Special Consultant

In the CSU, a "Special Consultant" is a professional, exempt, temporary employee who has extensive, demonstrated experience in a particular area or specialty in which services are required for a defined period of time. The faculty special consultant appointment is an assignment that draws upon the faculty member's particular knowledge, ability, or expertise. Appointments are generally made to complete a project with a defined scope of work and tangible outcomes.

Faculty special consultant projects require submission and approval of 1) a pre-approval form—before any work begins, and 2) a payment voucher—after milestones and/or total project completion. Special consultant appointments may be thought of as contractual relationships. Labor is not compensated for time spent on tasks. Departments are expected to withhold payment until project completion (all specified tasks adequately completed).

Examples: Install and calibrate laboratory equipment; re-write qualifying exams for a department; complete evaluation of university services; research and submit report on graduation rates for a college.

Payment: Vouchers are limited to monthly submissions of work completed on non-duty days within the month's payroll dates, but they may only compensate for completed work during the month. Payment is not made until vouchers are submitted. Vouchers are not submitted if work is not completed.

The work performed by a Special Consultant is non-bargaining unit work and the employee is paid at a daily rate, once per month. Covered by: workers' compensation and unemployment insurance.

There is no accrual of benefits such as sick leave, vacation, health and dental benefits. Subject to social security and/or Medicare deductions. Background check required. Given the constraints imposed by Article 36 of the CBA, the funding sources for special consultants typically must be from non-general funds.

Note: The special consultant job category is the most ill-used work classification. If there are duties for part-time or full-time faculty to perform in summer, winter, or special session, generating an appointment or adding additional FTE to their time base is likely the more proper way to compensate the faculty member. During regular sessions, full-time faculty members forced into overload (greater than 1.0 FTE) will most often fit criteria for Category 2403. Part-time faculty should most often be appointed with additional time base in their regular appointment. Please scrutinize the requirements for special consultant appointments prior to using that job classification.

Special Consultant Pre-Approval Request (Form 1)

Scope of work with timelines must be submitted for approval.

  • Work shall not begin within one month of the request's submission date.
  • Approval may not be granted for work purported to have already been completed.
  • Timeline may not exceed one year

Approval by an MPP is required. Payment for work is typically by "daily rate" reported on monthly vouchers (Form 2)

Daily rate is determined by one of these two methods:

  • For AY faculty, take the current annual compensation rate (based on 1.0 FTE) and divide by 170 days. Then round to the nearest $50 increment.
  • For 12 month faculty, take the current annual compensation rate (based on 1.0 FTE) and divide by 260 days.

Pay between $125.20 - $138.80 requires using a non-exempt classification (e.g., Special Consultant - NE, class code 8379). Therefore, SJSU recommends not paying Special Consultants lower than $140 per day. This allows using an exempt classification (e.g., Special Consultant - E, class code 4660).

To learn more about making this type of appointment in OnBase, please visit: Special Consultant Pre-Approval Guide.

Special Consultant Payment Request (Form 2)

The Project Lead, upon receiving a report and confirming work was completed by the faculty member, reviews the accomplishments. If they determine that a milestone or project completion is reached, the Project Lead will notify the Department Contact to initiate the Payment Request form. Submitting the Payment Request form to UP - FS is affirmation that the Project Lead is fully satisfied with progress or that the assignment is complete. In cases where the Project Lead is not satisfied with progress, they should contact the Senior Director, Faculty Services.

The department contact will initiate payment based on the agreed upon deliverables on the Special Consultant Pre-Approval. The department contact will complete all sections of the Special Consultant Payment form. The position number must link to a special consultant classification (8379 or 4660). If the department doesn't have a position number, please reach out to the Position Management group in UP.

To avoid errors, check that:

  • Department Name and Department ID match the information for position number in PeopleSoft.
  • Dates worked are only faculty non-duty days. See faculty academic calendar for these dates.
  • A full daily rate is requested; no partial days or hours are allowed.

Submit the Special Consultant Payment Form to UP - FS. They will review the request. If it is approved, UP - FS will route to UP-Employee Support Services (ESS) for processing. ESS will forward next to Payroll. Once Payroll processes the payment, it can take approximately 2 weeks for the State Controller's Office to issue the pay warrant.

To learn more about making this type of appointment in OnBase, please visit: Special Consultant Payment Guide.