How Converting to University Staff Status Can Boost Your Career

University Staff Conversion


University staff conversion applies to administrative and professional faculty, classified staff, and executive and senior administrative staff who are considering converting to University staff.

This page highlights the University Staff HR Plan, compares University Staff with Classified Staff, explains how to make the conversion, and details relevant employment policies.

For additional information about University Staff conversion, please contact the UVA HR Solution Center at 434.243.3344 or by email at AskHR@virginia.edu.

Learn more on the University Staff Conversion Details page Explore FAQs on the University Staff Conversion FAQs page

Employee Types

At a time when the University of Virginia looks to further distinguish itself, employing strategic vision and bold leadership to transform the University for the 21st century, UVA is working to create an equally meaningful future for its staff through the University Staff Human Resources Plan. If your employee type is one of the following, you are eligible to consider converting to University Staff status:

  • Operational and Administrative (O&A)

    University Staff employees performing office, laboratory, student and library support; building construction and maintenance; equipment services; public safety; and other operational responsibilities. O&A Staff Employees are typically non-exempt employees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and therefore are eligible for overtime.

  • Managerial & Professional (M&P)

    UM&P Staff typically exercise significant professional knowledge, discretion and independent judgment gained through advanced experience or education and/or manage a subdivision or division of a major administrative or academic unit. This category includes coaches and assistant coaches on individually negotiated contracts. M&P Staff are typically exempt employees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and therefore not eligible for overtime.

  • Executive & Senior Administrative (E&SA)

    University staff employees on limited term appointments having significant administrative responsibilities and duties and exercising considerable independent discretion, and having the ability to commit the University to a long-term course of action. This category includes:

    • University Executive officers including Vice Presidents and the Director of Athletics, but excluding academic administrators (whose primary responsibility is administrative but who oversee an academic or academic-support unit of the institution) such as the Provost, Deans, University Librarian, and VP Research;
    • Members of the President’s professional staff (e.g. Chief of Staff, Chief Audit Executive; Director, Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights; etc.); and
    • Senior administrative officers with a direct reporting line to any of the above-named executives, academic administrators or Presidential professional staff, for example, Associate or Assistant Vice Presidents, Associate or Assistant Deans with administrative responsibilities, Vice Provosts with administrative responsibilities, Executive Directors, Directors, or other key senior staff.

    Those who do not elect to become University Staff remain either:

    • Classified exempt or non-exempt employees, OR
    • A&P Faculty employees
  • Term Appointments for Executive & Senior Administrative University Staff

    A&P Faculty who become University Executive & Senior Administrative (E&SA) Staff continue to hold limited term appointments. Current employees who become E&SA Staff receive new employment letters reflecting their changed status as University Staff. A&P Faculty who become University Managerial & Professional (M&P) Staff (except those with individually negotiated employment contracts) replace their limited term appointments with the standard terms and conditions of University Staff. For those individuals holding restricted positions (positions with an end date in the Integrated System), the designated end date will continue to apply. A&P Faculty with an Expectation of Continued Employment (ECE) who become University E&SA or M&P Staff retain their ECE.

Highlights of the University Staff HR Plan

The Plan offers state-of-the-art human resources policies and programs for a vibrant, engaged workforce. At the same time, the plan preserves those policies and core values that have made us a stable employer. Key components of the plan are enhanced career development, innovative performance management, and competitive, market-based compensation.

Working together, these elements offer an enriched working experience that encourages continuous learning and motivates employees toward excellence. The plan confirms the University as a wonderful place to work if you want more than just “a job”: it’s a place to build a career, a place to make a difference.

Just as the undergraduates at UVA will look back at their time here as one of learning, growth, change, and exploration, so should our staff. When one reflects on a career at the University, it will stand out, as UVA does, for its uncommon excellence.

Highlights of the University Staff HR Plan are listed below.

  • Career Development

    Career development is the foundation of the University Staff Plan reflecting the University’s commitment to career enrichment, employee advancement, and life-long learning. This commitment is demonstrated in the integration of career development with performance planning and promotion and pay opportunities. Career development is organized around a series of career paths, providing employees resources and support for career growth and providing managers greater flexibility to reward employee competence and to meet ever-changing demands.

    • Career paths outline different options for career progression at the University
    • Promotions through career paths are available only to University Staff
    Learn more about Career Development
  • Performance Management

    The guiding principle behind the system is managing performance for success. Employees and supervisors work together to set clear goals and evaluate performance and competency development. Supervisors help employees make the connection between individual performance goals, departmental objectives, and University-wide strategies. It is designed to provide employees and supervisors with opportunities for more meaningful performance discussions, supportive learning and development plans, and rewards for performance and accomplishments with compensation and promotions.

    • New rating scale and tools provide better ways to recognize outstanding performance
    Learn more about Performance Planning and Evaluation
  • Compensation

    The overarching compensation philosophy emphasizes the University’s investment in employees and recognizes that employee talent is our greatest asset. The compensation policy supports the University’s goal of attracting, developing, and retaining qualified employees through the use of market-relevant salary ranges and pay practices to reward performance and employee development. It allows employees to influence their pay based on performance and competency and offers supervisors a variety of flexible pay practices to reward employees.

