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7-1 NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments

June 2013

NCAR's policy is to provide a scientific and research engineering appointments system that: (1) promotes development and maintenance of a highly qualified scientific and research engineering staff with the spectrum of knowledge and skills required to meet the objectives of the organization; (2) ensures and protects the academic freedom of the staff and (3) reflects UCAR's commitment to diversity and equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, handicap, and marital or veteran status [see UCAR Policy 1-3]. This appointments system governs scientific and research staff with Scientist I, Scientist II, Scientist III, Senior Scientist, Research Engineer I, Research Engineer II, Research Engineer III and Senior Research Engineer appointments (“ladder-track” appointments).

Appointments at each level within the system are based on the needs of NCAR for specific skills to carry out institutional efforts and the ability of the appointee to accomplish high-quality scientific and engineering research consistent with the goals and strategies of NCAR. The appointee is expected to build, through team and/or individual efforts, a record of scientific or research engineering contribution to the NCAR program of a quality that is well-recognized by peers in the relevant community.

NCAR Associate Directors make Level I and Level II appointments based on evaluation of the candidate according to appropriate appointment criteria (refer to the NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments Criteria). Level I appointments are for one nonrenewable term of not more than five years. The incumbent faces an “up or out” decision at the end of the term. Level II appointments are normally for not more than five years. Level II incumbents also face an “up or out” decision at the ends of their terms. In certain circumstances, it is appropriate to “stop or slow the clock” in the appointments sequence. The length of the interruption is determined by individual circumstances, and NCAR agrees to extend the time allowed before evaluation for promotion during that period. Refer to the procedures for Stopping the Clock. The involuntary termination of a Level I or Level II Scientist or Research Engineer should follow UCAR’s Termination Policy and procedures 6-7, and requires approval by the NCAR Director and the UCAR President.

A Level III or Senior-Level appointment is conferred by the NCAR Director following: 1) an evaluation and report to the NCAR Director by the Appointments Review Group (ARG); 2) a recommendation for appointment by the NCAR Director to the UCAR Board of Trustees; and 3) approval of the appointment by the UCAR Board of Trustees. Level III and Senior Level appointments are without term.

The involuntary termination of a Level III or Senior Level incumbent requires review by the Director of Human Resources, approval of the NCAR Director, the UCAR President and a review of the process by the UCAR Board of Trustees. Level III or Senior Level incumbents may be suspended or discharged from employment only for cause or as a result of financial exigency or institutional program reduction as described below:

1. For cause.

Misconduct: Violations of UCAR policies, including, but not limited to, neglect of duty performance, mistreatment of other employees, research misconduct, financial fraud, criminal or other illegal or unethical conduct, or misconduct of such a nature as to indicate that the individual is unfit to continue as a member of the scientific and engineering staff.

-or-

Sustained unsatisfactory performance: The decision to terminate a Level III or Senior Level incumbent due to unsatisfactory performance shall be made by the NCAR Director after considering the evaluations, recommendations, and outcomes of the Post-Appointment Review (PAR) process (updated 4/28/12), which is nominally conducted every five years for Level III or Senior Level incumbents. The NCAR Director may also solicit an interim PAR, triggered by unsatisfactory evaluations in annual performance reviews or a previous PAR.

2. Financial exigency or institutional program reduction.

Financial exigency is defined as a change in the financial resources of the institution that compels a significant reduction in the institution's current budget. The determination of whether a bona fide condition of financial exigency exists shall be made by the NCAR Director after consulting with the NCAR Executive Committee, and with approval of the UCAR President and the UCAR Board of Trustees. In this or any subsequent consultation process, Level III or Senior Level incumbents may be terminated only after it is determined by the NCAR Director, following a careful review of alternatives, that the condition of financial exigency cannot otherwise be alleviated without more serious damage to the institution.

An institutional program reduction is defined as a significant curtailment or elimination of a program within UCAR. The determination of whether there shall be an institutional program reduction that may cause the termination of employment for a Level III or Senior Level incumbent shall be made by the NCAR Director after consulting with the NCAR Executive Committee, and with approval of the UCAR President and the UCAR Board of Trustees.

If there is a financial exigency or the reduction of a program, which would result in the termination of employment of a Level III or Senior Level incumbent, prior to such involuntary termination, the NCAR Director shall give consideration to quality and productivity of research and relevance to the priorities of the institution and other relevant factors. The primary consideration, however, shall be the maintenance of a sound and balanced research program that is consistent with the functions and priorities of the institution.

