Contracts

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A member of the academic staff is an unclassified professional whose position is unique to higher education. Academic staff members hold a variety of positions on our campus. They teach, advise, provide a variety of support services for the university community, coach, administer, and manage programs. All academic staff members have an official personnel file established in the Human Resources Office. Academic staff need to be aware of the policies and procedures that apply to them.

The Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapters UWS8 through UWS13, define personnel rules for academic staff. Chapter IIIC contains each of the sections of the code that apply to personnel rules for academic staff. (UWS 8 is the unclassified staff code of ethics.) Following each UWS rule, in italics and identified as "UW-Stout" is the applicable university rule and/or procedure which further specifies UW-Stout's particular application of the system rule. These rules can be found in Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook. There are also University of Wisconsin Unclassified Personnel Guidelines (UPG's) that pertain to Academic Staff. You should familiarize yourself with these rules to become aware of your rights and responsibilities as a member of the academic staff at UW-Stout.

Due to the diversity of work performed by academic staff, each position has a title and a position description. The titles are divided into compensation categories, Category A includes non-instructional academic staff; Category B is comprised of instructional and research academic staff; while Categories C& D include coaches and administrators (some of whom are hired as limited appointments). The academic staff personnel rules apply equally to everyone except limited appointments. However, different types of contracts may be issued and compensation varies by category.

Academic Staff Contracts


Fixed Term

Most academic staff are hired on a fixed term contract. All fixed term contracts have a specified beginning and ending date and describe the appointment for which the individual is being hired. However, there are a variety of conditions under which a fixed term contract is issued. It is extremely important to know the conditions of your fixed term contract. Some of those conditions include:

Fixed Term Contract - No Intent to Renew

You are issued a contract with a specified beginning and ending date and a description of the position for which you are being hired. An academic staff receiving this type of contract receives notice that their contract will either be terminated or a new contract issued at the end of the contractual period. An individual can receive a new contract like this year to year. There are notice periods (number of months before the expiration of the contract the notice must be sent to the individual) specified in the Wisconsin Administrative Code, Personnel Rules for Academic Staff.

Fixed Term Contract

You are issued a contract with a specified beginning and ending date and a description of the position for which you are being hired. An academic staff receiving this type of contract receives notice that their contract will either be terminated or a new contract issued at the end of the contractual period. An individual can receive a new contract like this year to year. There are notice periods (number of months before the expiration of the contract the notice must be sent to the individual) specified in the Wisconsin Administrative Code, Personnel Rules for Academic Staff.

Fixed Term Contract – Two year

Starting with the fourth year in the same position (and at least a fifty- percent appointment) you are entitled to receive a 2-year contract. You are issued a contract with a specified beginning and ending date, and a description of the position for which you are being hired. Notice periods apply. Academic staff are frequently hired to fill a temporary position in a department or to back fill for a faculty member. An academic staff member could be hired by the same department on separate yearly contracts where the job description is essentially the same, however the position being filled could change (ie: back filling for a different faculty member). In that case, the academic staff member would not be considered in the "same position".

Fixed Term Contract – Three-year

Starting with the sixth year in the same position (and at least a fifty- percent appointment) you are entitled to receive a 3-year contract. You are issued a contract with a specified beginning and ending date and a description of the position for which you are being hired. Notice periods apply.

Rolling Horizon Contracts

A rolling horizon contract is the norm for an academic staff multiple year contract. Each year a new contract is issued to the individual, therefore the academic staff member is always in the first year of their multiple year contract. Notice periods do apply and the roll may be stopped on the contract only if a request for an exception is granted.

Fixed Term - Multiple year contracts for multiple year grants

Academic staff who are employed through grant funding may be issued contracts for the duration of a multiple year grant, pending continued funding of that grant. For instance, if a grant were received with projected funding for five-years, an academic staff member employed with grant funding could be offered a contract for the duration of the pending continued funding of the grant. See the back of the Exception to Academic Staff Rule on Multiple Year Contract form.

