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Policies & Procedures

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Academic Staff Policies & Procedures (ASPP)

Other Policies Approved by the Academic Staff Assembly

Other Policies Relevant to Academic Staff

Title & Status

Distinguished status is defined as follows:

An academic staff member at the Distinguished level performs at a level of proficiency typically requiring extensive experience and advanced knowledge and skills. The expertise of an academic staff member at this level is commonly recognized by their peers and through a reputation that extends beyond their work unit. A Distinguished academic staff member is expected to develop new approaches, methods or techniques to resolve or prevent problems with little or no expert guidance and to cope independently with new, unexpected or complex situations. At this level, an academic staff member can be expected to guide or train other staff or to oversee their work. All academic staff titles at all levels are eligible for Distinguished status. For more information, see Distinguished Status Review Committee Policies and Procedures Definition.

For consideration in the fall, applications must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the Academic Staff by August 1. For consideration in the spring, they must be submitted by February 1. If either of these dates fall on a weekend, then applications must be submitted by the immediately following Monday.

The current composition of the Distinguished Status Review Committee can be found here.

The status of Emeritus/Emerita is an honorary title conferred upon individuals who have had permanent employment at UW–Madison, are 55 years of age or older, and have completed a minimum of ten years of distinguished service. There is a process for obtaining this honorary title that can be found here. You will need to scroll down to section called Retirement/Special Recognition.

Many UW–Madison academic staff members have strong research records, including those who have requested and been granted Limited PI Status on multiple occasions and successfully carried out funded research projects. These experienced academic staff members may request Permanent PI status not tied to a specific project.

Academic staff members granted Permanent Principal Investigator status will no longer need to request permission to serve as a PI each time they submit a grant proposal and can add this honorific designation to their curriculum vitae. In addition, Permanent PIs are eligible to apply for research funds through the VCRGE Research Committee’s competitions ( and are eligible for domestic and international travel support from the VCRGE (

More information on the criteria for Permanent PI status and the application procedure is available at

The School of Medicine and Public Health issued a memo regarding their review process for Permanent PI status applications in April 2016.  SMPH Memo

The Title and Standard Job Description Library provides a list of titles and definitions within various job groups for academic staff. Click here to see the Library.

“Indefinite Appointment” is an academic staff appointment with permanent status and for an unlimited term. The rights conferred by an indefinite appointment are limited to the operational area in which the appointment is made.  Indefinite appointments are neither limited to nor specific to any academic staff position or title series.

Area Review Committee: The appropriate area review committee to review employees for an indefinite appointment normally is identified by joint agreement of the employee and employer and shall be the committee appropriate to the area of employment. When an agreement cannot be reached, the Academic Staff Executive Committee, in consultation with the dean or director and the Academic Personnel Office, shall specify the appropriate area review committee.

Action by the Area Review Committee: Each area review committee shall convene to review nominations for indefinite appointment status within its respective area. The committee shall seek any additional information or expertise it needs to reach a decision.  All members of each committee have the right to vote on all candidates. The recommendation of the area review committee is advisory to the dean or director.

Administrative/Student Services/Library
Guidelines (Last updated 2017)
Committee Composition

Biological/Medical Sciences
Guidelines (Last updated 2015)
Committee Composition 

Humanities/Social Sciences
Guidelines (Last updated 2018)
Committee Composition

Physical Sciences/Engineering 
Guidelines (Last updated 2012)
Committee Composition

Employment & Personnel

A dual role academic staff appointment is one in which an academic staff member holds a full-time appointment in one role and subsequently, is appointed to a second role.  Academic staff who believe they may require a dual role waiver should contact human resources in their department/unit.  More information about dual role waivers can be found at the Secretary of the Faculty page at

Academic Staff Pay Tools Portfolio

This document provides basic information on the variety of ways academic staff can receive a salary increase.

Post Progression Series Review

This policy was developed in November 2014 by the Academic Personnel Office to provide academic staff five years after promotion or appointment to the highest rank of a title series in the same position with a review for an increase in salary due to equity, market or change in duties. For Category A positions, this includes the senior and distinguished titles, and those Program Manager series that are not currently promotional series. For Category B, this includes the no-prefix titles (i.e. Researcher) when that is the highest level of the position.

Salary Ranges

Each academic staff title in Category A has a corresponding salary range.

Options for Increased Job Security

  • Fixed-term, multiple-year appointment is a form of fixed-term renewable appointment made for more than one year. The length of the term is specified in writing. This type of extended appointment may be especially appropriate for individuals on multiple-year grants.
  • Fixed-term rolling-horizon is a form of fixed-term appointment that extends daily for the term specified in writing. The term may be for one or more years. (ASPP 2.01.1.b).
  • Information about appointments that increase job security can be found at:

 Conditions Affecting Academic Staff Job Security

Most academic staff are initially on one-year, fixed term, renewable appointments. These appointments are renewable:

  • As long as the employee provides satisfactory service
  • Funds are available
  • Directions or needs of the program do not change.

