Professional Employee Promotion Process Information

Professional Career Ladder

In an effort to provide University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professionals with a system through which they can advance themselves, thus improving employee morale and resulting in a futures-oriented, successful and productive workforce, the Extension Professional Committee (EPC) has developed the following “Career Ladder.” The system that is presented here was developed after input was received from the Extension Administration and the UMaine Extension Professional Community as a whole. It covers all individuals with a majority appointment to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension who are in the UMPSA Bargaining Unit.

1. Titles/Ranks

Each UMaine Extension position has a working title that describes the main area of responsibility of the job description. For example: Scientist, Entomologist, Editor, Marketing Coordinator, etc. Each Extension position also holds a rank within the UMaine Extension structure. The Extension Professional Ranks are: Extension Professional I, Extension Professional II, Extension Professional III, and Extension Professional IV.

2. Promotion Process

All individuals enter the UMaine Extension Professional system at the Extension Professional I Rank. Personnel remain at the entry Rank of Extension Professional I for at least four years. (Individuals employed as Professionals at the time when this document became official, were given the rank of Extension Professional I and were assumed to have held this rank since they were employed by UMaine Extension as a Professional.) An increase in Rank may be awarded after the completion of four (4) full years of employment in the present Job Rank. The Professional may request a rank increase during the Promotion Review Period prior to the fourth anniversary of his/her last rank increase.

It is important to note that movement through the Ladder is based on a continuous progression. An individual can only be promoted one step during any promotion review process. To be promoted to the next rank, the individual must consistently show an increase in work performance, competence and follow-through specific to his/her job responsibilities and must at a minimum, meet the following definitions:

Extension Professional I: No formal Extension experience is required, however formal education in the subject(s) related to the job description is expected. Individual demonstrates an understanding of Extension’s mission and successfully fulfills his/her job responsibilities.

Extension Professional II: Experience with Extension and a thorough understanding of Extension’s mission is necessary, along with satisfactory performance in all areas of assigned responsibility, and evidence of efforts to improve professional competence.

Extension Professional III: Experience with Extension and a thorough understanding of Extension’s mission is necessary, along with a sustained high level of competence in performing assigned responsibilities.

Extension Professional IV: Experience with Extension and a thorough understanding of Extension’s mission is necessary, along with sustained outstanding performance in assigned responsibilities. At this rank, evidence of innovative and creative performance in the conduct of work is required.

It is also important to note that in the event of a promotion, the employee and supervisor will review the employee’s job description and make necessary changes to reflect current duties, with a copy of the updated job description added to the employee’s personnel file. Even if no changes are made, the agreed-upon job description should be dated and signed by the employee and supervisor to signify that it is accurate as of that date.

3. Promotion Review Process

Rank promotions are considered using a process led by a Committee made up of three (3) Extension Professionals and a non-voting Administration Liaison. This committee is known as the Extension Professional Promotion Review Committee or EPPRC. Representing the three general areas of responsibility within the Extension Professional community of Organizational Support, State-Based Program Support, and County-Based Program Support, EPPRC Professional Members are elected by the Extension Professionals to serve for two (2) years on a rotating basis. All Professionals, either full or part-time employees who have been employed by UMaine Extension for at least one year, are eligible to be elected to this committee. The Director appoints the Administration Liaison. Recommendations made by the EPPRC will be determined based on a majority vote of the EPPRC members. The final decision regarding a promotion request is at the sole discretion of the campus president.

Promotion packets are confidential documents and should be treated as such. Packet evaluations should not be discussed beyond EPPRC.

There are six (6) steps in the Promotion Process.

