Achievement Awards

Achievement Awards are not currently offered

as of Feb 2021

Achievement Awards are designed to recognize sustained, exceptional performance and/or significant contributions over an extended period of time that represents a major portion of the employee's area of responsibilities, including performance or project goals above and beyond normal performance expectations.


The Berkeley Operating Principles are the criteria for both the Achievement and Spot Awards. Staff participate in activities throughout the year that contribute to the mission of the university and the goals of their units. In some cases, the activity rises to the level of a major achievement as part of a big project, in other cases a staff member engages in a sustained effort to take responsibility for professional development in an area that adds value to his or her work, and to a high performing culture.

Whatever the contribution that is being recognized, at either the Spot or Achievement Award level, it should reflect at least one of the Operating Principles:

  • We include and excel, together
    We cultivate trust, treat one another with respect and assume good intentions. We actively include different perspectives and work cooperatively within and across departments. We thrive when we celebrate the diversity in our community and our common commitment to equity, inclusion and equal access to all.
  • We imagine and innovate
    We develop sustainable solutions that help us meet campus goals. We are willing to take intelligent risks, make mistakes, and learn from our experience.
  • We simplify
    We reduce unnecessary steps and make it easier to get things done. Our solutions are common where they can be, custom where it counts.
  • We are accountable to each other
    We measure supervisor, individual and team performance, make transparent decisions, and follow through on our commitments. We recognize excellence, and give and receive constructive feedback at all levels to help us improve.
  • We focus on service
    We provide timely, excellent service to students, staff, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders. We emphasize service over bureaucracy whenever possible.


Employees eligible for Achievement Awards must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • PPSM (PSS or MSP) or an employee in the Clerical (CX) bargaining unit in one of the following appointment types:
    • Career
    • Partial-Year Career
    • Contract (where eligibility is incorporated into the terms of the contract)
  • Have successfully completed their probationary period, if applicable;
  • Are on active pay status or on an approved unpaid leave; and,
  • Received a "meets expectations" or better overall rating on most recent annual performance evaluation (PPSM 23 requires that written performance evaluations be completed annually).
    Employees who have not yet received an annual performance evaluation may be eligible for an award if their manager confirms on the nomination form that they are "meeting expectations."


  • An employee may not receive an award under the STAR Plan if the employee is a participant in an incentive award plan that prohibits the receipt of a recognition award.
  • An employee's receipt of an award under the STAR Plan does not establish any right or guarantee that the employee will be eligible for or entitled to an award in any subsequent Plan year.
  • Senior Management Group (SMG) members are not eligible for awards.
  • Exclusively represented employees are eligible for recognition awards under the Plan only if the applicable collective bargaining agreement authorizes participation in the STAR Plan.

Timing & Amount

Awards may be presented at any time during the Plan year and should be awarded as soon as possible after the accomplishment or event in order to provide immediate recognition to employees. The Recognition Award Administrator and supervisor should ensure that communication to the employee is coordinated so the recipient is informed of the award before it is deposited to their bank account. Providing an employee the award along with a Thank You Letter and an Award Certificate will reinforce UC Berkeley's appreciation for the special achievement.

The assigned Description of Service (DOS) code XSL, specific to the STAR Plan, must be used when paying awards to employees.


Managers, Supervisors, peers, or other campus individuals may nominate staff for Achievement awards; but because of the sustained, exceptional performance requirements aligned with performance or project goals, it is more likely that nominations will be made by the employee's manager. Nominations for Achievement awards must be approved by the employee's supervisor/manager and the Vice Chancellor or Dean.

Nominations should be submitted via the Berkeley STAR Nomination Form. The form should be submitted to the Recognition Award Administrator (for the nominated employee's department). Nominations for Achievement Awards normally are submitted during the second half of the fiscal year or near the end of a major project.

  • APPROVAL OF NOMINATION - The employee's department head must approve the employee's nomination.
  • CONFIRMING ELIGIBILITY - Completed nomination forms are submitted to the Recognition Award Administrator for the unit who reviews the nomination for eligibility.
  • REVIEW PROCESS - Each unit establishes its own review and approval process with timelines to ensure the award funds are distributed within the fiscal year.
    • If the employee meets the eligibility criteria, the Recognition Award Administrator notifies the nominator, and, depending on the unit’s approval process, forwards the nomination to the Unit's Award Review Committee, Vice Chancellor, or Dean or their designee for review and final decision. 
  • AWARD LETTER & CERTIFICATE -  Approved nominees receive an award letter and a certificate presented to the recipient by the manager or supervisor.
  • PAYMENT OF THE AWARD – Should be requested via Berkeley Regional Services (BRS) or your local HR. The award is processed via a one-time payment in UCPath and will be reflected in the following paycheckCoordinate the communication with the employee so they are informed of the award before it is deposited to their bank account