Once an initial evaluation period has been successfully completed, the employment of an academic staff member may be ended only for reasons of:

  • Funding loss
  • A budget or program decision that requires a program to be discontinued, curtailed, modified, or redirected
  • Unsatisfactory performance
  • Misconduct.

 Fixed-Term Renewable Appointment Reviews

ASPP 2.05 describes reviews of appointment status. Basically:

  • Any academic staff member can be considered for a more secure appointment with a request initiated by the academic staff member or by the member’s unit at any time, no matter how long the individual has been with the university; and
  • Academic staff members with five or more years of service are reviewed annually by the Dean for rolling-horizon or indefinite appointments when (1) they are an integral part of the unit’s continuing mission, (2) a funding source can be identified; and (3) the quality of their performance warrants it.

Upon request, academic staff members with five years or more of service whose appointments are for two or fewer years can get written reasons why they did not receive increased job security.

 Who approves appointment changes that increase job security?

Your supervisor, department chair, or center director, and the dean/director.

Your Human Resources department or business office will know the current practice of approving appointment changes to increase job security.

Policies related to the personnel file:

The Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee has created a plain language document with information related to the personnel file.

Layoffs of academic staff are governed by ASPP Chapter 5.  To assist academic staff who have received a layoff letter, the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee has developed a plain language document to assist academic staff.

In 2014, the Academic Staff Assembly passed a policy designed to address hostile and intimidating behavior (HIB). As stated on the website linked below, “Hostile and intimidating behavior, sometimes known by the shorthand term ‘bullying,’ is defined in university policy as ‘unwelcome behavior pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find it hostile and/or intimidating and that does not further the University’s academic or operational interests.’”

For more details on hostile and intimidating behavior, including definitions, policies by employee category, and campus resources for addressing and preventing instances of this behavior, please visit the University’s website located at

Organizations for Academic Staff

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ASPRO (Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization)

ASPRO is a non-profit, professional organization that represents the UW System academic staff and their interests with the State Legislature, the Governor’s office, the Board of Regents, and the general public. ASPRO is the official lobbying and public relations arm of the academic staff. It is not a union nor does it negotiate or bargain terms of employment.  ASPRO was formed by the Academic Staff Assembly.

LASA (Latinx Academic Staff Association)

LASA is a group that advocates, supports advancement, and provides a social network for the UW Latinx community. Its priorities include: creating a supportive community that nurtures Latinx as a visible and viable part of the UW environment, advocating for the needs and concerns of the UW Latinx community, collaborating with other cultural and ethnic groups to promote our common missions, celebrating the diversity and richness of the Latinx community to highlight the multiplicity of cultural identities among our people, and providing social and cultural programs that relate to Latinx communities.

MASN (Madison Academic Staff Network)

MASN is an organization of members of the academic staff of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It aims to further the professional status of the Madison academic staff, share ideas on items of mutual interest relating to professional status, conditions of employment, and compensation, and to establish communications with other identifiable university groups having similar objectives. It is not a union nor does it negotiate or bargain terms of employment. (This organization was formerly known as the Madison Academic Staff Association, or MASA.)

SPA (Madison Student Personnel Association)

SPA is a Madison-area association of current and aspiring higher education professionals which facilitates collaboration and networking to support one another and enhance the student experience.

UFAS (United Faculty and Academic Staff)

UFAS is a labor union democratically organized to represent its members who are faculty, academic staff, and postdoctoral fellows at the UW–Madison and UW–Extension. UFAS is an independent affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, Local #223, AFL-CIO. It does not negotiate contracts, but does provide other member services, such as legal representation. It is not a certified representative of faculty or academic staff or postdoctoral fellows.

UW Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship

UW Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship is dedicated to encouraging and equipping Christian faculty and staff at the UW–Madison to be a redeeming influence among the people, ideas, and structures of the university.

WUU (Wisconsin University Union)

WUU is an independent association of faculty and academic staff at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Our purpose is to promote the values of our members in the operation of this institution. WUU’s core values reflect a commitment to democracy—an order of free and equal persons who determine the conditions of their own association.

Not quite finding what you need?

The Secretary of the Academic Staff supports academic staff governance activities and staffs the Academic Staff Executive Committee and the Academic Staff Assembly. Our office administratively supports all aspects of academic staff governance, and in addition, coordinates the annual “University Roundtable” lunch series. Please contact us with questions regarding the many programs supported by academic staff governance, including professional development grants, academic staff excellence awards and executive education grants.

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