Title Review Guideline for Filled Positions (Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointees)

  • Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015
  • Last Revision Date: June 29, 2021
  • Process Owner: Central Human Resources (CHR)

  1. Description and Scope

    This guideline details the requirements and policy considerations applicable to title changes for Academic Staff/Limited (administrative, research, instructional) or University Staff (ongoing or project) positions.

    Excluded from this process are Academic Administrators and Faculty Positions. Excluded titles include: Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dean, Associate Dean (ranked faculty), Professor (Assistant, Associate, Full), and Instructor.

    An official title is assigned based on the majority or primary duties of a position. When the assigned duties have changed such that the current title is no longer applicable, a title review and subsequent title change may be warranted.

  2. Definitions

    Regrade: The assignment of a title of record to a title with a new salary range within the salary structure.

    Promotion: A promotion occurs when an employee has assumed a higher level of duties/expertise in position. Often, this results in a title in a higher salary range. A promotion may or may not necessitate a rate adjustment, with consideration of the circumstances of the request.

    Demotion: A demotion occurs when an employee moves to a title with a lower salary range than the their current title. A demotion may or may not necessitate a rate adjustment, with consideration made to the circumstances of the request.

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

  3. Summary

    When a position change has occurred, the Supervisor should consult with the HR Business Partner to determine the nature of their changes and impact on official title.

    A title review may be appropriate for the following reasons:

    • Change in Duties

      Due to changes in the position and/or work unit, the duties of the position have evolved. Review of duties as a whole may reflect a new title.

    • Promotion/Career Progression

      Natural advancement within a position may occur, where an incumbent obtains greater experience, knowledge, and independence in role. Where warranted by the title series, progression to a higher level within the series may occur.

    • Organizational Changes/Restructure

      Due to organizational change or restructure, position changes may occur as necessitated by operational need. Changes may include a department change or change in scope of functions.

    • Creation of New Title Due to Changes in UW System Title Structure

      If the UW System title structure changes so that a title is added/removed, a subsequent title review to update the title of a filled position may be warranted.

    • Removal From Limited Appointment

      When an employee moves from a Limited Appointment to a concurrent appointment, the duties of the position are assigned at time of movement. A title review may be appropriate to assign a title for the concurrent position based on duties assigned.

    A request for title review must include a description of the previous and new duties, previous and new organizational chart, and a memorandum describing the circumstances of the request. The memo should include pertinent details as it relates to the reasons of title change and process considerations as defined below. Prior to submitting a formal request for title review, the Dean/Division Head (or designee), in consultation with the supervisor and the HR Business Partner shall discuss the potential impact to the incumbent.

    When reviewing the possibility for title change due to title review, keep in mind the following considerations:

    • All positions evolve somewhat over time. Changes in duties may or may not necessitate a change in title or salary range. The assignment of additional duties that continue to be appropriate to the current title definition does not result in a different title being more appropriate.
    • The assignment/removal of temporary or interim duties to/from the current position does not per se result in a different title being more appropriate.
    • The title review process should consider other qualified employees within area and impact on promotional opportunities for existing staff.
    • The title review process should consider impact on placement goals for Job Group as identified in the UWM Affirmative Action Plan.
    • The following changes to a position may necessitate a competitive process to fill:
      • Movement of a position from individual contributor to a manager.
      • Movement to a Director, Chief, or Institution-level position.
      • Movement to a position that necessitates need for a Limited Appointment.
    • Other Considerations:
      • Is the change in duties on-going or would a temporary base adjustment be appropriate to compensate for higher level work (over a temporary period)?
      • Is the change in duties greater than 50%?
  4. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. HR Business Partner, in consultation (as necessary) with Central HR (CHR), will be delegated primary responsibility for the title change approval, except as noted below:
      1. CHR will be primary and final approval for units that are not yet functioning under Shared Services.
      2. CHR will serve as final approval for the following circumstances:
        1. Position where the FLSA Status is changing.
        2. Position that is taking on first-time supervisory responsibilities.
        3. Position that is titled within Administrative Officer or Administrative Director categories.
    2. The Dean/Division head (or designee), in their role as Appointing Authority, must approve requests for title review.
    3. Shared Services/Divisional HR Staff are responsible for notification to employees of any title and/or rate changes.
    4. For title assignments in a progression series, assignment of the prefix level is delegated to the HR Business Partner, in consultation with the Dean/Division Head. Title changes within a progression series need not require formal title review.
    5. CHR will maintain the form and process in Streamline. Notifications of decision to the Dean/Division Head (or designee) and HR Business Partner will be issued via Streamline.
    6. Employees seeking a title review may self-initiate such a request to HR Business Partner. The final determination of requesting a title change shall be at the discretion of the Dean/Division Head (or designee). For self-initiated reviews, the Dean/Division Head may choose to modify the position description, thus eliminating the need for a title change or accept the recommendation of title assignment from HR Business Partner.
  5. Pay Implications

    As a result of the title change, the pay range corresponding to the filled position may also change. A title change may result in the position being placed in a higher title/salary range (promotion) or may result in the position being placed in a lower title/pay grade (demotion). Incumbents must be paid between the minimum and maximum of the salary range for their official title; exceptions may occur where an Extraordinary Salary Range (ESR) is established.

    Divisions or Departments wishing to provide a greater than required salary amount shall seek approval by submitting a Non-Merit Related Salary Adjustment request along with a full compensation analysis. See applicable Compensation Guidelines for additional detail on compensation impacts.

  6. Effective Date
    1. Any approved Title Change will be effective on the first day of the pay period following approval of the Dean/Division Head.

      For employees in an Academic Year appointment, the effective date generally will fall on the first day of the Fall or Spring semester. Under biweekly payroll, this date may not correspond to the start of a pay period.

    2. Where a title change occurs due to restructuring, a prospective effective date may be appropriate that aligns with the Department changes.
    3. For title changes resulting from promotion/career progression, it is encouraged that changes coincide with the start of the fiscal year.
  7. Appeal Rights

    For the process on title appeals, please see the Title Appeal Guidelines.


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