Accountability Report 2021

chapter 5: faculty and other academic employees


The University of California's distinguished faculty and other academic appointees serve as a rich source of innovation, discovery, and mentorship. They provide top-quality education to students, develop groundbreaking research, and serve California’s diverse communities. Despite the operational and financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, UC faculty and other academic appointees quickly rose to the challenge of engaging in the University’s mission of teaching, research, and service in a remote environment. Recognizing the challenges faced by faculty and other academic appointees, the University of California adopted numerous programs and exceptions to policy, providing flexibility to faculty and other academic appointees to conduct their work.

Describing the academic workforce

Academic FTE and Headcount, October 2020

FTE Headcount
Faculty - Ladder-rank and Equivalent 10,810.5 11,677
Faculty - Clinical/In-Residence/Adjunct 7,945.4 8,745
Faculty - Lecturers 2,402.9 4,006
Other Academic Employees 6,446.8 8,637
Postdoctoral Scholars 5,253.8 6,157
Student Teaching/Research Assistants 11,419.9 27,613
Medical Interns/Residents 6,001.6 6,177
Grand Total 50,280.9 73,012


Faculty are the most prominent face of UC’s academic workforce, but there are many other academic roles, totaling over 50,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) across over more than 73,000 individuals. Over 59 percent of faculty are in general campus schools, while the other 41 percent are in the health sciences.

Ladder-rank and equivalent faculty are the core of the faculty in advancing the UC’s tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service. These faculty can advance to tenure or equivalent status.1 In the past decade, ladder-rank and equivalent faculty FTE have increased by over 18 percent.

The In-Residence, Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine), Health Sciences Clinical Professor, and Adjunct Professor series faculty are found at all campus locations. However, their numbers are concentrated in the health sciences schools; their duties vary in their focus on research, clinical care, and teaching. Lecturers focus on instruction and are hired into part-time and full-time positions. Lecturers can achieve continuing status.

Postdoctoral scholars conduct research under the general oversight of a faculty mentor. They are typically paid through research contracts and grants, so their numbers concentrate in the medical and STEM fields and vary with available grant funding.

Other academic appointees include academic researchers, cooperative extension advisors, and specialists in cooperative extension; librarians; faculty administrators such as Deans; university extension instructors; graduate students appointed as Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants; and residents and interns in medicine and other academic health sciences programs.

1 Security of Employment or the tenure-equivalent of associate and full agronomists and astronomers. Diversity

The University of California is committed to diversity and excellence in its faculty and academic workforce. The proportion of women, African American, and Hispanic/Latinx faculty has grown at a modest pace. Newer faculty cohorts are more diverse than past cohorts.

Among tenured and tenure-track faculty, UC compares favorably in terms of the proportions of women, African American, and Hispanic/Latinx faculty relative to the comparison eight peer research institutions.2 Still, UC continues to work to identify opportunities to diversify the faculty and improve recruitment processes and campus climate by tracking recruitment data, by sharing best practices in mentoring and professional development, and by enhancing work-life balance programs.

Varieties of programs have been put in place to strengthen faculty diversity:


Advancing Faculty Diversity — The State of California awarded UC a total of $8.5 million in one-time funds for four fiscal years, from 2016–17 to 2019–20, to develop an innovative and focused program to increase faculty diversity at UC. The Advancing Faculty Diversity (AFD) program awards these funds on a competitive basis to campus units implementing new, measurable interventions in the faculty recruitment process. In addition, since 2018–19, twenty awards have been funded by the Office of the President to improve academic climate and increase faculty retention. Some of the successful interventions that correlate with hiring diverse faculty include the use of contributions to diversity statements early in the evaluation process; targeting potential faculty earlier in their careers through support for postdoctoral work; outreach by faculty to actively recruit candidates; revised evaluation practices, including the use of rubrics to guide decision-making; strong leadership and sustained and strategic involvement from unit leaders; introducing new voices, including students, in the recruitment and evaluation process; building of new faculty, equity, and inclusion data dashboards; research on and support for pathways to faculty leadership positions; and examinations of whether service loads differ by gender or race/ethnicity. Since 2019–20, UCOP committed an additional $3 million per year in ongoing funds to support additional projects in faculty recruitment; improve climate and retention to pilot innovative recruitment practices; create academic climates to support UC’s diverse student body and meaningfully engage faculty throughout their UC careers. Since its inception, a total of forty recruitment and improved climate and retention projects have been funded through the AFD program’s competitive process, with all ten campuses receiving at least one award.

