Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015

Last Revision Date: December 4, 2023

1.     Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide the basis for a title change of a filled position for all employee categories.

2.     Responsible UW System Officer

Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer

3.     Scope and Institutional Responsibilities

This policy applies to all UW System institutions and the UW System Administration, except for UW-Madison.

4.     Policy Background

UW System Human Resources has the responsibility to monitor and maintain the titling and salary structures of the system, excluding UW–Madison.

Historically, “unclassified” title definitions and changes were governed by the now rescinded Unclassified Personnel Guideline #1, while the title of a filled “classified” permanent position could only be changed when specific criteria regarding duties and responsibilities of the position and the incumbent are met or under other limited circumstances such as creation of new titles.  Wis. Stat. § 230.09(2) and Chapter ER 3 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code described reclassification and reallocation transactions for classified positions that change the title of a filled position when the actual job duties and responsibilities no longer match the title.

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 provides the framework for Title Change for all employees at UW System institutions, except for UW-Madison.

5.     Policy Definitions

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

Definitions specific to this policy:

Best Fit: A qualitative Human Resources strategy to choose a standard job description that is the nearest match between the job description and the responsibilities, skills, knowledge, and abilities of a position.

Business Title: An informal working title that is created due to a business need, which can be used in lieu of the title of record within established guidelines.

Chief Human Resources Officer/Human Resources Director (CHRO/HRD): An executive position that oversees all aspects of human resource management, including policies, practices, and operations for a University of Wisconsin System institution.

Demotion: The movement of an employee into a job that is assigned to a lower salary grade than the employee’s current job.

Lateral Move: The movement of an employee into a job that is assigned to the same salary grade as the employee’s current job.

Market: Refers to the other higher education institutions and private industries to which University of Wisconsin System job titles, standard job descriptions, pay, and benefits can be compared.

Promotion: The movement of an existing employee into a job that is assigned to a higher salary grade than the employee’s current job.

Regrading: The assignment of a title of record to a new salary grade within the salary structure.

Standard Job Description: A general set of responsibilities, without regard to any specific employee, that describes work performed, role, and impact to the organization. Standard job descriptions are used for market pricing and salary structure design and maintenance.

Supervisory Position:  A position for which the assigned standard job description states it exercises supervisory authority, including hiring, transferring, suspending, promoting, managing conduct and performance, discharging, assigning, rewarding, disciplining, and/or approving hours worked of at least 2.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.

Title of Record: The title of the standard job description assigned to a position that describes a single position or a group of positions that possesses substantially similar (though not identical) scope and responsibilities. Job titles should be descriptive of the work performed.

6.     Policy

A. Title Change

Positions are assigned titles of record and salary grades based on the responsibilities and role of the position in the University of Wisconsin System. The purpose of establishing a title of record for each position or group of positions is to facilitate the comparison of similar positions across institutional units. To ensure that titles assigned to filled positions are consistent and accurate, the review of title assignments and standard job descriptions may occur on an ongoing basis.

The title change of a filled position may occur as a result of,

I. a significant and permanent change in responsibilities due to a reorganization, new initiatives, etc., or;

II. changes in the market that demonstrate a need to change a title of a standard job description so that it more accurately describes the work performed, or;

III. when responsibilities of a filled position evolve over time such that the current title and standard job description are no longer the “best fit”, or;

IV. when new titles and standard job descriptions are created as a result of a survey, study, or need.

A title change to an employee’s current position can result in a promotion, lateral move, or demotion.

An employee moving to a new title through a search or search waiver is an appointment to a new position and not a title change. University Staff employees who accept an appointment to a new position that is Faculty, Academic Staff, or a Limited Appointee do not retain the right to remain University Staff.

B. Business Title

As a reflection of differences in position responsibilities and organizational structures, institutions may find it useful or necessary to establish business titles to better describe or differentiate positions.

C. Regrading

The regrading of a filled position may occur as a result of changes in the market that demonstrate a need to change the salary grade of the assigned standard job description so that it more accurately reflects market trends.

The UW System Human Resources office, in collaboration with UW-Madison and other institutional stakeholders as appropriate, is responsible for maintaining the title structure, including an evaluation of market data to determine appropriate changes in assigned salary grades.

D. Additions, Deletions, or Modification to the Official Title Structure

The use of business titles may not offer an adequate response to emerging needs of institutions. Therefore, institutions may request additions, deletions or modifications to the official title structure.

Institution proposals to amend the official title structure should be submitted to UW System Human Resources.

E. Title Appeal

An appeal mechanism should be established at each institution to resolve disagreements regarding changes to the title of record.  The appeal process may be designed to meet the particular organizational needs and governance structures of the institution.

Only title of record can be appealed, specifically whether the majority of the work an employee does falls within the scope of the title of record and standard job description.

Title appeals occur at the institutional level where the Chancellor and/or Chancellor’s designee at each institution has the final authority to resolve title appeals.

7.     Related Documents

SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies
SYS 1276, Title Definitions
SYS 1277, Compensation
SYS 1287, Voluntary Reassignment of Formerly Classified FLSA-Exempt Employees to Academic Staff/Limited Appointment Positions

8.     Policy History

Revision 1:               December 1, 2023

First Approved:        July 1, 2015

Wis. Stat§ 230.09 (2), Classification
Wis. Admin. Code § ER 2.04 (2), Classification plan
Wis. Admin. Code § ER 3.03 (1), Position classification actions

9.     Scheduled Review

December 2028