The involuntary termination of any employee covered under this policy is conducted consistent with UCAR's Termination Policy 6-7. In cases where the employment of a Scientist or Research Engineer is not to be continued, normally one year's notice is given to the incumbent. Any involuntarily terminated Scientist or Research Engineer may receive severance as part of the year's notice. In all cases the sum of notice and severance will equal one year. Any Scientist or Research Engineer terminated for cause will be given neither notice nor be paid severance.

If a Level III or Senior Level incumbent is terminated for reasons other than for cause, NCAR shall not hire a new Level III or Senior Level ladder-track scientist or research engineer in the same field of specialization for a period of 12 months after the effective date of termination without first offering the position to the person whose employment was terminated.

For interpretation of this policy, contact the NCAR Deputy Director.

Affiliated Procedure(s) or Guideline(s):

July 2013

Table of Contents:

  1. NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments Criteria
  2. Up or Out
  3. Stopping the Clock
  4. Marking the Clock -- Setting Level II Term Dates
  5. Post Appointment Review (PAR) Process
  6. Ladder-track Appointments and Transition Processes
  7. NCAR Ladder-track Staff Funding and Hiring Guidelines

1. NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments Criteria

2. Up or Out

Level I Appointments: Level I incumbents face an "up or out" decision by the laboratory or observatory at the end of their term. Level I Incumbents who are not promoted will not have their term renewed and their employment will be terminated per NCAR and UCAR policies. However, they remain eligible to apply for UCAR's non-ladder track positions.

Level II Appointments : Level II incumbents face an "up or out" decision by the laboratory or observatory at their end of the term.

If

•  a laboratory or observatory declines to nominate a Level II incumbent for promotion to the ARG

or

•  the NCAR Director, after full review by the ARG, declines to promote a Level II incumbent, the Level II incumbent's term will not be renewed and their employment will be terminated per NCAR and UCAR policies. However, they remain eligible to apply for UCAR's non-ladder track positions.

Early Nomination : An early nomination may be submitted to the ARG one or more years prior to the scheduled end of the incumbent's term. Only one full review for promotion to Level III is normally permitted. In rare circumstances, an early nomination may be withdrawn prior to, or during, the ARG review without disqualifying the candidate for nomination at a normal review time. Withdrawing a case is described in ARG Guidelines.

Level III Appointments : If a Level III incumbent is not promoted after a full review by the ARG, the incumbent remains in his/her Level III position and is eligible for future nominations and review for promotion to the Senior Level. As a rare exception, a Level III nomination may be withdrawn by the nominating NCAR Associate Director prior to or during the ARG review. Withdrawing a case is described in ARG Guidelines.

3. Stopping the Clock

In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to "stop or slow the clock" in the appointments sequence. The length of the interruption is determined by individual circumstances, and NCAR agrees to extend the time allowed before evaluation for promotion during that period.


Purpose: In accordance with Work and Family Policy 6-12 and Scientific and Research Engineer Appointment process Policy 7-1, the purpose is to support employees in achieving a successful balance between work responsibilities and personal life or to accommodate unavoidable and serious delays to a research project, and to provide for temporarily stopping the clock or extending the term in the NCAR appointment process. 

Eligibility: Level I or II Scientist or Research Engineer.

Type I Life Event Extension. A Level I or II Scientist or Research Engineer shall automatically receive an extension of their terms for life events that can reasonably be expected to markedly delay the career development or research process. Examples include but are not limited to:

•  pregnancy, birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child

•  dependent or elder care for serious health care

•  a serious physical or mental illness or other physical condition

•  military service or obligations

Process: When a Level I or II candidate informs their supervisor of any life event or requests a term extension due to a life event that can reasonably be expected to delay the career development or research process, the supervisor shall automatically extend the candidate's term for one year through their lab/division administration office and Human Resources and inform the candidate. A candidate may opt out of the term extension by notifying their supervisor.

Duration : Extension of one ARG annual cycle. Additional events may initiate one year additional extensions of this type up to a maximum of 3 extensions.

Impact on Promotion Process: A Type I Life Event extension has no bearing on the promotion decision other than scheduling, all reviewers shall apply the original term standard in the promotion decision making process. Any individual who has received a Type I Life Event extension must be held to the same standard -- not a higher or more stringent one -- to which other candidates without such an extension are held.

