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Academic Staff Representatives

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Academic Staff Representatives Council

On September 23, 2004, the ASRC presented President Kevin P. Reilly with a briefing paper profiling UW System Academic Staff.

Another document -- the Academic Staff Briefing Book -- is created and published on the web each year. This resource contains statistics on UW System Academic Staff.

Briefing Paper: The Academic Staff of the University of Wisconsin System
(Prepared by the Academic Staff Representatives Council, Summer 2004)

Who are Academic Staff?
We are professional and administrative personnel other than faculty and classified staff with duties, and subject to types of appointments, that are primarily associated with higher education institutions [universities, two-year colleges, extension] or their administration. (UWS 1.01 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code). For more information, click on the link above to the UWS briefing book.

Positions Held
Academic staff professionals are highly educated (e.g. 86% at Eau Claire have advanced degrees, 61% at Oshkosh have master's or doctorate degrees) and hold a wide range of positions in which they directly and indirectly influence the overall quality of education received by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as individuals participating in non-formal education in the arena of outreach and non-credit education.

Academic Staff are also in charge of or directly involved with research that affects the quality of life of the people of Wisconsin and around the world. Some examples of Academic Staff positions include: lecturers, instructional specialists and program managers, faculty associates, clinical professors; advisors, counselors, financial aid officers; deans, career planning and placement specialists; scientists and researchers; registration and computer experts; directors and student services managers; research and instructional instrumentation innovators; outreach and continuing education specialists; program managers, cartographers, geologists; archivists, curators, librarians, artists; medical illustrators, engineers; administrative specialists, policy and planning analysts; and attorneys, controllers, consultants, and directors of computing.


(For a complete list of positions, see the UWS Unclassified Personnel Guidelines #1 and #2 with attachments)

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Shared Governance
Since 1985, participation of Academic Staff in the governance of their institutions [and UWS] has been provided under Ch. 36.09(4m), Wisconsin Statutes, in language that parallels that for the faculty. Today, Academic Staff participate in the governance of their institutions through an academic staff council, executive committee and/or assembly or senate, or through an all-university senate. A representative from these academic staff governance units form the Academic Staff Representatives Council (ASRC), which meets regularly with the UWS Senior Vice President for Administration to provide input, assistance, and advice, and to advocate for and communicate about key policy matters affecting Academic Staff.

The Numbers
Academic Staff represent the largest sector of employees within the University of Wisconsin System. Academic Staff grew from 7,083 FTE in 1993 to 10,019 in 2003 while other staff categories remained stable.

To view the chart (in Microsoft Word) detailing this trend, click here.

The growth in Academic Staff mirrors the increase in UW System student enrollment during the same period, as Academic Staff were added to meet the increased demand for instruction and student support programs. Expanding research programs and increasing use of computing technologies throughout the UW System were other sources of demand for additional Academic Staff.

The increase in Academic Staff has not relied solely on the support of Wisconsin taxpayers and students. Approximately one-third of the increase in Academic Staff FTE from 1993 to 2003 came from general fund sources. By 2003, only 48% of Academic Staff were funded through the general fund, with the rest funded through program revenue, including 21% from federal sources. In contrast, 91% of Faculty FTE and 68% of Classified FTE were funded through the general fund in 2003.

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Commitment
A visible indicator of Academic Staff's commitment to students, their academic or professional discipline, home campus and the System, is the length of time members serve their institution. Examples of the solid bond between Academic Staff and UW System are the 9.9 average years of service at UW Stout and the 50% of UW Oshkosh's Academic Staff with six or more years of service. System-wide, over three-fourths (75.9%) of Academic Staff across the UW System have renewable, automatically renewable (rolling horizon) or indefinite appointments which generally represent longer periods of service than terminal one-year or other short-term appointments.

Academic Staff By Appointment Type

  Fixed Terminal Fixed Renewable Rolling Horixon Indeifinite Appointment Other Total
FTE 2188 5871 1146 588 226 10,019
Percent of Total 21.8% 58.6% 11.4% 5.9% 2.3% 100%

Source: October 2003 Payroll. Excludes academic staff with Limited appointments and employees of the UW Hospital and Clinics.

