University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Unclassified Employment- Academic Staff

There are four combinations which determine the type of academic staff appointment (UWM Chapter 104 ACADEMIC STAFF APPOINTMENTS). They are

  • Teaching and Non-Teaching
  • Fixed Term and Probationary/Indefinite

Teaching academic staff primarily carries out instructional responsibilities, while the non-teaching academic staff assumes various other professional staff responsibilities. If 50 percent or more of one’s duties are teaching duties, he or she should be designated teaching academic staff. Teaching academic staff is not faculty members and, thus, is not eligible for the same rights (e.g., faculty rank, sabbaticals, etc.) as faculty, even though both groups are engaged primarily in the same activity. Teaching academic staff also does not have to meet the research and service expectations as faculty must.

Fixed term and Probationary/Indefinite
Fixed term appointments (UWM Chapter 104 ACADEMIC STAFF APPOINTMENTS), are less than 50 percent appointments intended to fill a need of predetermined duration specified in the employment contract. Regardless of the expectation of permanent need, all appointments of less than 50 percent time are fixed term. Fixed term appointments, limited to a definite time period specified in the employment contract, are renewable solely at UWM's option and carry no expectation of reemployment beyond the stated term, regardless of how many times renewed. Multiple year, fixed renewable and rolling horizon appointments are possible. It is important to read the terms of the employment contract carefully and become familiar with the UWM Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures (

A probationary academic staff appointment is an employment contract for a fixed amount of time (e.g. one year or more) with a renewable option at the end of each year for the employee to work towards gaining indefinite status. During the probationary appointment the employee will annually receive written contracts stating the term of the contract as well as years of service counted towards indefinite status. At the completion of five successful years of service an employee with probationary status will prepare a review file to be reviewed by the department, division and academic staff to determine if that individual will become an indefinite status employee. Probationary appointments are served for a period of not less than one year or more than seven years. An indefinite appointment (UWM Chapter 107 PROMOTION TO INDEFINITE APPOINTMENT) is an appointment of half time or greater with permanent status and an unlimited term. Indefinite status cannot be granted without having served at least one year in a probationary position. An indefinite appointment is not granted solely because of years of service.

Academic Staff Personnel Files
The office of the dean or division head maintains an official confidential personnel file (S42 UWM's Personnel File Policy) for each academic staff member. This file contains copies of employment contracts, performance reviews, and other official documents pertaining to the individual's employment. To review your file or to obtain a copy of the University policy governing the maintenance of and access to official personnel files, contact your dean or division head.

Review for Indefinite Appointment
Under UWM Chapter 107 UWM Chapter 107 PROMOTION TO INDEFINITE APPOINTMENT, probationary academic staff can be reappointed for no more than seven years. Before that time, a decision must be reached to promote or terminate employment. Review of the employee is normally completed before the end of the sixth probationary year. Some employees are promoted earlier, but they must serve a minimum of one year of probation.

Reappointment, Nonrenewal and Dismissal
Reappointment varies depending on appointment type. Each fiscal year probationary academic staff, as on-going employees, receives a new one-year contract for the following year if their contract is to be continued. Fixed term academic staff has no guarantee of renewal beyond the date stated in their contract. However, renewal is possible depending on need, funding and performance.

Probationary academic staff who are being nonrenewed will receive a written notice. The notice period varies depending upon the years of service.

Fixed term academic staff should not expect to be reappointed beyond the period specified in their contract. Separate notice will not be given except in rare circumstances.
Refer to UWM Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, Chapter 108 (UWM Chapter 108 NOTICE PERIODS), for notice periods required for termination and other information pertaining to reappointment.

Indefinite Academic staff, as well as staff holding probationary or fixed-term appointments who have completed an initial specified period may be dismissed only for just cause (Chapter UWS 11 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, and Chapter 109 of the UWM Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures, UWM Chapter 109 DISMISSAL FOR CAUSE). Non-renewal of a contract does not constitute a dismissal for cause. If informal resolution efforts fail, the dean or division head prepares a written statement of the specific charges. The academic staff member may request a hearing.

Employment Opportunities
Academic staff does not have "transfer" rights to other jobs within UWM or the UW System. Employees are eligible to apply for advertised openings. In certain circumstances recruitments may be opened for internal “UWM Employees” only. All employment opportunities are listed on the Department of Human Resources Employment Opportunities web site,

Personnel Action Appeals
The policies on appeals for Academic Staff are found in the Academic staff Personnel Policies and Procedures ( These provisions are outlined in Chapter 106 (Nonrenewal of Probationary Employee UWM Chapter 106 NON-RENEWAL), Chapter 109 (Dismissal for Cause) UWM Chapter 109 DISMISSAL FOR CAUSE, and 110 (Layoff) UWM Chapter 110 LAY OFF OF ACADEMIC STAFF FOR REASONS OF BUDGET OR PROGRAM. If there are questions about the procedure, contact the chairperson of the Academic Staff Committee. There are time limits for some appeals so take these actions as soon as possible.

Academic Staff Classifications and Governance.
For information on the UW System Academic Staff Title and Compensation plan: For information on the criteria for the use of prefixes for Academic Staff Professional Titles,

For information on Academic Staff Governance, the AS Senate, standing committees and Academic Staff Senate subcommittees, see the website for the Office of the Secretary of the University,

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