    • Compensation is based on market-relevant salary ranges
    • Easier to reward employees than in the Classified system
    • University Staff are eligible for increases based on performance
    • University Staff who gain new skills and use them on the job can receive bonuses, raises, and promotions

    There are no caps on increases when University Staff are promoted or change jobs.

    Learn more about Compensation
  • Benefits and Leave

    • University Staff Leave combines three types of leave (annual, sick, and family/personal) into one flexible leave type to use as you wish
    • Features faster accruals than the state’s
    • All leave is awarded up front at the beginning of the leave year
    • Offers a yearly cash-out (at 50%) for unused leave over the carry-forward limit
    • Exempt staff who switch are eligible to change retirement to the ORP
    • Exempt staff have greater flexibility when tracking leave (four hours or more instead of 15-minute increments)
    • University Staff earning less than $42,000 get a Supplemental Benefit Credit of $450 to offset their payroll deductions
    • Part-timers get a subsidy toward health care costs
    Learn more about Benefits and Leave

How Does Classified Staff and University Staff Compare?

The Plan offers state-of-the-art human resources policies and programs for a vibrant, engaged workforce. At the same time, the plan preserves those policies and core values that have made us a stable employer, like the following:

  • Employees in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) keep the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) and its short-term disability benefit
  • Standards of Conduct and the right to pursue grievance procedures remain the same for University Staff as for Classified
  • Other leave types remain the same, as do holidays awarded by the president of the University
  • Your full term of both Classified and University Staff service will be considered for leave accrual, probationary periods, transfers to other state agencies, layoffs, seniority, and service awards

Here are side-by-side comparisons of compensation, performance management, career development, and benefits for administrative and professional faculty, classified staff, university staff, and executive and senior administrative staff.

How Do I Convert to University Staff Status?

Those who choose to convert to University Staff status will receive a prorated amount of University Staff Leave for the remainder of the leave year, based on years of service, and receive their full University Staff Leave allotment at the beginning of the next leave year.

University Staff employees who apply for and accept different University Staff positions remain University Staff employees. Classified Staff and A&P Faculty who apply for and accept different University Staff positions may choose to remain in their current status or elect to become University Staff, unless a Classified Staff employee applies and is selected for an Executive & Senior Administrative position, in which case they must become University Staff in order to abide by contractual terms.

Current employees who elect to move to University Staff retain their previous working title.

Request University Staff Conversion

Employment Policies

  • Grievance Procedure

    All new employees hired as M&P and O&A, and Classified staff electing to become University Staff in M&P or O&A University Staff positions follow the State’s Grievance Procedure. All employees hired as E&SA and those A&P faculty electing to become University Staff have access to the University’s grievance procedure.

    Details can be found in the University’s ”Resolving Grievances for University Staff Employees” Employment Policy.

    An Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Process is available to resolve employment-related problems and complaints informally and voluntarily without fear of retaliation. Any University employee may request ADR.

  • Standards of Conduct

    The Standards of Conduct policy for University Staff employees adopts the State’s DHRM Policy 1.60 – Standards of Conduct. Examples of Offenses can be found in Attachment A.

    Executive & Senior Administrative Staff are governed by the terms of their appointments.

  • Layoff Policies

    The layoff policy for University Staff employees adopts the State’s DHRM Policy 1.30 - Layoff, except:

    • The notice period has been increased to give University Staff, except for Executive & Senior Administrative Staff, a 60-day notice of layoff, rather than the current State policy of 14-day notice.
    • Executive & Senior Administrative Staff are governed by the terms of their appointments.
  • Severance Policies

    The severance policy for University Staff employees adopts the State’s DHRM Policy 1.57 – Severance Benefits.

    • Executive & Senior Administrative Staff are governed by the terms of their appointments.
    • There is also a policy in place regarding temporary workforce reductions for budgetary reasons.
  • Telecommuting

    The Telecommuting Policy applies to both University and Classified Staff.

    It requires that a formal work plan be developed by the employee and supervisor.

  • Alternative Work Schedules

    The Alternative Work Schedules Policy applies to both Classified and University Staff.

    It requires that a formal work plan be developed by the employee and supervisor.

  • Probationary Period

    The University Staff probation policy continues to require a twelve (12) month probationary period for newly hired University Staff or previous employees re-hired after a break in service. This period may be extended an additional six (6) months under exceptional circumstances.

    Current A&P Faculty who elect Managerial & Professional Staff status and have completed one year of service are not required to serve a probationary period. Those who have served less than one year will serve the remainder of the 12 months as probationary employees.

    • Executive & Senior Administrative Staff do not have probationary periods and are governed by the terms of their appointments.
    • Extensions and terminations require UHR review.
  • External Consulting

    The new University Staff policy for external consulting allows external consulting and encourages professional service. This policy is not applicable to Operational & Administrative Staff.

    If you have questions, call the HR Solution Center at 434.982.0123 or email AskHR@virginia.edu.