 

Contributions
Academic Staff obtain and administer significant amounts and types of extramural grants that support the university missions and community needs in addition to accomplishing their daily responsibilities. Some examples of the grant activities include:

  • UW LaCrosse - $3.36 million (approx.) in FY 2004 for projects like MVAC Archaeology education programs, Upward Bound, Small Business Development Center and others.
  • UW Whitewater - -$3.4 million (approx.) in FY 2004 in extramural grants
  • UW Stout - Separate grants awarded from each of the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education and Commerce
  • UW System (all campuses) - $16.47 million in FY 2002 for 64 TRIO programs serving 12,114 students.

Academic Staff are an integral part of the UW's teaching mission. Instructional Academic Staff grew as a share of the total instructional FTE from 22% in 1994 to 28% in 2003, compared to faculty (58%) and graduate assistants (14%). Instructional Academic Staff teach about one-third of all student credit hours (32%) and account for about one-third of faculty contact hours (32%) with students in the UW System (Source: UW System Instructional Analysis Information System).

Engagement
Academic Staff are engaged with their campus and the System, and they are invaluable contributors to and engaged with their communities and professions. Some examples include:

  • Participating in campus and community theatre, the arts;
  • Offering short courses and delivering other extended education opportunities;
  • Serving on city, school, county committees and boards
  • Assisting in public schools, Volunteering for "Meals on Wheels," United Way;
  • Coaching Little League teams and leading scout troops;
  • Training local community members and school officials in safety programs.
  • Participating as members and leaders in community organizations (eg, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, YWCA, Hunger Task Force)
  • Holding leadership roles in state and national professional organizations

Working with local employers to develop internships, co-ops, etc. that provide a smooth and successful transition from academic to work life for students and enhance the educated workforce of the state.

For more information about Academic Staff, please consult
UWS Academic Staff website /acss/asreps/

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Another document -- the Academic Staff Briefing Book -- is created and published on the web each year. This resource contains statistics on UW System Academic Staff

Academic Staff
Briefing Book

Prepared for the
Academic Staff Representatives of the
University of Wisconsin System

September 2004


Introduction

Academic staff are defined by statute as "professional and administrative personnel with duties, and subject to types of appointments, that are primarily associated with higher education institutions or their administration, but does not include faculty and staff…" 1(see footnote 1).As a group, academic staff defy neat categorization -- a condition that all but precludes sweeping generalizations. Academic staff have in common their ex-ceptional professional competence, a high level of commitment to the UW System, and generic designation as "academic staff."

Academic staff are librarians, lecturers, and lawyers. They are academic advi-sors, broadcasters, senior scientists, and lab managers. They are managers of major institutional operations, indispensable experts on essential university services, and providers of highly specialized skills. The academic staff are essential to the successful operation of our institutions and are recruited with the same care and standard of excellence as faculty and administrators. A large proportion of the academic staff has advanced degrees and special certification or licensing.

This briefing book is intended to give a broad overview of the UW System academic staff, their terms of employment, and issues of concern. This information lays a foundation for understanding issues that are brought forward to System Administration, the Board of Regents, and the Legislature. Further questions may be directed to the UW System Office of Human Resources.

UW System Academic Staff

Academic staff positions are categorized into two major groups unique to higher education: administrative and professional positions (Category A) and teaching and research (Category B). Within these two major groupings are 875 position titles. Although it is difficult to summarize briefly the functions they perform, the following list exemplifies the broad range of academic staff positions in the UW System:

  • Academic staff are professionals who directly and indirectly influence the overall quality of education received by undergraduate and graduate students. They are archivists, curators, librarians, artists, advisors, counselors, financial aid officers, deans, career planning and placement specialists, admissions personnel, outreach and continuing education specialists, registration and computer experts, residence hall managers, research and instructional instrumentation innovators, instructional specialists and program managers, and faculty associates.
  • Academic staff are program managers, cartographers, geologists, medical illustrators, engineers, administrative specialists, policy and planning analysts, attorneys, controllers, consultants, and directors of computing. They are involved with affirmative action, personnel, athletics, budget, business services, counseling, fiscal affairs, media development, protective services, telecommunications, and publications.
  • Academic staff are lecturers, faculty associates and assistants, and clinical professors: excellent teachers providing a significant portion of instruction, particularly at the undergraduate level.
  • Academic staff are researchers, scientists, physicians, laboratory managers, principal investigators, and unit directors involved directly in and in charge of scientific research that affects the quality of life of people in Wisconsin and around the world.

The Number of Academic Staff

Academic staff are respected professionals representing the largest single group of unclassified employees, contributing daily to the quality and reputation of a world-class university system. According to the UW System October 2003 payroll, 10,577 FTE positions were paid under the academic staff title structure. This total includes 6685 FTE Category A staff (63.2% percent of total academic staff) and 3919 FTE Category B staff (37% of total aca-demic staff). (See the table on page 3.) Academic staff members are well qualified to hold positions in higher education, with many holding master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and/or special certification or licensing. Academic staff are expected to have at least a bachelor's degree, and many positions require advanced training.2(see footnote 2).

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UW System Academic Staff by Institution (FTE) 2003-04

Institution Category A: Administrative & Professional Category B: Instructional & Research Total Academic Staff Percent of Systemwide Total
UW-Eau Claire
167.95
102.68
270.63
2.56%
UW-Green Bay
154.46
40.20
194.66
1.84%
UW-LaCrosse
183.22
108.39
291.61
2.76%
UW-Madison
3454.43
2336.91
5791.34
54.75%
UW-Milwaukee
711.79
401.35
1113.14
10.52%
UW-Oshkosh
311.60
144.02
455.62
4.31%
UW-Parkside
107.41
78.98
186.39
1.76%
UW-Platteville
131.71
61.03
192.74
1.82%
UW-River Falls
109.04
55.04
164.08
1.55%
UW-Stevens Point
207.56
65.89
273.45
2.59%
UW-Stout
191.16
89.64
280.80
2.65%
UW-Superior
66.88
36.86
103.74
0.98%
UW-Whitewater
169.02
124.00
293.02
2.77%
UW Colleges
195.50
166.85
362.35
3.43%
UW Extension
427.94
107.3
535.24
5.06%
UW System Administration
38.75
0
38.75
0.37%
Systemwide
30.08
0
30.08
0.28%
Total
6658.5

3919.14

10577.64

100.0%

Source: UW System October 2003 payroll figures.

Academic Staff Terms of Employment

The job security of academic staff members is affected by the type and term of the appointment. The type and terms of appointments are governed by a nested set of rules and policies that include the Wisconsin Statutes, Wisconsin Administrative Code, Board of Regents policy, and campus personnel policies and procedures.

This structure permits institutional flexibility within a uniform systemwide framework. The flexibility enables accommodation of a variety of campus-specific conditions, including whether a position changes programmatic focus over time or is supported on base budget or other funding. Approximately half of all academic staff are supported on state general purpose revenue, tuition, and fees. Program revenues, grants, or contracts support the remaining staff.

An academic staff member may have a fixed term appointment, an indefinite ap-pointment, or a probationary appointment leading to indefinite status. 3(see footnote 3).

  • Fixed term appointments, unless otherwise specified, are appointments for a period of one year. Many fixed term appointments are multiple year or "rolling horizon" appointments. Most instructional academic staff members receive a semester appointment. Fixed term appointments are renewable at the option of the university, and unless otherwise stated in institutional policies and procedures, carry no expectation of reemployment beyond the stated term. Academic staff with fixed term ap-pointments may be non-renewed for program and budget reasons, and are subject to layoff provisions. Otherwise they may not be dismissed during the term of their appointments except for cause.
  • Indefinite appointments are appointments with permanent status and for an unlimited term. An indefinite appointment is not acquired solely because of years of service. It is to be based on annual appraisal of performance and an affirmative review process to decide whether to proceed with an indefinite appointment. An indefinite appointment is terminable only for cause or for reasons of budget or program under Chapters UWS 11-12, Wisconsin Administrative Code.
  • Probationary appointments may precede an indefinite appointment and, unless otherwise specified, are for a period of one year. Probationary appointments may not exceed seven years. Academic staff with probationary appointments may be non-renewed for program and budget reasons, and are subject to layoff provisions. Otherwise they may not be dismissed during the term of appointment except for cause.

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Institutional Policies

The institutions also provide for job security in their academic staff personnel policies and procedures. This includes appropriate due process protections in the case of non-reappointment for fixed term academic staff members who have served the institution for a substantial period of time. The institutional policies must follow the systemwide Unclassified Personnel Guideline (UPG #3), section 3.05, which provides minimum conditions for the terms of appointments for all UW System institutions. Institutional policies and procedures must account for the continuing needs of the institution while recognizing the commitment and contributions being made by the academic staff. Selected academic staff personnel policies of each institution, and any changes to them, are approved by the Chancellor and reviewed by the Board of Regents.

Institutional policies, procedures, and practices may differ in certain respects as long as they meet the minimum systemwide rules and policies. Although most initial appointments are for one year, institutions may provide longer initial appointments to individuals with exceptional qualifications and experience.

Three types of categories of fixed term appointments have evolved: (1) ap-pointments that are "terminal," that is, the individual is informed that she or he has no expectation of employment beyond the term, (2) renewable appointments of one year or more, and (3) rolling horizon appointments.

After a certain number of years of service, institutions may provide multiple year appointments and/or rolling horizon appointments. For example, a three-year appointment would include an annual notice to the employee that either (a) the ap-pointment had been renewed for three more years, or (b) the appointment would end after the two remaining years of the original three-year appointment. Several institu-tions make use of probationary and indefinite appointments rather than variations of the fixed term appointment.

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Current Academic Staff Issues

Three issues have dominated recent academic staff agendas: (1) governance, (2) job security and (3) instructional and research academic staff titling issues.

Governance

Since 1985, participation of academic staff in the governance of their institutions has been provided under Ch. 36.09(4m), Wisconsin Statutes, in language that parallels that for the faculty:

"The academic staff members of each institution, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the president and the chancellor and faculty of the institution, shall be active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development for the institution. The academic staff members have the primary responsibility for the formulation and review, and shall be represented in the development, of all policies and procedures concerning academic staff members, including academic staff personnel matters. The academic staff members of each institution shall have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in institutional governance."

Academic staff are recognized as professional educators and support personnel who are essential and committed to helping maintain a quality institution. In 1984 the Board of Regents reviewed academic staff systemwide and raised the level of awareness of their role in governance, producing an evolution in the governance structures of the universities. Today, academic staff participate in the governance of their institutions through an academic staff council, executive committee and/or assembly or senate, or through an all-university senate. The chairs of the academic staff governance units meet regularly with the UW System Senior Vice President for Administration to provide advice and input to key policy matters.

Since 1985 the academic staff have actively participated through their govern-ance units in areas affecting their professional lives, such as salaries, title structure, job security, pay equity, appointment to campus-wide faculty/staff committees, career progression, institutional mission statements, and participation on UW System advisory committees. During the 1990s, they have increased efforts to communicate with and gain support from their institutions, System Administration, the Board of Regents, and the Legislature.

Job Security for Fixed Term Academic Staff

Since the systemwide study of Academic Staff in 1984, improvements have been made in the system of providing job security to academic staff. Prior to 1984, the vast majority of fixed term academic staff had one-year appointments that were extended each year. Many of these were one-year only "terminal" appointments for which the appointment letter stated that renewal was not intended. The majority of fixed term academic staff have appointment terms of one year or less. Among instructional academic staff, terminal and single semester appointments are more common. In addition, the use of multiple year and rolling horizon appointments has increased significantly, as has the use on several campuses of indefinite appointments, which carry security similar to tenure.