President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP) — Established in 1984, the PPFP recruits top scholars who are committed to underserved and minority communities to pursue faculty careers at UC. Between 2016–17 and 2020–21, UC hired 112 fellows as ladder-rank faculty at all ten UC campuses. In addition, more than 20 fellows have been successfully recruited for UC faculty positions that will begin in 2021–22, with 19 others still under consideration. Through Presidential support, UC has increased the number of incentives available to departments that hire fellows and expanded eligibility for hiring incentives to include the health sciences and professional schools. The program is nationally recognized and it leads a partnership of top universities that participate in recruiting top postdoc talent.

2 The comparison eight institutions are University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University at Buffalo, University of Virginia, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Yale University. 

Hiring and retention

Overall hiring of UC faculty generally outpaces availabilities of U.S. doctoral degree recipients by race, ethnicity, and gender, with some notable differences by field. STEM fields have a more limited ability to diversify based on Ph.D. availabilities. UC is also looking at the diversity of its own student populations, including bachelor and graduate degree recipients, to increase the diversity of UC’s future professoriate.

In recent years, faculty hires have stabilized after several years of increases as UC recovered from severe budget cuts a decade ago and as enrollment growth demanded greater teaching capacity. Faculty separations have grown modestly, primarily due to increasing retirements. UC campuses have drastically scaled back their faculty recruiting due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen how soon faculty recruiting can return to a growth trend. Average faculty salaries at UC have improved somewhat in recent years; however, they still trail those at many comparison institutions, particularly a benchmark of the average of salaries at the “Comparison 8,” a group of four public and four private institutions.

UC 2030 goals

As part of the multi-year framework adopted by the UC Regents in early 2019, known as UC 2030 — Advancing the California Dream, UC is hoping to receive additional State support to hire 1,100 ladder-rank faculty between 2018–19 and 2022–23 (5.3.5). Since setting the hiring goal, the University’s faculty has grown by nearly 400, or about 3.6 percent. To reach the hiring goal by 2022–23, UC needs to add 700 faculty, or about 6.6 percent, over the next two years. The University is at risk of not achieving this goal as the requisite hiring rate is nearly double that of recent trends. Nonetheless, with growth, UC is hoping to continue to increase the diversity of its ladder-rank faculty, which also involves retaining faculty who contribute to that diversity.

Between 2014 and 2020, the share of Universitywide faculty who are African American increased from 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent, and the share who are Hispanic/Latinx increased from 6.4 percent to 7.9 percent. The number of African American faculty members went from 256 to 381, a 49 percent increase, and the number of Hispanic/Latinx faculty members increased from 614 to 855, a 39 percent increase.

For more information

UC faculty have increased to accommodate a growing student body, relying more on ladder rank faculty today than in years past.

5.1.1      General campus faculty FTE total by type, Universitywide, October 2011 to 2020


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

Since 2011, faculty size has increased by 2,200 FTE, or 23 percent. While all faculty types have grown, the most pronounced increase has been among lecturers, who increased over 41 percent during this period. About one in every five faculty is a lecturer.

Ladder-rank faculty have grown by a more modest 19 percent, but they still make up over 76 percent of faculty FTE.

At UC, lecturers do not have research responsibilities and therefore focus on teaching. These faculty help meet the instructional needs of UC's growing enrollment.

General campus faculty are mostly concentrated in arts, humanities, and the social sciences.

5.1.2      General campus faculty headcount by discipline, Universitywide, October 2020


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

Faculty are employed in hundreds of departments across the ten campuses. Most health sciences faculty serve in the schools of medicine, with smaller numbers in other health sciences disciplines such as dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, optometry, and public health. General campus faculty are spread across a spectrum of disciplines. The disciplines with the most undergraduate majors also tend to have the most faculty.

Different disciplines rely on varying types of faculty to fulfill their teaching and research missions. Ladder-rank faculty are the mainstay of the University mission of teaching, research, and service, and are employed throughout all academic disciplinary areas. Lecturers are concentrated in certain disciplines, such as the arts and humanities, often to support general education requirements in those areas. Lecturer positions are also common in the professional schools.

The non-faculty academic workforce has increased steadily, particularly student teaching and research assistants and medical interns. Growth in other categories aligns closely with faculty growth and the availability of research funding.

5.1.3      Non-faculty academic workforce FTE, Universitywide, October 2011 to 2020


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

The non-faculty academic workforce has expanded alongside student and faculty growth in the last decade, increasing by 3,661 FTE, or 14 percent, over this period.

Student teaching and research assistants as well as health sciences residents and interns have increased in number. Student teaching and research assistants hold part-time appointments in conjunction with their graduate studies. FTE of student assistants and residents/interns has increased in tandem with enrollment increases and expansion of health sciences programs over this time.

Postdoctoral scholars and other academic researchers, two groups vital to the research mission, have also grown in line with faculty FTE. Contracts and grants from external sponsors support the vast majority of researchers in the academic workforce, with the federal government providing most research funding. Chapter 9, Research, provides additional details on the composition of the research workforce.

Postdoctoral scholars are concentrated in medicine, science, and engineering, as well as at campuses with larger research programs in those fields.

5.1.4  Postdoctoral scholar headcount, by campus and discipline, October 2020

Postdoctoral scholar headcount

Source: UC Corporate Personnel System.

Postdoctoral scholars have completed their doctoral degrees and conduct research under the direction and supervision of faculty mentors in preparation for academic or research careers. Since most of their funding comes from contracts and grants, they are particularly prevalent in fields that receive large amounts of grant funding, such as medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering.

Campuses with large research programs in these fields consequently have larger postdoctoral populations.

The diversity of UC’s academic workforce differs among the types of employees.

5.2.1  Academic workforce race/ethnicity by type, Universitywide, October 2011 to 2020
Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

All academic positions have increased in racial/ethnic diversity in the last decade. Positions occupied by students and recent graduates (e.g., teaching assistants, research assistants, postdocs, residents/interns) tend to be more diverse, reflecting increasing diversity in graduate student populations. Ladder-rank faculty diversity has been the slowest to change, due to long tenures and limited availability of candidates in some disciplines. The significant number of international academics reflects a global academic marketplace. UCOP is exploring ways to improve data quality and reverse the recent trend of growth in the share of the population with unknown race/ethnicity. Campus, discipline, and age detail are available through the UC Information Center (


Gender diversity has increased or maintained parity for every academic group but still falls short of parity in several academic appointee categories.

5.2.2  Academic workforce gender by type, Universitywide, October 2011 to 2020


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System

Women make up half of Lecturers, Other Academic Appointees, and medical interns/residents. The ratio of women among Clinical/In-Residence/Adjunct Faculty and Ladder-rank Faculty has risen steadily since 2011. Gender diversity takes longer to change in populations such as ladder-rank faculty, where turnover is low and tenures are long. Gender ratios among postdoctoral scholars and student assistants have remained relatively steady. Because of the California Gender Recognition Act (SB-179), UC recently revised self-reporting options for gender identity and sexual orientation. UC is working on improving the recent decline in data quality.

UC has greater faculty diversity in terms of women and Hispanic/Latinx faculty than its peers.

5.2.3  Percent of tenure and tenure-track faculty who are women and/or African American or Hispanic/Latinx, UC and comparison institutions, Fall 2019


Source: IPEDS

Relative to the “Comparison 8” universities (four public institutions: Illinois, Michigan, University at Buffalo, Virginia; four private institutions: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale), most UC campuses have a greater share of faculty who are women. Most UC campuses are at or above the private institutions but below the public ones for African American faculty and African American women faculty shares. Most UC campuses exceed the comparison share of Hispanic/Latinx and Hispanic/Latinx women faculty.

However, UC faculty do not reflect the diversity of California or UC’s graduate and undergraduate students. One of the UC 2030 goals is to expand the pathway to the professoriate to help grow and diversify the faculty.

 5.3 ACADEMIC Hiring and Retention

UC’s hiring of women, African American, and Hispanic/Latinx faculty generally meets or exceeds the national availability of doctorates, with variation among disciplines.

5.3.1 African American new assistant professors compared with national availability by discipline group, Universitywide, 2016-17 to 2019-20


* Underrepresented includes those who identify as Black/African American/African, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian/Native American.

5.3.2 Hispanic/Latinx new assistant professors compared with national availability by discipline group, Universitywide, 2016-17 to 2019-20


5.3.3 Women new assistant professors compared with national availability by discipline group, Universitywide, 2016-17 to 2019-20


Source: UC Academic Personnel and Program Administration and Survey of Earned Doctorates

UC remains committed to diversifying its faculty and taking full advantage of the available pools of qualified candidates. Between 2014 and 2018, women constituted 45.1 percent of nationwide new doctoral degree recipients and 44.7 percent of UC's new hires. Some disciplines at UC have diversified more than others, relative to the availability pools in their field.


Hiring of new faculty has ebbed and flowed over the years in response to budget cuts and enrollment growth. Separations have been more consistent, year over year.

5.3.4 New hires and separations of ladder-rank and equivalent faculty, Universitywide, 2010-11 to 2019-20


Source: UC Academic Personnel and Program Administration, LSOE: Lecturer with Security of Employment, PSOE: Potential for Security of Employment

Over time, faculty numbers have grown, as hiring has generally outpaced separations. Separations have grown modestly, especially among tenured faculty, as the number of retirements has steadily increased. Other factors that can affect hiring and separations include shifts in the economy and fluctuations in State funding that affect the University's budgets. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected faculty recruitment efforts, which are expected to be reflected in lower faculty hiring in coming years.

UC has partnered with Harvard's Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education ( on a research project to survey faculty who leave UC for employment at other universities. This Retention and Exit Study is aimed at understanding and improving the experience of UC faculty members, as well as improving recruitment and retention.

UC faculty salaries have increased, but remain below the comparison institution benchmark.

5.3.5 Average ladder-rank general campus faculty salaries by rank, UC and comparison institutions, 2010-11 to 2020-21


Source: UC Corporate Personnel System, AAUP faculty salary survey

UC faculty salaries have improved in recent years, yet they continue to lag behind the comparison benchmark UC uses to assess the competitiveness of its faculty salaries. UC sets the benchmark using the average salaries of the “Comparison 8” universities (four public: Illinois, Michigan, University at Buffalo, Virginia; four private: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale).

UC's faculty salaries fall below those of the comparison private institutions, but have recently been pulling ahead of the four public institutions as UC has increased investment in faculty salaries while salaries at the public comparison institutions have remained flat or even decreased. This comparison incorporates the inflation adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but it does not factor in the cost of living, which is especially high in most of California compared to the regions of the public peers assessed here.


Growth in UC ladder-rank faculty is critical to upholding quality in instruction, research, and public service.

5.3.6 UC ladder-rank faculty headcount, excluding recall faculty*, Universitywide, October 2011 to 2020


* Recall faculty are retired faculty who return part-time for temporary instruction and/or research needs. They are excluded here to focus on more permanent faculty appointments only.

Growth among UC ladder-rank and equivalent (LRE) faculty has been modest over the last couple of decades, relative to the growth in the student body. One of UC's goals in the multi-year framework adopted by the UC Regents in 2019 is investing in the next generation of the professoriate.

To fulfill this, UC seeks to grow non-recall LRE faculty by 1,100 between 201819 and 202223. UC would need to add 723 LRE faculty in the next two years to achieve this goal. Based on recent trends in faculty growth, the University is at risk of falling short of its goal: the growth required over the next two years is nearly double that of the previous two years.

After four years, UC leadership will assess progress toward advancing undergraduate and graduate degree attainment and diversifying the professoriate.


UC continues to develop pathways to the diversify the professoriate as a part of its 2030 goals.

5.3.7 UC pathways to a diverse professoriate


Source: UC Academic Personnel and Program Administration, UC Corporate Personnel System, Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED availabilities include non-US citizens wo got doctorates at US universities.

Investing in the next generation of the diverse professoriate is one of the three goals of the UC 2030 framework. UC continues to deploy the strategy of growing the graduate and future professoriate pathway, including additional ladder-rank faculty to increase UC’s capacity to grow graduate student numbers. While UC is consistently hiring new faculty from the historically underrepresented groups, it is also cultivating the internal talent pool by creating more research opportunities for undergraduate students and generating a more diverse doctoral students’ pool.

After four years, UC leadership will assess progress toward advancing undergraduate and graduate degree attainment and diversifying the professoriate.