This policy was a part of the former UPS Policy set that was integrated into the System Administrative Policy set. It applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions except for UW-Madison. For UW-Madison’s policies, please see the Human Resource Design Policies website.

Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015
Last Revision Date:

1. Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a general reference for position categorization.

2. Policy Background

Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes sets forth the right and obligation of the UW Board of Regents to create and maintain a system of human resources for the UW institutions. Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter UWS 1 sets forth the definitions for academic staff and faculty.  Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS 3 sets forth faculty appointment types.

Wis. Stat. § 36.115(2) requires the Board of Regents and the UW-Madison chancellor to develop personnel systems that are separate and distinct from the personnel system under Wis. Stat. Chapter 230.  Effective July 1, 2015, this operational policy provided the definitional framework for employee categories for all employees at UW System institutions.

3. Policy Definitions

Please see SYS 1225,General Terms and Definitions, for a list of general terms and definitions.

Definitions specific to this policy:

 Academic staff as defined in Wis. Stat. § 36.05(1) means professional and administrative personnel with duties and appointment types that are primarily associated with higher education institutions or their administration but does not include faculty or university staff. Generally, academic staff are exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS 10 directs each institution to develop guidelines for designating academic staff positions as fixed term, probationary or indefinite appointments.

Faculty as defined in Wis. Stat. § 36.05(8) means persons who hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor in an academic department or its functional equivalent in an institution, and such academic staff as may be designated by the chancellor and faculty of the institution.

Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter UWS 3 requires the faculty of each institution, after consultation with appropriate students and with the approval of the chancellor, to develop rules relating to faculty probationary and tenure appointments.

Limited appointment as defined under Wis. Stat. § 36.17 and Wis. Adm. Code UWS 15.01 means a special appointment to a designated administrative position, the holder of which serves at the pleasure of the authorized official who made the appointment.  Certain positions must be designated as limited appointments under Wis. Stat. § 36.17(2), while others may be designated by the employer as limited appointments at the time of the appointment.

Generally, a limited appointee has no minimum notice period rights should he or she be terminated. If the limited appointee holds a concurrent appointment in the faculty, academic staff or university staff service, the appointee has no minimum notice rights but does have the right to assume the concurrent appointment without a separation in service.

University staff means the university workforce who contribute in a broad array of positions in support of the University’s mission.  University staff are generally not exempt (e.g., hourly) from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  University staff appointments may also be made on a temporary or project basis.  Please see SYS 1256, University Staff Temporary & Project Appointments, for further guidance on temporary and project appointments.

[Note:  All FLSA exempt employees holding positions in the State of Wisconsin “classified” service as of June 30, 2015 will be given the choice to remain in the university staff for as long as they retain their existing positions, or to voluntarily be reassigned to a position that the institution has designated as either an academic staff or limited appointment position – see SYS 1287, Voluntary Reassignment.]

Employees-in-Training authorized as Other appointments under Wis. Stat. § 36.19 and Wis. Adm. Code UWS 16.01 means personnel that are acquiring additional training or experience in their field of specialization, in such titles as Postdoctoral Fellow and Postgraduate Trainee.  These appointments are not subject to the provisions of Wis. Stat. §§ 36.13 and 36.15 and chs. UWS 1 to 15.  Policies and procedures for such appointments shall be determined as appropriate by the president or chancellor of each institution after consultation with appropriate faculty and with appropriate student assistants and employees in training.

Student Assistant authorized as “Other appointments” under Wis. Stat. § 36.19 and Wis. Adm. Code UWS 16.01,  means graduate students who hold a fellowship, scholarship or traineeship; hold an appointment which is intended primarily to further the education and training of the student; are employed to assist with research, training or other academic programs or projects; and/or have been assigned teaching responsibilities in an instructional department under the supervision of a faculty member.  Student Assistant titles may be available to undergraduate students when no qualified graduate student is available to perform a function that would normally be assigned to a graduate student, or when the terms of a supporting grant or contract preclude the use of other normally appropriate titles.

4. Policy

In general, the assigned duties and responsibilities performed by a person appointed under the authority of the Board of Regents pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 36.09(1)(e) constitutes a position. A formal title describes a single position or a group of positions that possess substantially similar (though not identical) duties and responsibilities.

The UW System title structure is designed to permit the assignment of a formal title to each position occupied by a person appointed under Board of Regents authority.

5. Related Documents

Wis. Stat. Chapter 36, University of Wisconsin System
Wis. Admin. Code Chapter UWS 3, Faculty appointments
Wis. Admin. Code Chapter UWS 10, Academic staff appointments
Wis. Admin. Code Chapter UWS 15, Limited appointments
Wis. Admin. Code Chapter UWS 16, Other appointments
Unclassified Personnel Guideline #1, Unclassified Titles
SYS 1256, University Staff Temporary & Project Appointments
SYS 1276, Title Definitions
SYS 1277, Compensation
SYS 1287, Voluntary Reassignment

6. Policy History

Unclassified Personnel Guideline #3, Unclassified Job Security
Board of Regents Resolution 9091