UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter VI:  Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures

6.3 Academic Staff Appointments: UWRF 3

6.3.1 Types of Appointments

Academic staff appointments may be designated by the Chancellor as Fixed Term, Probationary, or Indefinite under UWS 10.01link.

6.3.1.1 Fixed Term

UWS 10.03(1)link

A. An academic staff position may be designated as Fixed Term if one or more of the following circumstances exists:

  1. There is no continued expectation of employment because of temporary funding or lack of continued need.
  2. The position is for a term of one year or less to replace an academic staff or faculty person who has been authorized leave from campus for an exchange program, sabbatical leave, or any type of absence due to an emergency.
  3. The appointment is less than fifty percent (50%).
  4. The appointment has been determined fixed term in nature by the Chancellor.

B. Fixed term appointments shall be for a fixed term to be specified in the letter of appointment. Unless otherwise stated, fixed term appointments shall be for a period of one year. The initial fixed term appointment may include a period of up to two months during which the appointee may be dismissed without appeal.

C. After completion of seven (7) contractual years of continuous service to the institution, additional fixed term appointments shall not be less than three (3) year rolling horizon appointments. After ten (10) contractual years of continuous service to the institution, a review is to be initiated by the administration to consider the appropriateness of either (1) an indefinite appointment or (2) extending the contract to a five (5) year rolling horizon appointment. Academic staff with appointments of less than 50% are not subject to these requirements. Academic staff members with ten (10) contractual years or more continuous service whose appointments do not provide at least a five (5) year term shall be given the reasons in writing upon request.

D. To reward exceptional service, a supervisor may request a multi-year contract before completion of seven (7) contractual years of continuous service.

E. Fixed term academic staff members who have served the institution for a substantial period of time, seven (7) years on a full or part-time basis, shall be granted due process in a non-renewal decision by being provided with an opportunity to request and receive, in writing, the reasons for non-renewal and to receive reconsideration of the decision by the decision maker.

6.3.1.2. Probationary

UWS 10.03(2)(a)link

A probationary appointment is one leading to review and a decision on indefinite appointment. The probationary period shall not exceed seven (7) years for both full and part-time employees. Up to and not exceeding three (3) years of prior experience may be counted in the probationary period. A leave of absence shall not constitute a break in continuous service, nor shall it be included in the probationary period. Circumstances that do not constitute a break in continuous service and that shall not be included in the 7-year period include responsibilities with respect to childbirth or adoption, significant responsibilities with respect to elder or dependent care obligations, disability or chronic illness, or circumstances beyond the control of the academic staff member, when those circumstances significantly impede the academic staff member's progress toward achieving indefinite status.

It shall be presumed that a written request made under this section because of responsibilities with respect to childbirth and adoption shall be approved. A request shall be made before the beginning of the sixth year. A request for additional time because of responsibilities with respect to childbirth or adoption shall be initiated in writing by the academic staff member concerned and shall be submitted to the supervising Dean and/or Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, who, in consultation with the academic staff member's supervisor, shall make a final recommendation to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and then the Chancellor for final approval. The request will be granted for a specific length of time. Except for a request because of responsibilities with respect to childbirth and adoption, a request made because of other circumstances under this section shall be submitted to the supervising Dean and/or Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, who shall be authorized to grant a request in accordance with institutional policies.

A denial of a request shall be in writing and shall be based upon clear and convincing reasons. More than one request may be granted because of responsibilities with respect to childbirth or adoption. More than one request may be granted to a probationary academic staff member but the total, aggregate length of time of all requests, except for a request because of responsibilities with respect to childbirth or adoption, granted to one probationary academic member ordinarily shall be no more than one year.

If any academic staff member has been in probationary status for more than seven years because of one or more of the reasons stated above, the academic staff member shall be evaluated as if he or she had been on probationary status for seven years.

6.3.1.3. Indefinite

UWS 10.03(1)(b)link 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 UWS 11link or for reasons of budget or program under UWS 12link. This appointment may be granted to a member who holds or will hold a half-time appointment or more. Academic staff members may be granted an indefinite appointment prior to the end of the probationary period. The proportion of time provided for in the initial indefinite appointment may not be decreased or increased without the mutual consent of the academic staff member and the institution unless the appointment is terminated or decreased under UWS 11link or UWS 12link.

6.3.1.4 Notice Periods

UWS 10.05link

A. Written notice that a fixed term renewable or probationary academic staff appointment will not be renewed shall be given to the appointee in advance of the expiration of that appointment as follows:

1. Fixed Term Appointments: At least three (3) months before the end of the appointment in the first two (2) years and six (6) months thereafter.
2. Probationary Appointments: At least three (3) months before the end of the appointment in the first year; six (6) months before the end of the appointment in the second year; and twelve (12) months thereafter.
3. Rolling Horizon Contracts: The notice required to terminate rolling horizon appointments is the length of the contract less one year. Notice is given annually to extend or terminate at the end of the contract.

If proper notice of non-renewal is not given, the appointment shall be extended so that at  least the required notice is provided.

B. When the letter of offer for a fixed term terminal appointment states that renewal is not intended, no further notice of non-rehire is required (UWS 10.05 (1)(alink). Whenever possible, however, instructional academic staff will be given adequate notice of intent to rehire or not rehire.

6.3.2 Types of Appointments: Instructional (category B) Academic Staff

Instructional academic staff appointments are contingent on program needs and budget availability.

A full-time teaching load for instructional academic staff is 15 credits. Coaches with teaching responsibilities are an exception to this policy (per 17th edition, Faculty/Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 6).

Instructional academic staff are paid on a per-credit-hour basis.

6.3.2.1 Fixed Term Appointments

New instructional academic staff appointments are fixed term appointments.

6.3.2.1.1 Fixed-term Terminal Appointment

If the contract states that there is no intent to renew (terminal appointment), further notice of non-rehire is not required (UWS 10.05)link. Whenever possible, however, instructional academic staff on fixed-term terminal appointments will be given adequate notice of intent to rehire or not to rehire.

6.3.3. Official Personnel File

There shall be an official academic staff personnel record center containing the following documents:

(1) letters of appointment and reappointment
(2) vacation, sick leave balance
(3) leave of absence authorizations
(4) letters of commendation/reprimand
(5) performance evaluation
(6) location of other offices holding personnel data such as W-4 tax forms, payroll
deduction authorization, etc.

This record center shall be maintained by the office of the Dean or division head for each academic staff member. For non-instructional title academic staff, this file shall be open to inspection only by the respective academic staff member and the staff member's direct supervisory line.

For instructional academic staff, this file shall be available for departmental peer evaluations for purposes of personnel decisions.

An individual staff member shall receive copies of all information pertaining to his or her job performance prior to placement in the personnel file. A staff member may challenge inclusion of material in his or her file in accordance with grievance procedures in Section 12 of this chapter. The contents and uses of such official personnel files are also subject to the current University of Wisconsin-River Falls statement on the confidentiality of personnel records.

6.3.4. Operational Area

UWS 10.01link

The operational area of fixed term, probationary, and indefinite appointments is in the college, division, department (or functional equivalent) or specified research or program unit of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls specified in the letter of appointment. The appointment does not carry rights beyond that limitation.