The Irvine Faculty Association is a voluntary faculty association affiliated with the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA).

The mission of the Irvine Faculty Association is to keep its members informed of matters of concern to UC faculty and to represent UC Irvine faculty to UCOP and the state legislature through CUCFA. As an independent dues-paying association, the Irvine Faculty Association is able to represent faculty concerns in coordination with the Irvine Academic Senate or in divergence from the Academic Senate. As an independent group, the Irvine Faculty Association may also take political positions, protected by the First Amendment, without restriction by university guidelines.

The Irvine Faculty Association is not a union; UC Santa Cruz is the only UC campus to have voted to institute a union. Unlike a union, the Irvine Faculty Association cannot assist individual faculty with grievances or salary issues.  However, under AB 1091, also known as HEERA or The Berman Act of 1979, the Faculty Associations alone have the authority to represent the economic and/or employment interests of their faculties before the University or the Legislature.  Under the Berman Act, the Office of the UC President has the obligation to send notices to CUCFA about any proposed changes to the wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions of UC faculty. If CUCFA has questions about such changes or feels that they are not in the interest of the faculty, it has the right to ask for a consulting session with the UC Administration in Oakland. The Irvine Faculty Association is empowered to bring the concerns of groups of UC Irvine faculty to CUCFA and hence to UCOP and/or the legislature. The Irvine Faculty Association will act as a watchdog and an advocate for UC Irvine faculty rights.