Skip to Content

The clinical teaching faculty contains four rankings:  Clinical Instructor, Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor. Merit Increases are advancements within the one ranking. For example, Assistant Clinical Professor Step I to Assistant Clinical Professor Step II, etc. Promotions are elevations in rank.  For example, being promoted from Assistant Clinical Professor Step IV to Associate Clinical Professor Step I. Accelerated Merit Increases involve the jumping of a step within a ranking. For example, advancing from Step I to Step III. Accelerated Promotions involve jumping over the top level(s) in the current rank to advance to a senior rank. For example, Assistant Clinical Professor Step III to Associate Clinical Professor Step I. Reappointments may be made with or without review. Reappointment without review may be recommended when there has been insufficient service time or insufficient experience since the last review to warrant a more complete assessment. Reappointment with review may be recommended following a full review that does not show the clear and measurable improvement required for advancement (merit increase or promotion) while performance, nevertheless, has remained at a satisfactory level so that retention is earned. Reappointments, Merit Increases, and Promotions involve review of a number of factors. Teaching effectiveness, technical knowledge and abilities, and patient handling are all key components of clinical teaching, and they should receive close attention since they are relevant for all candidates considered. Scholarly activities, clinical leadership, professional activities, university service, community service and other relevant matters should be individually considered.

Review Delays – It should be recognized there will be some instructors (typically working 20% time) who continue to be good effective clinical teachers but who do not want to work on expanding their activities in a manner that would assist their prospects for promotion or advancement. Such instructors may, in consultation with the Director of Clinics or the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, elect to wait longer periods for their performance reviews. The delays of review may be one or two years, but periods between performance reviews may not exceed  five years.


Most of the clinical faculty are hired at 20% time and the general guideline is that, before being considered for advancement, the faculty member should have completed five semesters of teaching (count two 7-week summer sessions as one semester) since the commencement of the last review which resulted in promotion or merit increase.  Thus, a two-yearly review cycle should be expected for those who teach Fall, Spring, and a Summer Session each year. A three year review should be expected for those who do not teach during Summer Sessions or who are absent for one or two semesters during the academic year. Full Clinical Professors and Associate Professors at the more senior rankings will normally be on a three-year review cycle.

Clinical Instructors will normally serve for at least one year before being reviewed for promotion to Assistant Clinical Professor, so that there would normally be at least 2 years between the C.I. appointment and the awarding of a promotion depending on their unique skills, and their post-graduate experience and training. For all clinical faculty members, exceptionally rapid growth and development may justify earlier advancement. The faculty at 10% or less time, faculty at extra-mural clinics or others with less intensive teaching interactions or with less service to the School will often advance at slower rates. For example, at 10% time for the academic year, reviews for advancement might be expected every 4 years. A 3-year review cycle is more common for faculty members who teach in extra mural clinics. The few clinical faculty members holding 40% or more appointments will normally be reviewed every two years or three years in the more senior ranks. Clinical faculty members with a full-time academic appointment in another unit of the University of California shall have their academic rank determined by their parent unit, but their performance should be reviewed by the School of Optometry every four years or sooner if deemed appropriate by the Dean or the Director of Clinics. At all levels, the longest permissible period between reviews is 5 years. Individuals who have been at Assistant Clinical Professor Step VI for 4 years shall be reviewed for promotion and if promotion is not achieved, reappointment should not be expected. Normal periods at each level:

Note: 5 semesters may be 4 semesters plus two 7-week Summer Sessions 7 semesters may be 6 semesters plus two 7-week Summer Sessions. Normal review for advancement: Clinical Instructor – Begin review after one year as Clinical Instructor. Assistant Clinical Professor – Begin review after three (3) semesters. Associate Clinical Professor – Begin review after three to five (3-5) semesters. Clinical Professor – Begin review after five (5) semesters.


Provided candidates have had 4 years or more of post-graduate clinical experience, initial appointments will normally be made at the Clinical Instructor level. However, if the appointee is to serve immediately as a head of a clinic unit, or to act as the sole provider for an important specific treatment or service, then it may be appropriate for the initial appointment to be considered at the Assistant Clinical Professor level. Initial appointments may be made at more advanced levels when the candidate has had important clinical faculty experience or already has developed an outstanding academic reputation as a clinical authority or professional leader in accordance with the criteria and standards that the School normally applies to promotions and merit increases. When initial appointments are being considered, all members of the committee should hold a rank that is at least equal to that being considered for the candidate.


As each clinical faculty member is reviewed for consideration of advancement, the Director of Clinics, on behalf of the Dean, should attempt to obtain evaluations from fellow faculty members and, when appropriate, other professional colleagues. This might extend to faculty colleagues likely to have witnessed the candidate’s presentations at scientific or professional meetings, colleagues from other schools of optometry who may know of the candidate’s achievements, or professional colleagues familiar with any of the candidate’s activities or achievements which could be indicative of leadership qualities related to clinical teaching or to the advancement of the profession and its science.

  • MERIT INCREASES: As a matter of course, in all reviews for advancement, opinions should be sought from the head of the relevant clinical unit and from any fellow instructors who have taught along side the faculty member since his/her last review.  There may also be other faculty members in a position to have an informed opinion about the performance or abilities of the candidate under review. For merit increases, it is usually expected that two to four (2-4) peer evaluations will be solicited.
  • PROMOTIONS:  Peer evaluations and evidence of broader reputation and intellectual, clinical, or professional leadership will become progressively more important as instructors enter or are considered for the Associate Clinical Professor and Clinical Professor ranks. At the Assistant Professor level, there is less expectation of wide reputation, authority, or recognized achievement; consequently the performance evaluation is likely to rest most heavily on student teaching performance. When being considered for promotion to Associate Clinical Professor or Clinical Professor, the candidate will normally be asked to prepare a self evaluation. Also, the Ad Hoc Committee should seek a broad range of peer reviews, and the requests for references and the scope of the opinions requested should be determined in consultation with the Director of Clinics or the Office of the Dean. Under University policy, reviewers’ comments, as part of the official personnel file, will be held in confidence. Although the candidate will not be given access to it, he or she will, upon written request, be provided with a summary of all such confidential evaluations in the review files without disclosure of their sources. While it cannot be guaranteed that no court or government agency will, in the future, order or demand disclosure of the sources of confidential evaluations, the University will endeavor to protect the identity of reviewers to the fullest extent allowable under the law.



The documents can be downloaded at the website indicated:

Appointment and Promotion – Review and Appraisal Committee

Appointment and Promotion – Health Science Clinical Professor Series

General University Policy Regarding Academic Appointees – Academic Personnel Definitions

Academic Salary Scales – Academic Personnel Office