Academic Professional Position and Title Approval

Position/title approval is required for all new academic professional positions. A new position is one that has not been previously filled. Units need prior approval from Academic Human Resources, even if the position will use an existing title. Title approval is also required for positions that have significantly revised responsibilities or when there is a proposed change of the current title.


The Office of Academic Human Resources (AHR) reviews and approves titles for new academic professional positions or title changes for positions with significant changes in job responsibilities. The format for submitting requests for titles for new or significantly changed academic professional positions is through a Principal Administrative Position Exemption (PAPE) form. The electronic version can be found in Hire Touch at Hire Touch. Suggestions for using the electronic PAPE can be found under Attachment III. The electronic PAPE form requires approval by the college before being forwarded to AHR for final approval. The Supplemental Academic Professional Information form is no longer required.

Academic Professional positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree unless specifically exempted by the State Universities Civil Service System. All position requests are subject to review of the appropriateness of the position as academic vs. civil service.

Titles not previously exempted and which do not fall within one of the standard title categories listed in Hire Touch at Hire Touch, will be forwarded for approval to the State Universities Civil Service System.

Significant Change in Responsibilities:

Before changing an existing academic professional title and/or making major duties and responsibilities changes, a Principal Administrative Position Exemption form must be submitted electronically in Hire Touch through the Office of Academic Human Resources along with an email explaining the proposed changes. A determination will be made regarding the future status/title of the position and whether or not further approval must be sought.

Promotion of Academic Professional Employees:

Natural promotional lines or ladders for academic professional employees, e.g., assistant director to associate director within a unit, are sometimes appropriate to the work and needs of the unit. Where appropriate, the Campus encourages their establishment as a means of providing promotional opportunities to our best academic professional employees. (The existence of such lines does not require their use only for promotions — one has the latitude to hire a new individual if no one in the unit is well qualified for such a promotion.) Even where natural promotional lines or ladders do not exist or are inappropriate, academic professional positions can sometimes be upgraded to reflect both the needs of the unit and the capabilities of the individual involved.

Such upgrades could involve both a redefinition of the job to involve higher-level assignments and an upgrading of the title as well as the salary. Normally a PAPE is required. Both the development of lines or ladders and the upgrading of an individual job with title change require two forms of review and action:  1) by the Office of Academic Human Resources and 2) by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Academic Human Resources reviews the PAPE and proposed salary increase and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access reviews the search plan or proposed waiver of search based on promotion. Please note that promotion should normally occur at the time of reappointment (i.e., effective August 21). Any requests for mid-year promotions with salary increases must be justified under extraordinary circumstances involving a clear change in duties, a salary inequity, or a counter offer.


Statutory Requirements:

Section 36e of the State Universities Civil Service System Statutes provides that all University employees shall be covered by the State Universities Civil Service System except for the following persons:

  1. The members and officers of the Merit Board (State Universities Civil Service Merit Board) and the Board of Trustees, and the commissioners of the institutions and agencies covered hereunder;
  2. The presidents and vice presidents of each educational institution;
  3. Other principal administrative employees of each institution and agency as determined by the Merit Board;
  4. The teaching, research, and extension faculties of each institution and agency;
  5. Students employed under rules prescribed by the Merit Board, without examination or certification.

Principal administrative employees may only be exempt from the Civil Service System by obtaining an exemption for the position from the State Universities Civil Service System which has recently empowered state universities to use standard titles when possible. An academic principal administrative position is an academic professional position, that is, an academic position that carries a title other than those recognized in the University of Illinois Statutes. Those identified by the Statutes are:

  1. Teaching/research/clinical assistant (graduate students)
  2. Teaching/research/clinical associate (including postdoctoral research associates)
  3. Instructor
  4. Lecturer
  5. Assistant Professor
  6. Associate Professor
  7. Professor
  8. Any of the above titles which include the prefix visiting, adjunct, clinical, or research in titles 5, 6, and 7.

Criteria for Justifying Academic Professional Positions:

There are two basic categories of positions that may be justified as academic professional. These are:

  1. Positions that are clearly teaching support, research, or extension oriented and meet at least the professional exemption criteria listed on the PAPE form.
  2. Positions that are academic principal administrative and can be justified in accordance with the criteria listed on the Principal Administrative Position Exemption form and meet the criteria listed on the standard title category.

An administrative position which is occupied by a tenure/tenure-track faculty member will be classified as exempt from Civil Service by reasons of the faculty occupant and no PAPE is required. As long as the position is always filled by a tenure/tenure-track faculty member, no PAPE is required as the position is not defined as academic professional. An example of such a position may be a professor who is appointed as the Director of “undergraduate studies” on a zero percent basis. Under certain circumstances, other academic administrative positions held by a faculty member with an administrative increment only, may be classified as exempt from Civil Service as a faculty position. When the faculty member holding the position is nontenured, the position must be considered academic professional and established using the procedures outlined above.

If the position is believed to be an academic professional position, the PAPE form will be submitted under any one of the four criteria: A, B, C, or D. Whichever of the four criteria is chosen to justify exemption, the position description must clearly demonstrate that the conditions expressed in that criterion are met. If the choice is criterion C, for example, the discretion and independent judgment required for the position must be demonstrated by listing five to ten duties and responsibilities which point out the discretion and independent judgment involved in the position. Under criterion D, the duties and responsibilities must reflect the need for knowledge of an advanced type and for the exercise of discretion and independent judgment. Again, the Supplemental form used on the Urbana campus in the past has been eliminated from the approval process.

Further information can be found on the following pages: