Academic Staff FAQ


Do Fixed-Term appointments have a probationary period?

An initial fixed-term appointment may include a period of up to two months during which the appointee may be dismissed without appeal at the discretion of the appointing authority. If such a period of evaluation will be used the employment contract must state this. A dismissal during this period is not subject to the provisions of UWS 11. See Academic Staff Policies and Procedures 104.02: UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments


How is the type, or status, of appointment determined?

The continuing need for an appointment is the primary but not exclusive reason used in determining if an appointment will have fixed-term status. Positions on grant, short-term, or non-GPR fund sources are not required to be probationary; these are considered soft money appointments. By definition, soft money or short-term funding cannot guarantee that a position will be supported for more than fixed periods. Instead, appointments on soft money are given standard fixed term, fixed-term rolling horizon, or fixed-term multi-year appointments based on funding stability and the history of the program/position. The authority to exclude positions for consideration as probationary is listed in Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures (ASPPP) 104.02: UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments


What are Fixed-Term appointments?

Fixed-term appointments are made for positions for which no continuing need can be determined. These may be positions in new or experimental programs or functions, non-101 funded positions, or positions which can be characterized as short-term, enrollment driven or of an ad-hoc nature (e.g. guest lecturers). See Academic Staff Policies and Procedures 104.02 and Wis. Admin. Code s. UWS 10.03(1):

UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments

Chapter UWS 10 – Academic Staff Appointments


What are Indefinite appointments?

An indefinite appointment is an appointment with permanent status and for an unlimited term, granted by the chancellor to a member of the academic staff. Such an appointment is terminable only for cause under Wis. Admin. Code Ch. UWS 11 or for reasons of budget or program under Ch. UWS 12. Such an appointment may be granted to a member of the academic staff who holds or will hold a half-time appointment or more. See Academic Staff Policy and Procedure 104.04 and Wis. Admin. Code s. UWS 10.03(2)(b):

UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments


What are probationary status appointments?

A probationary appointment is an appointment which leads to review and a decision on an indefinite appointment. In that way, it is similar to faculty tenure track appointments. A position is designated as probationary when there is an expectation of continuing need. In addition, the fund source for these positions is normally Fund 101, or regular General Program Revenue (GPR, or hard money) funding. See Academic Staff Policy and Procedure 104.03 and Wis. Admin. Code s. UWS 10.03(2)(a):

UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments


What are the kinds of Fixed-Term appointments?
  • Standard fixed term appointments are made for a finite period and renewal is not intended. If funding continues, it is possible that an appointment will be renewed.
  • Fixed term multi-year appointments may be granted if funding is available and if the employee has been reappointed for at least three years. If you are offered reappointment after three years but not for at least a two-year contract, you may request written reasons. A decision on the validity of the reasons to NOT grant multi-year contract rests with the administration.
  • Rolling Horizon appointments are fixed term appointments which renew daily. The duration of the rolling period appointment can vary.

These appointments are further described in Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Chapter 104: UWM Chapter 104 Academic Staff Appointments


What are the types of academic staff appointments?

There are three types (sometimes referred to as status) of academic staff appointments:

  • Probationary
  • Indefinite
  • Fixed term

Compensation and Functional Area

How can I find salary ranges?
Each unclassified position in Category A on campus has a salary range. For a complete listing of the title, salary grade and range please refer to UWM Administrative Policy 277 ( This list includes all categories of compensation but does not list the midpoints of the range. To find ranges used for recruitment purposes refer to UWM Administrative Policy 277 (


What is a Functional Area?
Academic staff are either teaching or non-teaching. This is known as a functional area and is included in the contract issued for those who still receive contracts (indefinite status academic staff do not receive annual contracts, only salary letters). The first sentence of the contract indicates the status of your appointment (fixed term or probationary) and the functional area (teaching or non teaching).


What is a compensation category?

“Compensation category” refers to the group of salary ranges into which unclassified titles fall. For example, all teaching academic staff are in compensation category B; therefore, all teaching academic staff are referred to as Category B staff.

There are four compensation categories:

  • Category A This group contains non- teaching academic staff titles exclusively. Positions in this category have salary ranges with minimums, midpoints, and maximums.
  • Category B This group includes teaching and most research academic staff titles. These are positions that have only salary range minima.
  • Category C These positions have ranges and titles that are normally specialized limited titles (e.g., Chancellor, Coach, Secretary of the Faculty).
  • Category D includes faculty titles and other employees.

