Within the UC system and at UCLA there are many terms used to describe the roles of people who perform different combinations of teaching and research. Professor, faculty, lecturer, visiting scholar, researcher, adjunct and instructor are all in use. As you can probably imagine, there is great sensitivity about the proper use of title and the description-of-role at doctoral-granting universities with high volume research such as UCLA. The title and role for those teaching at UCLA Extension is instructor.

There are three types of working relationship for instructors teaching at UCLA Extension: 1) By-Agreement/On Payroll (known hereafter as “by agreement”); 2) those acting as an Independent Contractor; and 3) those with an Annual Renewable Contract. By far, the vast majority of our instructors are by agreement, so called because they are on University payroll but execute a separate agreement for each class taught.

By Agreement. UCLA Extension is renowned for its draw on teaching, business and artist communities. It is largely the extramural experience of our instructors that keeps the content in the Extension classroom grounded in real-world practice and therefore fresh and relevant for our demanding students. We deem it a strategic advantage and a feature of our pedagogy to employ those with professional engagements elsewhere, and for whom a teaching assignment here is a passionate but part-time experience. By Agreement instructors are on payroll, but are limited to 432 podium hours per year which is the equivalent of three full 4-unit courses in each of the four academic quarters.

Independent Contractor. Independent Contractors also teach by agreement for each class taught, but they are not on payroll. UCLA Extension will use independent contractors, particularly when a new class is desired in an emerging field and there are few qualified professionals available for hire. We also use the Independent Contractor model for special guest speakers who makes presentations on special topics no more than 12 times in a year. To ensure conformance with applicable tax and employment law, prospective Independent Contractors are asked to complete a pre-hire worksheet to screen for compliance with UC policy (and employment and tax law); and to present proof of commercial liability insurance ($1M per occurrence and not less than $2M aggregate). Services that are dependent on having an employment relationship, such as a Bruin Online account, are not available. Independent Contractors are limited to 288 podium hours per year, which is the equivalent of two full 4-unit courses in each of the four academic quarters.

Annual Renewable Contract. Under the very rare circumstance where there is predictable, sustained and heavy demand for core instruction, Extension may recruit and appoint full-time salaried instructional personnel with annual renewable contracts. These instructors are full-time employees on payroll who do not sign separate agreements for each course they teach. Nor are they constrained in the number of podium hours to which they may be assigned – they work a standard work week, usually in a daytime program. They are entitled to complimentary enrollment as a benefit under the staff employee provisions, rather than the instructor provisions. Becoming an instructor with an annual renewable contract is not an option for prospective or current by agreement instructors – it is a relationship that arises when Extension determines that the market, the budget and the nature of the instruction will optimize with the assignment of full-time instructional personnel.

General terms and conditions of instruction apply equally to the three types of instructor. In addition to the material found on this site, the signature page of your contract will include the course schedule, the location of instruction, and details about payments to be made to you.


UCLA Extension reserves the right to cancel a class due to low enrollment or in case of an emergency. To be sustainable, each class is required to have a minimum number of paid enrollments. You will be contacted by your program rep if there is not a sufficient number of students or if we have an emergency such as flood or fire that preempts your meeting. If your department decides to cancel your class, our contract cancels.

Course Authors

UCLA Extension retains the services of course authors who have the same employment status as any by-agreement instructor. Rather than teach, their contracts call for composition of materials to be used by instructors, such as online lectures, slides, presentations, syllabi, problem sets and exams – even whole curricula. The principal provisions of their agreements treat issues of intellectual property – whether the materials will be owned by the University because we have commissioned them as a work made for hire, or that the author has granted, assigned and transferred to UCLA Extension rights, title and interest in their works. It is not uncommon for our by-agreement instructors to deliver an entire course using material from our growing library of lectures and materials.


Extension’s by-agreement instructors are paid monthly for work rendered in the previous month. As noted when you came aboard, instructors are typically paid on the first of each month for services provided in the previous month. For example, payment is made February 1 for service provided in January. The exception to this is when your class begins in the second half of the month (16th – 31st). In this case, the first payment is made in 1 ½ months. If the class begins January 18, your first paycheck will be issued March 1. If you are teaching more than one class, payments will be combined. Payments for training we have mandated or for services rendered as a Course Author will also be disbursed with these factors in mind.

If you have a regular University of California appointment, payment is included with your regular University check. You will find payment detail for your Extension work itemized separately on your Earnings Statement found on the AtYourService website.

If you are an independent contractor, you will receive payment as a vendor from UCLA’s Accounts Payable system in response to your invoice. Payment will be disbursed in a lump sum after full service has been delivered.

As noted before, UCLA Extension reserves the right to cancel a course due to low enrollment or in the case of an emergency. If your class cancels our contract cancels and no payment will be made unlessthe class was to have been presented by you for the first time in which case you will be paid an honorarium. If your class is cancelled after it has begun, you will be paid for the portion actually taught.

Defined Contribution Plan (DCP)

Reminder: When you completed your hiring documents, we advised you that the University of California offers eligible employees a tax-deferred retirement plan under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. The DCP provides supplemental retirement benefits based on each employee’s contributions, plus any earnings. Enrollment in the plan is mandatory and is a condition of employment for by-agreement instructors and course authors, and those teaching under annual renewable contracts.Contributions are automatically invested in the UC-managed Savings Fund; however, participants may direct future contributions to one of the UC-managed investment funds or to Fidelity Investment Mutual Funds.

For most instructors, participation in the DCP may prevent contributions to a traditional IRA from being tax-deductible. We encourage you to check with your tax advisor.

In addition to contacting Extension’s Budget and Financial Services Department, you may contact UC Benefits Customer Service at (800) 888-8267 regarding the DCP.

Privacy–Making and Keeping Contact

Your privacy is important to us. Through the Instructor Portal or at your point of hire, you provided contact information such as preferred phone, email addresses and a mailing address. Our administrative staff use this information to stay in touch. For each of these fields, you indicated whether you permitted its release to other parties who might contact us looking for you. If the release field is checked, we will provide the contact information to current, former and prospective students and to other Extension instructors. If none of the fields are checked, we will take a message and let you know who has attempted to contact you. To change the values in these fields, log in to the Instructor Portal or contact your program rep.

You will be able to view rosters of your students both within the Canvas LMS and through the Instructor Portal, but you will find no address, phone or email contact information. This omission is by design. California Civil Code [sec. 1798] prohibits the University from distributing this information to persons without explicit authorization of the party of record, and UCLA Extension policy prohibits the distribution of student and instructor mailing list/directory information to persons who have no defined business purpose or need. Adult students tend to covet their privacy. We therefore begin with a bias favoring students’ privacy.

Even so, we recognize that many students will seek to interact with one another outside of class. Learning happens best when reinforced. The Canvas learning management system provides the means for enabling classroom communication between you and your students at any time, whatever the delivery format for your course, and supports searches and connections without disclosing students’ email addresses. If students wish to use Canvas to exchange private email addresses so that communication can continue after the class has ended, they are welcome to do so. If you believe that a Canvas course shell has not been established for your course or you’re not sure how to employ it, contact your program rep.

Academic Approvals–Letters of Reference

When proposed to teach a credit-bearing course for the first time, a dossier will be assembled for academic approval that will include three letters of reference. You may, upon request, be provided access to such letters in redacted form. Redaction is defined as the removal of identifying information (including name, title, institutional affiliation and relationship to you) contained either at the top of the letterhead or within and below the signature block of the letter. To encourage candor, we assure the authors of letters of reference that the University will endeavor to protect their identities to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

Contract Acceptance and Class Schedule

Please review the content of the signature page carefully. Instruction can begin and payment to you made for that instruction only if the contract has been accepted by you, with an inked or electronically-signed copy returned.

The signature page of the contract displays the section start and section end dates of instruction. The dates will be presented to students as a condition of their enrollment contract. If our contract is for you to teach a traditional format 4-unit, 12-week class, the start and end dates will indicate the first and last 3-hour meeting, and the contract will display the total number of meeting dates. If our contract is for an online class, the first date will indicate commencement of instruction, the last date will mark its conclusion, the contract will display 0 meeting dates and all instruction will occur on and between these start and end dates. Consider a series of telephone poles and the wire strung between them. The traditional format instructor will think of meeting dates as poles with one for each meeting date. The online instructor will see the dates as milestones, and view the wire strung between poles as having the greater significance. A hypothetical 12-meeting traditional format class with a start date of Friday, January 1, 2016 will meet 12 times with the final meeting date falling on March 18. An online version of the class starting Friday, January 1 and meeting over 12 weeks will end March 25.

If you will be teaching in an online format, you generally ignore the impact of holidays that occur mid-quarter. If you will be teaching in a traditional format, you may be contending with to-be-arranged make-up meetings to offset the scheduling impact of official holidays, and students’ requests for relief for any major religious holidays. We urge you to carefully reconcile the start and end dates on your contract to your lesson plans and syllabus, taking into consideration delivery format, holidays and other considerations.

Separation and Retirement

Keep us informed of your plans. Although by-agreement instructors contract with us class by class, your appointment remains in place until officially ended. If you have taught for us for the last time, let your program rep know to arrange for your appointment to formally end. Once done, our payroll office will contact you with useful information about the disposition of your DCP or any 403(b) contributions. If you forget to notify us of separation, we’ll correct for this during an annual audit we conduct on a rolling schedule of hiring anniversaries.

If you retire from a regular staff or faculty position at the University, you will be rendered ineligible for a teaching assignment at UCLA Extension for at least 30 days from the date of separation, whether or not you have signed a class contract.