A uniform systemwide policy providing minimum conditions for job security has been in effect since 1989. Despite these improvements, institutional practices vary widely and several issues are still of concern. These include: sufficiency of use of indefinite appointments, multiple year fixed term appointments and rolling horizon appointments; extent of use of one year or one semester appointments. System Administration monitors institutional practices in this area annually. Local governance bodies also review these topics as part of their role in advising the institutions on personnel matters.

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Instructional and Research Academic Staff Titling Issues

In 1997-98, a study of instructional academic staff was conducted, prompted by the UW System's steadily increasing reliance on instructional academic staff-individuals holding titles such as lecturer, faculty associate, and clinical professor. In 1997, the number of instructional academic staff represented 23 percent of full-time equivalent (FTE) instructors and 33 percent of the individuals instructing students were instructional academic staff.

The 1997 Board of Regents "Study of the University of Wisconsin System in the 21st Century" recommended that, "Since teaching academic staff are an essential part of those instructing students across the UW System, it is time to examine the role of teaching academic staff within the UW System, with the intention of improving their status, roles, rights and responsibilities."

In response, a June 1998 report entitled "Teaching Academic Staff in the UW System" was presented to and accepted by the UW Board of Regents. The study's findings and recommendations were intended to raise institutional awareness of employment practices and professional development opportunities affecting instructional academic staff, especially as it affected the quality of instruction for UW students.

The UW System convened the "IRAS Working Group" in Fall 2000 to examine the recommendations of the "Study of the University of Wisconsin System in the 21st Century" and "Teaching Academic Staff in the UW System." Most specifically, the group worked on the very delicate issue to titling for instructional and research academic staff.

UW System Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Al Beaver prepared the Executive Summary of the Instruction and Research Academic Staff Working Group Report to the Board of Regents. In it, he summarized the recommendations of the Working Group. The recommendations were "guided by the underlying presumption that full-time, permanent instructional needs should be filled through faculty appointments in accord with the UW System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines. For positions that do not require work in all three areas of faculty responsibility (teaching, research and service) the working group acknowledged that academic staff appointments are appropriate, and that all members of the academic staff are an important and integral part of the UW System and its institutions. "

"The recommendations that emerged from the efforts of the IRAS Working Group were guided by the underlying presumption that full-time, permanent instructional needs should be filled through faculty appointments in accord with the UW System Unclassified Personnel Guidelines. For positions that do not require work in all three areas of faculty responsibility (teaching, research and service) the working group acknowledged that academic staff ap-pointments are appropriate, and that all members of the academic staff are an important and integral part of the UW System and its institutions.

The IRAS Working Group made several recommendations specific to its charge. It sug-gested several initiatives and actions for both the UW System Administration and individual UW institutions to enhance the integration of IRAS into institutional life. The recommendations were intended to increase the opportunities IRAS have to participate in programs, activities and governance. They were envisioned as ways to remove barriers to integration and not intended as additional or new job responsibilities and/or expectations. Recommendations included enhancing orientation for IRAS, providing modules of instructional and research support, improving opportunities for professional development, and increasing IRAS in-volvement in institutional and departmental governance. In addition, two new titling series were proposed to better reflect the responsibilities, credentials and work expectations of career IRAS. The working group proposed an Instructional Professor and a Research Professor series of titles.

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Feedback from UW Institutions
In considering the recommendations, the interim senior vice president for academic affairs distributed the report to each institution and requested comment. He asked for a single institutional response from each institution and strongly encourage that the response take into account input from stakeholder groups such as faculty, administration, and academic staff, par-ticularly instructional and research.

Institutions were very supportive of the recommendations to enhance the integration of IRAS into institutional life. Both faculty and academic staff indicated implementation of the recommendations would likely lead to more full assimilation of IRAS into campus life. Many institutions reported that many of the initiatives recommended were already being implemented. While supportive, many institutions expressed concern over the resources that may be required to fully implement all of the recommendations.

Institutions were generally not supportive of the new titling series - instructional professor and research professor - as the IRAS Working Group proposed. Furthermore, faculty and academic staff at the institutions were divided in their support. Faculty indicated that the proposed titles would blur the distinction between the roles of faculty and academic staff, they would add unnecessary complexity to existing salary and promotion systems, and the proposed titles would cause confusion among external groups such as legislators, the public and students. Academic staff generally supported the titles, but some expressed concern that adopting the proposed new titles might give the appearance that issues related to job security, recognition and salaries were being avoided.

Recommendations
"Integration into Institutional Life. After consultation with the UW System executive com-mittee, vice chancellors, faculty representatives, academic staff representatives and UWSA human resources staff; interim senior vice president for academic affairs accepted the rec-ommendations made by the IRAS working group to enhance the integration of IRAS into institutional life. Each institution will be asked to implement the integration recommendations and report on the progress of their initiatives to UW System Administration Office of Academic Affairs by June 30, 2002.
"Personnel Policy and Practice. As a result of the IRAS Working Group's investigations and discussions, the group found evidence that significant variability exists within institutions and their utilization of the current IRAS titles, appointment length and continuity status. UW System Administration and UW Institutions will be asked to engage in a concerted effort to ensure that Unclassified Personnel Guidelines are applied consistently. In particular, UPG 3.05, sections 1-4 are emphasized. This may include providing on-going education to per-sonnel directors, deans, department chairs and supervisors regarding how to apply unclassified titles.
"Revising IRAS Titles to Reflect National Trends. The IRAS working group analyzed the non-tenure instructional staff titles used by a number of comparable institutions and univer-sity systems from across the country. There was no clear national consensus or definitive trend on titles. The IRAS working group offered specific recommendations to create system-wide instructional professor and research professor titles similar to those adopted by some of the comparable institutions investigated. It was evident from the feedback provided by each institution that divergent perspectives were held on the proposed titles. Because of these diverging views, consensus on the professorial titles as recommended was not possible to achieve. "

The Summary and its Report are available at: /acss/asreps/index.htm

In October 2001, The System Administration Office of Academic Affairs asked that campuses report on the progress of campuses to implement the recommendations contained in the report before May 2002. Cora Marrett, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs briefed the Board of Regents in June 2002.

/acss/ias/pdf/integration_report.pdf

The report highlighted successes and identified areas where campuses are encountering barriers to full integration of research and instructional staff. Listed below are the "Next Steps" from Marrett:
"There were a few areas that surfaced where staff in the Office of Academic Affairs could assist institutions as they continue to work on IRAS issues. Since the survey results reveal that much of the contact and interaction with IRAS occurs within the department, it is impor-tant to work with department chairpersons to enhance their awareness and understanding of IRAS policies and issues. There also appears to be varying practices related to some IRAS policy and personnel matters. The UW System Office of Academic Affairs, in conjunction with the Office of Human Resources, could provide appropriate campus leaders with accu-rate information about IRAS policy issues and interpretations. Over the next several months we will distribute this report to Provosts and other constituent groups to review these results and gather their recommendations on addressing the obstacles to full integration of IRAS into institutional and departmental life and other issues that surfaced in this survey."

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Return to Note 1 1 Section 36.05 (l), Wisconsin Statutes.
Return to Note 2

2 This includes people with limited appointments who have back-up appointments in the academic staff. Limited appointees serve in a designated administrative position at the pleasure of the appointing authority and are not aca-demic staff for the duration of the limited appointment. (See UWS 15, Wisconsin Administrative Code.) Nevertheless, limited appointees with academic staff backup appointments may exercise governance rights, as agreed to at the institution.

Return to Note 3

3 Fixed term academic staff also may be considered for indefinite status, in which case the individual's appointment would not necessarily be terminated if indefinite status were denied.