What is STAR?

STAR is an incentive program that rewards A&S staff who complete 20 or more hours of professional development or training activities related in a year (May 1–April 30). STAR is short for “Staff Training Activity Report,” the online system used to keep track of STAR hours.

Who is eligible for STAR?

State-funded full- and part-time employees, both exempt and non-exempt, are eligible for the STAR incentive. Employees whose positions are grant-funded are non-state-funded employees and should consult their department chairs or directors to find out if they are STAR-eligible.

How does STAR work?

If you choose to participate in the STAR program, you’ll use the online system to request approval from your supervisor to receive STAR hours for events and activities. The system will email the request to your supervisor, who will log in to approve or deny the request. You will then receive an email to inform you whether the request was approved or denied.

After each event, you’ll log into the STAR website to report completion. You will earn one STAR hour for every hour of approved training/professional development. (NOTE: CASSA, OCTSA, and PSA meetings count for 30 minutes of STAR credit.)

Staff who complete at least 20 STAR hours per year (May 1-April 30) are eligible for the STAR Incentive. You can track your progress at any time through the system’s reporting feature.

How do I get a STAR account?

For more information on how to sign up for a staff member or supervisor account, visit the Getting Started page.

Is STAR mandatory?

No, STAR is not mandatory. A&S staff are encouraged, but by no means required, to participate.

Is STAR the only way to get a raise? I thought I had to do STAR to get any raise at all.

No. This is a common misconception about STAR. In fact, annual raises and Dean’s Merit raises are not tied to STAR participation.

Here’s how it works: In any year in which the UA Board of Trustees approves funding for raises, staff members in the College of Arts and Sciences may receive (1) department raises, which are given according to guidelines set by staff members’ specific departments; (2) Dean’s Merit raises, which are awarded by the dean, based on supervisors’ recommendations, to up to 40 percent of each department’s staff; and/or (3) the STAR Incentive. If you earn 20 hours of STAR credit, you’ll be awarded the STAR Incentive, regardless of whether you get either of the other raises.

How do I get the STAR Incentive?

Every A&S employee who logs 20 approved STAR hours in one year will receive the STAR Incentive, which is a small pay increase offered when funding is available. Funding is dependent on University allocation and board of trustees approval.

How much is the STAR Incentive?

Because the availability and amounts of raises depend on University allocation and approval by the UA Board of Trustees, we don’t know in advance how much money will be available for pay increases, including the STAR Incentive. Even after the amount available for raises has been determined, the Dean’s Office doesn’t know how many staff members qualify for the STAR Incentive until all staff evaluations have been submitted and reviewed. That’s why we can’t provide an exact figure.

Can I earn STAR hours for activities not sponsored by HR?

Yes, with the approval of your supervisor. Please read the examples of eligible STAR activities found on our STAR Eligibility page.

Can I earn STAR hours for off-campus events?

Yes, with the approval of your supervisor. Please read the examples of eligible STAR activities found on our STAR Eligibility page.

I can’t leave my desk during business hours. How am I supposed to do 20 hours of professional development?

First, talk to your supervisor, who is required to make it possible for you to complete STAR hours. That might mean asking a co-worker or a student worker to cover the phones for a little while, for example. In the majority of offices, this is entirely doable.

Second, remember that a lot of online courses, webinars, and other resources let you earn STAR hours at your desk — often at your own pace and on a schedule that suits you and your workload. If you work in one of the many A&S departments that experience a summertime or exam week lull, you might take advantage of that time to earn some STAR credit online. The resources listed on our STAR Opportunities page include numerous online offerings.

Third, don’t forget about activities you might already be doing: conferences, courses for certification renewal, training sessions offered by facilities, purchasing, and other UA offices. Make sure to enter those into your STAR account so you’ll get the credit you’ve earned. Several of these activities are listed on our STAR Eligibility page.

A class I got STAR credit for two years ago is being offered again. Can I repeat a class for STAR credit?

Yes. STAR is about encouraging A&S staff members to keep their knowledge and skills fresh and up-to-date. Software, policies, and procedures can change from year to year, so repeating courses that are appropriate for your job could be quite helpful.

How can I tell how many hours I’ve earned this year?

The best way to do this is by creating a report in STAR. Start by logging in. From the dropdown menu under “My Event Manager,” select “Download Report.” Check the box next to your name, enter the desired date range (the STAR year runs from May 1 through April 30, but you can enter any date range), and then click “Download.”

I completed 20 hours of activities. Why didn’t I get the STAR Incentive?

The Dean’s Office reviews the STAR report of every A&S employee who completes 20 or more hours. Sometimes, a supervisor will approve activities that aren’t eligible for STAR credit, such as staff meetings, retirement planning sessions, or WellBama. The Dean’s Office strikes those from the employee’s report during the review period, and sometimes this reduces the employee’s total hours below 20. You can prevent this from happening by reviewing our STAR Eligibility page, which lists eligible and non-eligible activities, before submitting an activity for approval.

What if there’s an event I want to attend that’s relevant to my job, but it doesn’t fit any of the categories on the eligibility page?

Complete our User Help & Suggestions form, and we’ll not only get back to you about your specific event, we might also modify the eligibility page to include events like it (if it’s something that may apply to many people).