Type II Research Detriment Extension. A Level I or II Scientist or Research Engineer or their supervisor may request an extension of the candidate's term due to other factors beyond the candidate's control that can reasonably be expected to markedly delay the career development or research process. A few examples include but are not limited to (a) unavoidable delays in the completion of a research facility or instrument, (b) natural disasters such as floods or fires that interrupt or destroy research or data, and (c) the temporary reassignment of the candidate's effort to a research topic in support of an NCAR or community project resulting in an adverse impact on their individual research plan progress. The determining factor is whether the events are beyond the candidate's control or requested by NCAR, this decision necessarily involves some judgment.

Failure to make adequate progress toward promotion or an extended-term appointment is not per se an adequate justification for stopping the clock.

Process: A Level I or II candidate or their supervisor may request a Type II Research Detriment extension for one year by submitting a memo with justification documentation for approval to the appropriate NCAR Associate Director and the NCAR Director. After approval by both the NCAR Associate Director and the NCAR Director, the lab is responsible for extending the term with the Human Resources department.

Duration : Extension of one ARG annual cycle. Additional or complicating events may warrant additional one year extensions of this type up to a maximum of 2 cycles.

Impact on Promotion Process: A Type II Research Detriment extension has no bearing on the promotion decision other than scheduling, all reviewers shall apply the original term standard in the promotion decision making process. Any individual who has received a Type II Research Detriment extension must be held to the same standard -- not a higher or more stringent one -- to which other candidates without such an extension are held.

Type III Exceptional Research Challenge Extension. A Level I or II Scientist or Research Engineer or their supervisor may make a request to appropriate NCAR Associate Director and NCAR Director for one extension of the candidate's term up to three years/ARG cycles due to the demands and trials of working on an exceptional research challenge that can reasonably be expected to markedly delay sufficient progress on the research or publication of the results. The review decision will be based on the extent to which the research addresses critical, fundamental, board-ranging knowledge gaps that significantly impact the related science and other scientific disciplines.

Process: A Level I or II candidate or their supervisor may request a Type III Exceptional Research Challenge extension of up to three years by submitting a memo with justification documentation for approval to the appropriate NCAR Associate Director and the NCAR Director. After approval by both the NCAR Associate Director and the NCAR Director, the lab is responsible for extending the term with the Human Resources department.

Duration : Extension of up to three years/ARG annual cycles. Only one extension of this type is permitted.

Impact on Promotion Process: A Type III Exceptional Research Challenge extension may have bearing on the promotion decision; all reviewers may consider the extended term and research impact in the promotion decision making process.


4. Marking the Clock -- Setting Level II Term Dates (Effective 6/1/13)

Regardless of the initial appointment begin date of a Level II ladder track scientist or research engineer, the appointment term end date shall equal June 30 of that calendar year + 5 years. If the Laboratory promotion review is unsuccessful, the candidate must receive notice of their termination and begin their one year notice period by December of the calendar year prior to their appointment end date of June 30.

Example:

If original appointment begin date = Oct 5, 2009, then the original appointment term end date = June 30, 2014.

If the Laboratory/Observatory promotion review is unsuccessful, the candidate must receive notice of their termination and begin their one year notice period by December 2013.

If the Laboratory/Observatory promotion review is successful, ARG promotion review must be completed by May 31, 2014.

If ARG promotion review is successful, the Level III appointment begins July 1, 2014.

If ARG promotion review is unsuccessful, the candidate must receive notice of their termination and begin their one year notice period by June 15th, 2014.


5. Post Appointment Review (PAR) Process (updated 4/28/12)

The Post Appointment Review (PAR) is a 5-year periodic formative and summative review process for level III and senior level ladder track scientists and research engineers. The goal is to provide guidance and feedback on career-growth paths, recognize career achievements, and provide retrospective cumulative performance evaluation.

 


6. Ladder-track Appointments and Transition Processes

A. Transition of staff with a ladder-track appointment into or out of a management position

Supervisors will follow the UCAR reclassification process or UCAR search and selection process, whichever is applicable, when transitioning staff with ladder-track appointments into or out of management positions.

B. Setting Salaries for Staff with ladder-track Appointments

The UCAR Compensation and Benefits Policy and Procedures 6-13 apply to the hiring, appointment, salary change and reclassification of all UCAR employees.  In addition, Supervisors will follow the process below when setting salaries at the time of hire, appointment, or reclassification of any NCAR staff with a ladder-track appointment: 
Prior to any hire, appointment, or reclassification of NCAR staff with a ladder-track appointment:
  1. the Supervisor will
    1. confer with the Lab/Program Director; review any prior relevant appointment letters for applicable terms, and make a salary recommendation to the applicable Reviewer (defined below) for review and approval.  The salary recommendation shall include a proposed salary amount, a written justification for that amount, and the new position description

    2. obtain an appointment letter from the NCAR Director’s Office, sign the letter and provide copies of the executed letter to the appointee, the lab/program director, Human Resources and the NCAR Director’s Office

    3. complete the reclassification process with lab management and Human Resources
  2. the Reviewer will:
    1. confer with Human Resources and Lab/Program management to analyze the salary recommendation to confirm that the recommendation is consistent with internal equity goals by comparing the affected individual to individuals in comparable positions using multiple relevant factors, including: 
      1. salary versus years in position,
      2. salary versus years since PhD,
      3. compa ratio (pay in relation to salary range market point) versus years in position, 
      4. compa ratio versus years since PhD, 
      5. any other relevant factors, including those presented by the Supervisor in the salary justification, such as:
        1. Performance
        2. Scientific productivity and performance based on the NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments Criteria
    2. provide an appointment letter for the Supervisor to sign, and provide copies of the executed letter to the appointee, the lab/program director, Human Resources and the NCAR Director’s Office. 

Reviewers -  Individuals from whom Supervisors must obtain review and approval of proposed salaries and appointment letters are as follows:

  • The NCAR Deputy Director is responsible for reviewing recommendations and the drafting of letters for any Laboratory/Observatory NCAR staff with ladder-track appointments including NCAR Associate Directors,
  • The UCAR President is responsible for reviewing recommendations and the drafting  of letters for the NCAR Director or NCAR Deputy Director with ladder-track appointments if they transition out of these positions into a ladder-track position.

C. Entry of non-management staff without a ladder-track appointment into a ladder-track position

In addition to following the ladder-track appointment process described in these procedures and related Policy 6-5, Supervisors are required to follow UCAR Employee Search & Selection Policy 6-3 and Procedures when considering appointment of UCAR staff without a ladder-track appointment into a NCAR Scientist, Research Engineer, or Section Head position. 

Questions regarding the interpretation of this policy or procedures should be directed to the NCAR Deputy Director.


7. NCAR Ladder-track Staff Funding and Hiring Guidelines (Added 7/15/13)

All guidelines and UCAR employment are subject to available funding.

 

A.     Ladder-track incumbents hired after June 1, 2013 will have a minimum of 25% NSF base funded salary support.

 

B.     Ladder-track incumbents hired before June 1, 2013 will be transitioned to a minimum of 25% NSF base funded salary support as budgets allow.

 

C.     Level I and II ladder-track incumbents will have 100% salary support consisting of the minimum 25% NSF base funds and additional NSF base, NSF special funds or non-NSF funds.

 

D.     For a Level III or Senior Level ladder-track incumbent, an NCAR Associate Director may reduce the NSF base salary support and FTE to a .75 FTE level or greater. Under 6-7 Termination Policy Involuntary Reduction in FTE procedures, management may increase or decrease the regular work hours of a position (a change in FTE) for business reasons. Any ladder-track staff FTE reduction is subject also to 7-1 NCAR Scientific and Research Engineering Appointments Policy. Thus, for a Level III or Senior level ladder-track incumbent such an involuntary reduction in FTE requires a one-year notice, review by the Director of Human Resources, approval of the NCAR Director, the UCAR President and a review of the process by the UCAR Board of Trustees. The reviews and the one-year notice are only required if the FTE of the ladder-track incumbent is reduced.  If the ladder-track incumbent secures additional salary support their FTE will be increased accordingly for the period that funding is available.

 

E.     All ladder-track positions will be competed.  Recruitment includes efforts to attract a diverse applicant pool.  Prior to engaging in all the standard UCAR hiring procedures, the hiring manager prepares a memo to the NCAR Director and the cognizant Associate Director for review and approval. The memo includes:

1.  The rationale for the proposed ladder-track hire,

2.  A statement regarding the position’s alignment with the NCAR or Lab/Obs Strategic Plan,

3.  A proposed five-year budget plan for funding the position, including a breakdown of anticipated NSF Base and Non-Base support,

4.  The position description as an attachment.

The cognizant Associate Director briefs the NCAR Executive Committee about the hiring plans.


Last updated on August 23, 2013 - 1:30pm.
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