The Exception Process for Multiple Year Contracts:

If your supervisor determines that a multiple year contract is not appropriate, the supervisor may request an exception to the multiple year contract rules. Exceptions are explained by UW Stout's Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook, see pg. 154) (you'll need to scroll down). Note that the rationale provided must meet one of the specified criteria for which an exception may be granted. The Exception to Academic Staff Rule on Multiple Year Contract form must be filled out by your supervisor and you must sign the form stating that the reason that an exception is being requested has been explained. The back of the form lists the reasons an exception may be requested as well as the process to be followed when requesting an exception. The Academic Staff Personnel Committee is involved with this process.

Probationary Appointment


Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook, (see pg. 159).  A probationary appointment leads to a review for indefinite appointment. Normally probationary appointments are for one year at a time, not exceed seven consecutive years. A leave of absence does not constitute a break in service, nor is it be included in the probationary period. Prior service may be counted in the probationary period, the letter of appointment must clearly state the amount of prior service to be counted. A decision on indefinite appointment must be made at least twelve months prior to the end of probationary service. An affirmative review must be held to consider such an appointment (Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook, see pg. 163). It is extremely important for a probationary academic staff member to know what activities and documentation are required for the affirmative review and to gather their materials throughout their probationary appointment.

Indefinite Appointment


Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook,(see pg. 163) An indefinite appointment is an appointment with permanent status and for an unlimited term. It may be granted to a member of the academic staff who holds or will hold a half-time appointment or more. The time, whether full-time or proportionate, provided for in the initial indefinite appointment may not be diminished or increased without the mutual consent of the academic staff member and the appointing official. An indefinite appointment is terminable only for cause under UW-Stout 11 or for reasons of budget or program under UW-Stout 12. An indefinite appointment is not acquired solely by years of service, but is the result of an affirmative review process described in Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 163).

Limited Appointment


Information located in the Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 8) The Wisconsin State Statutes (36.17) give authorization for limited appointments as a special appointment to a designated administrative position. A person in this type of appointment serves at the pleasure of the authorized official who made the appointment. Termination of a limited appointment is not a dismissal under chapter UWS 4 or UWS 11 and is not otherwise appealable. Wherever possible 3 months' notice of termination should be given if the appointee does not hold simultaneously another university appointment. A current member of the academic staff granted a limited appointment shall not lose existing rights to an academic staff appointment by accepting the limited appointment.

Academic Staff Titles


"The purpose of establishing an official title for each unclassified position or group of positions is to permit comparability of substantially similar positions across institutions and academic and administrative units" (UPG #1). The Academic Staff title structure requires consistent job categories with mechanisms to provide lines of career progression, consistent position titles which accurately reflect functions performed, and consistent pay ranges for academic staff positions at all institutions.

The assigned duties and responsibilities performed by a person constitutes a position.

A formal title describes a single position or a group of positions that are substantially similar in duties and responsibilities.

A title group is an collection of formal titles that have one or more characteristics is common. The UWS unclassified code list (UPG#1 Attachment 2) contains 13 title groups, The UW-Stout Academic Staff Title Review Guidelines uses only five of the title groups Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 155):

  • Instructional
  • Research
  • Director
  • Program Manager
  • Professional series

Titles in most groups consist of three parts: Function, Prefix, and Scope.
Function describes the primary activity or the general duties and responsibilities of positions holding the title. Function can be changed only if the duties of the position have significantly changed. If the change in function is 50% or more of the position, it must be reviewed by the Affirmative Action Officer to determine if a new recruitment is required.

A Prefix is used to define the levels of proficiency and/or experience of the person assigned the function or to recognize different levels of responsibility. Depending on the function, a prefix change may be dependent on significant change in duties, increased experience, increased training, increased independence of action, or increased responsibility.

Scope distinguishes between small, medium, and large administrative units. In most cases the "scope" on the UW-Stout campus is "medium" and would not normally change unless the sub-unit is exceptionally large or small for the campus size. A change in scope requires UW System approval.

In the Unclassified Personnel Guidelines UPG #1 describes the Unclassified titles, to view the Unclassified Title Structure and definitions, see (UPG#1 Attachment 1). Also, of interest to instructional academic staff is UPG #2 (2.06) Staffing of a Teaching Position by Appointment of an Instructional Academic Staff Member. This section describes when it is appropriate to fill a position as academic staff instead of faculty.

Compensation


Each title group is also assigned a Compensation Category.

  • Category A Director
  • Program Manager
  • Professional series (most titles)
  • Category B Instructional
  • Research
  • Category C Coaches
  • Some Administrative titles


Compensation for Category A academic staff is based on a salary structure of thirteen grades, with a minimum, midpoint and maximum salary specified for each salary grade. Each Category A title is assigned a salary grade, and an individual's starting salary is determined accordingly.

The minimum compensation for an individual's holding a Category B appointment is based upon a percent of the floor of the ranked faculty. Individuals with these titles do some of the work of faculty and a particular academic discipline defines the appointments. Typically, compensation is based upon education and experience levels, personal growth and development as well as the job market.

Compensation for Category C academic staff is usually determined through individual salary negotiations. Most titles have differing levels of responsibility therefore the title may include a prefix, the prefix or level also has a bearing on compensation.

Performance Evaluations


Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 161) states that each academic staff member shall be reviewed in the sixth month after the initial appointment and annually, thereafter. Annual performance evaluations of each academic staff member must be completed by the immediate supervisor. The goals of performance evaluation for instructional academic staff (see pg. 167) or non-instructional academic staff {see pg. 165) are to aid in assessing the present performance of an individual and strengthening that performance, as an instrument in planning decisions; to assist in making certain personnel decisions; and to assist in determining merit salary increases where appropriate.

Meritorious performance is defined as "functioning within one's position description in an exemplary, praiseworthy manner." Personnel Rules for Academic Staff (see pg. 164). It also states that 1) the position description "must include functional responsibilities and performance expectations relative to those functions," 2) "meritorious performance must be achievable within one's position description," and 3) requires that "meritorious performance must be attainable for each individual member, regardless of how other members have been judged in their roles."

Career Progression


When a position filled by a member of the academic staff changes in duties and responsibilities, one method of career progression available is to request a change in title or prefix. Refer to the Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 156) for a description of the process. Remember that the process may be initiated by the academic staff person or by the supervisor, the process may not be stopped and there is an appeals process.

Job Security for Academic Staff


Some forms of job security are found within the Academic Staff personnel rules. They include:

  • Progressively longer notice periods. Written notice of intent must be given to academic staff when their contract does not contain a no intent to renew clause. The longer a person is in their position, the longer the notice period Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook (see pg. 172)

  • Two-year contracts. Academic staff should receive a two-year, rolling horizon contract beginning with your fourth year of employment in the same position, see (Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook, see pg. 159). Remember, the exception process applies as do notice periods.

  • Three-year contract starting with the 6th year in the same position. Adds one more year to the normal contract length. The exception process applies as do notice periods.

  • Rolling Horizon contracts. Rather than receiving a contract that expires on a specified date, the norm for academic staff at UW-Stout is a new contract issued yearly so that you are always in the first year of a multiple year contract.

  • Multiple year contracts that can be issued for the life of a multiple year grant. Academic staff who are employed through grant funding may be issued contracts for the duration of a multiple year grant, pending continued funding of that grant. See the back of the Exception to Academic Staff Rule on Multiple Year Contract form.

  • Career progression opportunities. Academic staff have the opportunity to request a change in title or prefix as their job evolves.

Resources


Developed by the Academic Staff Personnel Committee. Special thanks to Margy Ingram for her coordination and composition of this document.