search committee members to discuss the search and to recommend strategies for achieving diversified applicant and candidate pools.

UC San Diego encourages rigorous adherence to the April 30 deadline established by the Association of American Universities (AAU) for recruitment of an individual holding a tenure or tenure-track appointment at another AAU institution. For more information on this policy, see:

Specific information regarding recruitment policies is available:

If you are a member of a faculty search committee, please bear in mind that the University has very specific policies regarding reimbursement of travel and entertainment expenses. Please consult with the staff before incurring any expenses related to faculty recruitment. The department is provided a limited recruitment budget from the Dean’s Office.