Performance Evaluations

How are performance evaluations conducted?
Annual written performance evaluations are required by policy (Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Chapter 105: UWM Chapter 105 Performance Review)


  • the employee provides a self-evaluation of the previous calendar year’s activities to the supervisor by January 15
  • the supervisor holds a conference with the employee within thirty (30) working days after the evaluation is due to discuss it; and follows up (within five days of the conference) with a written evaluation based on that discussion.
  • If additional commentary is made, there are time limits for their completion. All timelines are specified in ASPPP 105.

Failure of the supervisor to provide a written evaluation results in the employee’s self-evaluation standing as the official record of performance for the year.

A recommended format for both employee and supervisor evaluations are available. The department of Human Resources has the document available at:  

How often is the position description reviewed?

A position description should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to reflect the duties associated with a given position; this may coincide with the evaluation conducted in January/February of each year. The format for the position description is available at the Department of Human Resources website at:


Renewal and Non-Renewal Procedures

Can I appeal a non-renewal?In certain circumstances non-renewals may be appealed. Wisconsin Admin. Code s. UWS 10.04 and Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Ch.106 details the process for both probationary and fixed term staff.
UWM ASPPP Chapter 106 Non-renewal


Can a contract be canceled before the stated termination date?
Contracts may be cancelled during the contractual period. Specific contingencies that could allow a cancellation should be stated in your contract under the section Additional Terms and Conditions. Examples are loss of funding for grant funded appointments, or unmet minimum enrollment requirements for courses.


How are contracts renewed? When are they renewed?

Contracts for fixed-term staff are normally issued in May or June and are usually renewed to coincide with the beginning of the fiscal year. If an original appointment contract began in the middle of a fiscal year, the renewal contract will likely try to bring it in line with the fiscal year cycle.

Teaching academic staff contracts generally coincide with the start of the semester or academic year. The issuance date will depend upon a variety of factors, including faculty teaching assignments and projected or actual enrollment.

Contracts on non-state funds may be renewed on the fiscal year schedule of the granting agency, e.g., the federal fiscal year runs October through the end of September.


What about non-renewals?
Notice is required when a decision is made not to renew a contract beyond the term stated in the existing contract. The specifics depend on the type of appointment held and the years of service on campus. The employee’s years of service determine the length of the required notice period (Wis. Admin. Code ss. UWS 10.04-05; Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Ch. 108.)
UWM ASPPP Chapter 108: Notice Periods for Fixed-term and Probationary Appointments

Check your contract carefully for any contingencies, including, for fixed-term employees, a statement that renewal is not intended, as they may also affect notice periods and whether prior notice is required.


What are the circumstances for dismissal during a contract period?

Academic staff members may only be dismissed for cause as specified in Wis. Admin. Code Ch. UWS 11 and Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures Ch. 109.
UWM ASPPP Chapter 109: Dismissal for Cause


What do contracts contain?

Contracts contain specific appointment information on the first page. This includes:

  • Title
  • Percent of appointment
  • Beginning and end dates of the appointment
  • Salary Range
  • Operational Area (for probationary appointments)
  • Period of probationary service counted (for probationary appointments)
  • Full-time salary rate and pay basis if part-time the prorated actual salary should be included
  • Supervisor
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Additional Terms

The second page contains additional important details on the nature of the appointment. Questions on the contract should be directed to the supervisor and the personnel representative of the School/College/Division.


What is the timing for providing notice of non-renewal?
Notice of non-renewal can be given at any time during a contract period. The notice period begins on the date you receive the notice. For example, if you are entitled to one year’s notice and receive notice on November 16, your appointment will run until next November 16. The required notice is specified in Wis. Admin. Code s. UWS 10.05 and Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Chapter 108.

Briefly, the rules are:

  • Probationary academic staff in their first year of employment receive three months notice. In the second year, they receive six months notice. From three years until the end of probationary service, one year notice is granted.
  • Fixed-term staff with at least 50% appointments receive three months notice in the first two years of employment; six months in years three through six; and twelve months thereafter.