  1. The employee sends a “letter of intent to request a promotion” to the Director with a copy to his/her immediate supervisor. This letter is due to the Director on or anytime before November 1st. It should simply state the Employee’s intent to begin the promotion process described by the Extension Professional Career Ladder. The applicant will download the Promotion Review Application Form from Plugged In, as well as a sample of the EPPRC Reviewer Worksheet (PDF) used by the EPPRC when reviewing applicants’ packets.
  2. Employee submits one (1) complete packet (with supplemental materials, i.e., bulletins, fact sheets, etc., placed at the back or in a separate binder) including the application forms and one (1) packet on a CD or flash drive including the application forms in Word or PDF file format. The completed packet is due back to the Director the last business day prior to December 1 if that date falls on a weekend or holiday. The EPPRC reviews the requests between December 1st and February 1st.
  3. The EPPRC sends its recommendations to the Director’s office, with a copy to the employee’s Immediate Supervisor, no later than February 1st.
  4. The Immediate Supervisor will review and provide written comments on the Recommendations by March 1st (no response is assumed to mean agreement).
  5. The Director or his/her designee will review and provide written comments on the Recommendations by April 1st and forward all requests for promotion to Human Resources and then to the Provost’s office and the President for final approval.
  6. Sandy will send copies of all three (3) recommendations with a letter to each professional for their information If the promotion request is approved, the promotion will become effective on July 1 or will be retroactive to July 1 in the case of fiscal year appointments and September 1 for academic year appointments. It is important to note that in the event of a promotion, a re-write of the person’s Job Description will be added to their personnel file.

4. Rank Increase Criteria

Rank increases may be recommended based on the criteria listed in this section. Not all of the points below must be addressed to achieve a promotion; however, an applicant’s chances of receiving a promotion will become greater as more points are addressed. Please concentrate on activities undertaken since your last rank increase. Whenever possible, indicate in each case how your actions have positively impacted UMaine Extension and/or the public when addressing the points below.

A. Leadership demonstrated by the Employee.

  1. Demonstrate how you have participated in committees, task forces and other interdisciplinary groups beyond normal job responsibilities that contribute to the furthering of Extension’s mission.
  2. Demonstrate how you have provided leadership for committees, task forces and other interdisciplinary groups excelling within your job responsibilities in ways that contribute to the furthering of Extension’s mission.

B. Innovations developed by the Employee.

  1. What projects have you pursued or initiated to benefit UMaine Extension’s mission?
  2. What creative and logical solutions to problems and decision-making processes have you developed and employed?

C. Educational Support and Development provided by the Employee.

  1. Provide examples of how you have provided consistently high-quality educational support and development for Extension.
  2. Demonstrate how you have taken on added responsibilities within the scope of your position.
  3. Demonstrate how your position has undergone a shift in emphasis that has created added benefits for the organization.
  4. In what ways have you demonstrated greater autonomy within the scope of your position?
  5. In what ways have you demonstrated effective teamwork?

D. Professional Development initiatives made by the Employee and their impact on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

  1. List any professional development activities (courses, committee work, networking opportunities, professional affiliations, etc. — both within and outside of UMaine Extension) and how you have benefited professionally as a result of these activities.

5. Rank Increases in Financial Terms

Each change in Rank increases the individual’s annual salary by a minimum of $2,600, prorated for part-time unit members. This amount will be changed annually to reflect the cost of living increases. An amount greater than the $2,600 minimum may be awarded subject to the review and approval of the Human Resources office. If this is the case, the individual will be notified when the increase is approved by the president.

Additional Salary Increase Ranges (Updated for FY 2007)

High = $1,901 to $2,600
Medium = $1,201 to $1,900
Low = 0 to $1,200

6. Additional to the Rank Increases

At the time of promotion, professional staff are considered for increases in addition to the set increase at the time of promotion.

The criteria for administrative decisions on additional salary increases are:

  • greatest value is placed on:
    • program impact
    • quality of your service and cooperation with others
    • program creativity
    • competency
  • intermediate value is placed on:
    • past contributions to the organization
    • potential for future contributions to the organization and programs
    • salary of peers with similar years of service and rank
  • lesser value, but still relevant to the analysis, is placed on:
    • market value
    • total years of service
    • past entry-level salary within the group at the time of hire
  • the final decision regarding any recommended salary adjustment is made by the UM Provost in consultation with the UM Office of Equal Employment Opportunity

7. Ladder Evaluation

The EPPRC, EPC and Administrative Council will jointly review this process to identify and correct weaknesses within the process after the first year of its implementation and periodically thereafter.


This document was approved by UMaine Human Resources Department and UMPSA on December 18, 1998.

This document was created by the Extension Professionals Committee (EPC), in collaboration with the UMaine Cooperative Extension Administrative Council and Extension professional staff. November 1998. This document was revised in October 1999 and October 2016.