The University of Wisconsin (UW) is embarking on a complete redesign of its current classification and compensation structure. The new personnel authority UW System and UW-Madison received as of July 1, 2015 provides an unprecedented opportunity to review and modify our classification/compensation systems, and also review our employee benefits programs. Our goal will be to develop new systems that will enable our institutions to continue to attract and retain the best talent.


The Study required to develop this new structure will involve reviewing the functions of more than 1,800 job titles across the UW System. We have not done a study of this scope in over 30 years. To successfully accomplish this large-scale project, UW-Madison and the UW System plan to jointly develop core job title and compensation structures. The structure needs to accommodate the unique needs of all institutions, including the need for UW-Madison, as a major research institution, to develop different structures; and also accommodate a wide range of other institutions, including 13 freshman-sophomore institutions, plus the statewide UW-Extension.

This study will cover three areas:

  • Job titles, compensation structures, and related labor market data for Academic, Limited, and University Staff;
  • Employee benefits structures for Faculty and all staff (except state-administered programs that include retirement and health insurance); and
  • Employee-leave programs for Faculty and all staff.

Advisory Council

The success of this Study will require extensive and effective communication, change-management planning and the input from a newly appointed Advisory Council. The Advisory Council, jointly led by co-chairs, Chancellor Mark Mone (UW-Milwaukee) and Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf (UW-Madison) will play a strategically key role in guiding the study. This will include reviewing the draft request for proposals (RFP business requirements) to engage external technical resources that will support the substantial internal resources we will devote to this review.

Success will also require close partnerships with all stakeholders including faculty, staff, governance groups and university leadership.

Next Steps

On February 17, 2017, Mercer consulting was selected as the vendor and consulting partner for the Title and Total Compensation Study. Mercer is a global leader in consulting on high quality workforce solutions that strengthen the organization’s ability to attract, develop, retain and engage the best and brightest talent. Their vast experience with higher educational institutions and systems combined with their expertise in titling and compensation strategies in academic and research environments is critical as we move forward. For more information on Mercer, go to their homepage.