Please note, however, that if your fixed-term contract states that no separate notice of non-renewal will be granted (see page two of the contract), you will not receive additional (separate) notice in the first six years of service. Once you have six years of cumulative service, you must be given notice regardless of contract language.


What is the workload expectation for both teaching and non-teaching academic staff?

Non-instructional academic staff have job duties and workload expectations identified in their position descriptions. Permanent changes to those duties should be reflected in the position description as they are made. Temporary changes should be recorded in writing as short term assignments.

Instructional academic staff have a campus workload policy. It is available at: UWM Instructional Academic Staff Workload Policy

Departments may vary their workload expectations with such criteria as credit per course, course preparation, or size of class as considerations. They are, however, required to follow the general policy as identified in the Instructional Academic Staff Workload Policy (citation above).


What work hours can be expected?

As a management right, your supervisor sets work hours.

Unclassified staff are salaried employees and, as such, many may be exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you are unsure whether you or your employees are FLSA exempt, please consult with the Department of Human Resources.

Full-time salaried professional positions have an expectation of a minimum of forty hours per week. Part time employees use the forty hour work week standard to determine how many hours they need to work to reflect the percent of the appointment (e.g., 50% appointees are expected to work 20 hours per week). If needed, and without overtime pay (for FLSA exempt employees), you may be asked, and are expected, to work additional time during the week. You may ask for an adjusted work week schedule if this additional time places burdens on you. There is no requirement or policy, however, that such requests be granted.


Where can I find information on complaints or grievances?
Complaints and grievance information can be found in two places:

Information is also available under the Academic Staff Hearing and Appeals Committee procedures: and


Who received contracts/letters of renewal?
Fixed-term and probationary academic staff and limited title appointees receive renewals. Indefinite status academic staff do not receive contracts, but are issued annual salary letters.


Title Prefixes

How are prefixes determined?
Per UPG 1, prefix levels reflect progressively required experience, professional expertise and knowledge applied to duties and responsibilities expected of the position. This may correlate to years of experience, but years of service alone do not dictate a prefix change. Unlike some classified staff positions, unclassified positions have no automatic progression.

Non-instructional professional series:
For titles in the non-instructional professional series, it is a general rule to appoint individuals to an associate prefix level if they are new employees without prior experience (either on campus or in similar positions elsewhere).

The no prefix designation reflects someone who is performing the full range of duties associated with the position.

The senior prefix is used for those individuals who are performing at an increased independent level, with minimal supervision.

The distinguished prefix has its own set of guidelines and criteria. These are available at:

Instructional and research titles in nonprofessional series:
For titles in the non professional series (lecturers, researchers, faculty associates, instrumentation innovators, scientists and all modified faculty titles e.g., visiting, adjunct, clinical), the change in prefix from Assistant, to Associate and to Senior follows the same guidelines.

Please see UWM Administrative Policy 1276 for more information:


How can my prefix be changed?
To change a prefix, see your supervisor and/or the personnel representative of your school/college/division.


What are title prefixes and how are they used?

Title prefixes are found within the professional, instructional, and research related title series and modify titles to denote experience level and/or level of expertise. The prefixes are: associate, no prefix, senior, and distinguished. They are assigned by the Dean/Division head . Movement from one prefix to the next is at the discretion of the Dean or Division Head and is not achieved via a reclassification request.

Program Managers and Director Series Titles
Program Managers do not carry prefixes; instead they have scope indicators in the form of levels I, II, and III. For those in the Director series, there is both a Prefix (Assistant, Associate, no Prefix) and a scope measure of S (Small), M (Medium), and L (Large). The prefix relates to the number of direct reports and the scope of duties, and the scope measure relates to the department’s size.

A title review by Human Resources is required for any change in title or a request for a new title assignment for a vacancy or a position with an incumbent. This does not include a change in prefix level. In some cases, UW System must also approve use of a title. A request for a distinguished prefix is an exception and follows a formal process as described in the following policy:


Title System, Compensation and Categories, Functions

Where can I find a list of all the Unclassified Staff Titles?
All unclassified titles are listed in the UW System’s Unclassified Personnel Guidelines (UPG), #1. Unclassified staff are: faculty, academic staff, limited appointees, and a group known as Other which includes employees-in-training, graduate and post graduate staff.

To view the title list and other detail attachments go to: