UC Berkeley Staff Fellowship Program

Fellowship Program

The UC Berkeley Staff Fellowship program is a campus-sponsored initiative providing staff members an opportunity to gain exposure to an area beyond their immediate job context. It is designed to attract and develop highly capable, competitive and career-focused individuals, thus creating a pipeline of exceptional talent familiar with working at UC Berkeley. The program focuses on the professional development of staff members and is structured to provide fellows with unique experience that may not be typically available to someone starting out in a new field of work. This is a great opportunity to explore, experiment, and learn!

What is a staff fellowship?

A staff fellowship refers to an unpaid opportunity for campus staff members to gain exposure to an area beyond their immediate job context, in support of career mobility and campus community.

About the Campus-Sponsored Fellowship Program

  • Campus-Sponsored Staff Fellowship Programs afford staff members an opportunity to gain exposure to an area beyond their immediate job context, in support of career mobility and campus community.

  • Campus-sponsored staff fellowships are projects or other value-added, short-term work that represent approximately 5% of a full-time workload.

  • Staff fellowship positions do not displace employees or replace paid positions or the work of regular employees. Projects are short-term experiences that generally last approximately 3-4 months.

  • The staff fellowship is an unpaid professional development activity. Staff fellows do not receive wages or stipends over and above their existing salary.

  • Staff members must apply for a specific staff fellowship project (defined in brief position description) through a simple, but precise, application and selection process.

  • When the sponsoring department selects a staff fellow, a staff fellowship agreement (MOU) is completed and shared with the Career & Professional Development Lead within UC Berkeley People & Culture (formerly Central Human Resources). Both the sponsoring manager and the staff fellow’s releasing manager must be in support for the staff fellowship to go forward.

  • The sponsoring campus department seeks approval and/or support from UC Berkeley People & Culture (formerly Central Human Resources), as needed.

  • The sponsoring campus department or the staff fellow can discontinue the staff fellowship at any time. Fellowships are structured and implemented according to written Staff Fellowship guidelines.

Program Roles & Responsibilities:

Staff Fellowship Project Sponsor

The Staff Fellowship Project Sponsor is the person who has a project or program opportunity and has the time to promote the opportunity, speak with staff fellowship candidates, select the staff fellow, and supervise, manage, mentor, and coach the staff fellow through successful completion of the staff fellowship project. Additionally, to be a Staff Fellowship Project Sponsor, individuals will meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a title of P-3 or above, or be in a Supervisor, Manager, or Sr. Manager level role. 

  • Have completed all modules in the BPM Pt. 1 Grow Today Series

  • Secure the full support of their campus department/unit prior to listing a Staff Fellowship Project.

  • Commit to following up with all Staff Fellowship applicants in an efficient and timely manner.

  • Provide feedback to the Staff Fellowship Program team as requested for the purpose of continued improvement.

Home Supervisors and Managers 

The Home Supervisor or Manager is the individual to whom the staff person who is applying for a Staff Fellowship opportunity and/or becomes a Staff Fellow reports for their primary job. For purposes of this program, the role of the Home Supervisor or Manager includes the following:

  • Review, discuss, and approve requests from staff to apply for and participate in Staff Fellowship projects, unless approval would substantially impede the operations of the unit.

  • Provide flexible staffing arrangements to facilitate participation.

  • Consider participation in a campus-sponsored fellowship program as a good development experience and performance development goal that is discussed during Achieve Together Check-In conversations and documented on the Achieve Together form. 

Staff Fellow

The Staff Fellow is the person who applies for, is offered, accepts, and commits to a Staff Fellowship project. Additionally, to be a Staff Fellow, individuals will meet the following criteria:

  • Be a non-represented employee or in an approved bargaining unit (such as the Teamsters) in good standing with at least one year of service at UC Berkeley.

  • As far in advance as possible, enlist the support of their Home Supervisor or Manager to participate in a Staff Fellowship project during normal work hours in accordance with the requirements of campus policy.

  • Complete all requested steps as an applicant in applying for a Staff Fellowship project.

  • Commit to the Staff Fellow project responsibilities as outlined and agreed upon.

UC Berkeley People & Culture 

UC Berkeley People & Culture’s People & Organization Development unit is committed to supporting this campuswide professional development opportunity in the following ways:

  • Serve as the campuswide Staff Fellowship Program Sponsor through the leadership of Chief Learning Officer Angela Stopper.

  • The Staff Fellowship Program is managed by Andrea Parthasarathy, a People & Organization Development staff member, who will:

    • Design and maintain the UC Berkeley Staff Fellowship Program website to promote the program and facilitate the matching process.

    • Host events such as Staff Fellowship fairs, information sessions, and recognition activities to promote and build the program and acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of all those involved.

    • Collaborate with Staff Fellowship Project Sponsors, Staff Fellows, Home Supervisors and Managers, and other stakeholders across campus, the UC System and peer institutions to assess, improve and offer collaborative, efficient and innovative ways to build the program.

