Provost Aiken's March 14th email
Dear University of Idaho Community:
We have been engaged in the work of creating a new employee classification system for well over a year. Following the announcement of the proposed classifications, then Interim President Don Burnett, Vice President for Finance and Administration Ron Smith, and Human Resources Executive Director Greg Walters led campus-wide forums to discuss the system. In response to comments at those meetings, university leadership met with our consultants to discuss possible changes. Staff working groups in the areas of financial positions; IT positions; departmental support staff; leadership support staff; skilled trades and farm staff; student services; and scientific/research personnel provided advice regarding some re-calibration of the proposed classifications. Following this re-calibration effort, an appeals committee evaluated 135 cases and has informed appellants of their status.
Human Resources and various stakeholders will continue to look at positions in the areas of IT and Scientific Research during the remainder of the current academic year.
We appreciate the patience and collaborative approach to this issue that have been hallmarks of this process. We believe the results are an improvement over the initial University classification system and represent a sincere effort to incorporate stakeholder input and to recognize the myriad contributions staff make to our academic enterprise. The process is now complete and beginning May 1, Human Resources will consider re-classification requests that are based upon new information and/or new job descriptions that reflect significant changes made after January 31, 2014. Please contact Human resources for assistance with this process.
Thank you to everyone who worked diligently to make this a better system. We are especially grateful to the Staff Affairs leadership who provided valuable input at every step in the process.
Katherine G. Aiken, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President
John K. McIver, Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Ronald E. Smith, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Vice President Smith's January 8th email
The University’s executive team appreciates the hard work put into the staff classification study and the recent calibration process by everyone involved. We gathered and have considered all the recommendations and have reached a number of conclusions.
The executive team’s reviews have resulted in changes in grade levels to 63 positions. In addition, 123 changes will be made to the classification group name and 167 positions will undergo further review in the spring for either a change to the classification group name or a potential change in grade level.
The updated classification group list is on HR’s website. Any changes made to date should be reflected in this list. Individuals who have a position that changed grade levels or changed classification group title will receive a communication from their division head or designee by January 14th. HR will update UI Job Descriptions that have already been submitted to reflect these changes.
In addition to many individual changes, some of the major group changes include the following:
Research Technicians, Senior (Grade 6), Research Associate (7), Research Scientist (8)
We are implementing the work group’s recommendations in two stages:
Immediately change the classification grouping for the Research Technician Senior to Research Specialist for the Research Associate to Research Support Scientist.
In the late spring, HR will work with a select group familiar with the positions to implement the recommendation to distribute the supplemental questionnaire and review all the research related positions in the two classifications listed above and the Research Scientists for correct placement in one of five newly developed classifications. There will be an appeal process available to these groups after this process.
In the spring, we will review the IT Analysts for placement into smaller, more homogenous classifications but, within the same grade.
Extended Appeal Process
The appeal process deadline has been extended to January 31. If you are considering an appeal, please visit the HR website to review the appeal criteria. A key component for appellants will be to provide sufficient and substantial evidence that the position should be classified in a different grade. We strongly encourage consulting with your supervisor prior to submitting an appeal.
Classification Groups and Position Titles
As stated in the past, classification group names are necessary for internal purposes to manage the classification system in Banner and in PeopleAdmin and to comply with University Policies that reference classifications. Position titles (working titles) are important and will be maintained in Banner and will be the titles used when posting and advertising positions. If you have not done so already, please complete and submit your UI Job Descriptions to HR no later than January 15th. The job descriptions will be uploaded into PeopleAdmin shortly thereafter. This is also the means to capture the correct position titles for Banner.
We will bring the salaries of Incumbents below the minimum of the range up to the minimum effective February 2, 2014.
Reclassifications will be unfrozen when the appeals process is complete. Visit the HR website in mid-February to see the revised process and reclassification criteria.
We encourage you to remember that a classification system is a living thing. Jobs change, classifications are reviewed and Human Resources will actively work to maintain the classification system. This maintenance includes reviews and mini-processes each year not unlike what will happen for the Research positions in the spring. It also includes regular market analysis to gauge our salary competitiveness as an institution and by classification or grade.
I want to thank all of the work groups and the Deans, Directors, President Burnett, my colleagues around the VP table and everyone else who devoted much time and energy to helping us finish this process.
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Provost Aiken's November 8th email
University of Idaho Staff,
I’d like to update you on where we are in the effort we’ve taken in calibrating changes to the staff classification system. As you know, we put implementation on hold until we were sure that the changes fit us here.
As part of that process, we’ve had eight campus committees reviewing the largest job categories to evaluate the fit of recommended changes. Next week we’ll take the next step. An outside contractor will help university leadership evaluate these findings and compare across job categories before any final classification system is implemented.
I want to thank you for your patience and for the exceptional efforts by the many people who have volunteered to help us get to the best decision for our university. These teams have done exceptional work in a very short time and their professionalism, thoughtfulness and commitment deserve thanks from all of us.
The president or I will share more with you later this month.
Dr. Katherine G. Aiken
Interim Provost & Executive Vice President
President Burnett's September 12th email
As interim president I have the great pleasure of speaking to many groups across a wide spectrum of constituencies and audiences in the state, region, and nation. One of my recurrent messages is that the University of Idaho is achieving great success as Idaho’s national land-grant, comprehensive, constitutionally established university. None of our success would be possible without an uncommonly dedicated staff. I want to personally thank you.
We’ve invested in developing a staff classification system that is efficient and coherent. This will aid in hiring, career development, and retention. However, I have heard from many of you that the classification project now underway has caused anxiety for some and is affecting general morale. Most troubling, I have heard that some members of our community feel less valued or that their voices are not heard. This concerns me greatly.
Therefore, in consultation with the academic deans and administrative leadership of the University, I am asking for an additional level of analysis. I am requesting the deans and administrative leaders to meet together and to conduct an institution-wide review in order to gain additional assurance that the proposed job classifications are properly calibrated. A full process and timeline will be developed, and we will share that with you when complete.
This process will be supplemental to, and not in place of, the appeals process – although it may cause some appeals to be resolved or to become unnecessary. You are still free to file an appeal, if you have not already done so, and the appeal will be put “on hold” until the supplemental process is complete. The deadline for appealing may be extended if necessary due to the supplemental process. If you have an appeal that is not resolved by the supplemental process, you will have a chance to meet with the appellate panel before it makes a decision. And, if you wish to meet earlier with the appellate panel, you will be accommodated. We want your voice to be heard in your own case.
This supplemental review will delay our overall progress in the classification project, but I believe this is time well spent in order to get to the most accurate set of outcomes. To aid the supplemental review, I would ask that if you feel the proposed classification of your position is in error, please share your concerns with your direct supervisor who, in turn, will share them with your unit head. It would be most helpful if you could do so not later than September 20.
The classification project is a long-overdue administrative effort to bring greater consistency and coherency to a system that was much in need of improvement. The new system adopts fewer job classes with broader pay scales in an attempt to create a more effective platform for human resource management. This project strives to organize jobs properly; it is NOT a determination of personal value.
Our effort is not easy, but it is essential. Please accept, again, my gratitude for all you do on behalf of the University of Idaho.