Next Steps:

For Staff Fellows

If you are interested in a posted Staff Fellowship Project, follow these steps: 

1. Review the project description and assess for interest and alignment with career goals and availability.

2. Discuss the project time frame, commitments and current work with immediate supervisor/manager and secure their support to move forward with applying for the staff fellowship project.

3. Once you have your immediate supervisor’s support to move forward, email the listed Project Sponsor(s) a communication of interest and include the following (here is a sample email communication):

  • A brief intro (title, role, dept., team)
  • Statement of interest including
    • How this aligns with your career goals/interests
    • What you are interested in learning
    • What you are interested in contributing
    • A statement confirming that you have discussed this staff fellowship opportunity with your supervisor and have their support to engage in this project should you be selected
  • Questions you may have for the Project Sponsor(s)

For Project Sponsors

  1. Complete the Project Sponsor Form linked at the top of this webpage.

Once your project is posted and you begin receiving emails of interest: 

  1. Apply practices of professionalism, courtesy, timeliness, fairness, inclusion and belonging to your process for engaging with all who reach out to you to explore your posted staff fellowship project.

  2. Respond in a timely manner to emails of interest by scheduling the exploratory conversation and/or informing them of the timeline and status of where you are in your decision process.

  3. Use the same structure for project overview and questions for all staff exploratory conversations (here is a sample conversation overview and questions list).

  4. Once you have selected the person for the staff fellowship project and confirmed their commitment, customize the Staff Fellowship Agreement and secure all signatures (yours, theirs, and the immediate supervisor of the staff person). Email a copy of the agreement to the campuswide Staff Fellowship Program to andream@berkeley.edu.

  5. Reach out to all staff fellow applicants who you have met with to schedule a 5 minute follow up conversation (either by phone, Zoom, in person) to inform them of the decision. We suggest that you also follow up with an email to share other options with them that you would recommend. (Here is a sample communication with other options for them to explore.)

  6. Begin your Staff Fellowship project, including regular check-ins with your Staff Fellow to review project goals and learning outcomes as outlined on the established Staff Fellowship Agreement.

  7. Share your feedback about your experience, ideas and/or questions with the Staff Fellowship Program managers as they arise and as requested to contribute to program enhancements.

Additional Resources: 

Important Terms and Definitions

  • Campus-Sponsored Activities: A variety of campus-run programs typically conducted outside the normal work unit for the purpose of developing staff in areas that support University goals.

    • Examples include, but are not limited to, learning and development programs; technology and systems training; career development workshops; systemwide development programs; staff career development conferences (such as the Next Opportunities at Work (NOW) Conference); the New Employee Reception and Orientation; online learning opportunities; fellowship programs; mentor programs; meetings and events hosted by campus staff organizations; campus, unit and/or department advisory groups and committees; and community building / staff development events held during Staff Appreciation Weeks. 

  • Campus-Sponsored Staff Fellowship Program: A program intended to give staff the opportunity to work outside of their immediate office to gain exposure, experience, and knowledge through a defined project or other productive activity. 

  • Official Sponsors: One of the following three campus positions: the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; the Director, People and Organization Development; the Assistance Vice Chancellor, People & Culture (formerly Human Resources) or equivalent positions. 

  • Sponsorship: In the context of this policy, sponsorship refers to having the written and confirmed support of an official sponsor, as listed above. Sponsorship does not guarantee financial support of the program or organization. 

  • Staff Fellowship: In the context of this policy, fellowship refers to an unpaid opportunity for campus staff members to gain exposure to an area beyond their immediate job context, in support of career mobility and campus community. 


(We will be updating the FAQs as questions about the program come in.)

  • What is the difference between a fellowship and an internship? 

    • We are framing this as a staff fellowship program to recognize the level of expertise, experience and strengths that a staff person brings to a staff fellowship project. 

  • Can represented staff participate in the Staff Fellowship program?

    • At this time this program is for non-represented staff.

  • How can I make the case for my supervisor to support this request? 

    • UC Berkeley has a policy (link to policy) stating that all staff are eligible to 80 hours of professional development time per year, and the UC Berkeley Staff Fellowship Program is listed in the policy as a professional development opportunity.

  • What’s in it for a manager?

    • As a manager, it is important to encourage and support the professional development of your direct reports. This program will allow your reports to grow their skills, network on campus, and explore their interests.

  • How long is a staff fellowship?

    • This program is designed to last approximately 3-4 months. The fellow’s participation may not exceed 80 hours. 

  • How much time is involved in being a staff fellow?

    • The specific schedule of the program must be defined by the department sponsoring the fellowship, and then agreed upon by the fellow and their supervisor. The fellow may not miss important duties expected of them.

  • How do I pick the right fellowship for me?

    • Attend a workshop

    • Have a conversation with your supervisor to explore what is next 

    • Have a conversation with a career coach/peer/program manager