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Title: Classification Policy
Effective Date: July 1, 2010
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Updated: March 1, 2017
Employee Type: All Employees

I. Scope

This policy applies to employees of William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (hereafter the “university”) except for:

  • Instructional and research faculty as defined and governed by the Faculty Handbook;
  • Classified staff who were employed by the university as of July 1, 2006 and have elected not to participate in the University Human Resources System (“University System”); and
  • Student employees.
II. Purpose   

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and responsibilities for the classification of Executive, Administrative Faculty, Professional and Operational positions (“University Staff”), and Hourly positions.    

The Classification Policy together with the university’s Compensation Policy are essential components of the University’s HR System created under the authority of the Virginia Higher Education Restructuring Act of 2006 that is designed to:

  1. Respect every employee’s contribution;
  2. Recognize individual performance;
  3. Promote individual career growth and development;
  4. Base salary on market ranges;
  5. Provide a flexible and easy to understand and administer human resources system; and
  6. Attract, motivate, retain and develop University Staff.
III. Policy

The terms and conditions of employment are dependent on the category of university classification. The university has different personnel policies and procedures for each category of employee. 

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for assigning the category and pay range for University Staff and Hourly positions.  The classification process is based on the job description developed for each position, the Fair Labor Standards Act exemption designation, and the application of consistent and objective criteria.


They define the level and type of responsibility. 

Executive Employees

This category comprises the President, Provost, and other senior officers of the university as may be included by the President from time to time, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Deans of the various schools, and Dean of the university libraries.  Executives are the senior-level administrators charged with primary responsibility for executive management of the university: establishing, together with the Board of Visitors, its strategic direction. Executive level appointments require approval of the Board of Visitors.

Administrative Faculty

This category consists of full-time faculty serving primarily in an administrative capacity to the university. Administrative Faculty are directly responsible for setting strategic direction and establishing goals within a specific functional area using advanced knowledge, skills and professional expertise. Administrative Faculty appointments are made by the respective Dean and approved by the Provost.  Administrative Faculty serve in their respective positions at the pleasure of Executive management. As such, these positions are at-will. When such an individual is performing duties that fall within his or her administrative responsibilities as an administrative faculty member, the policies and procedures of the University System apply. Certain Administrative Faculty may also have appointments as instructional or research faculty.  These individuals are governed by the Faculty Handbook when carrying out their instructional or research responsibilities. However, the policies and procedures of the University System apply when such an individual is performing duties that fall within his or her administrative responsibilities as a Professional employee. If or when an Administrative Faculty member returns to the faculty, the Faculty Handbook applies. Position title – e.g., assistant dean – does not necessarily convey an Administrative Faculty designation.


This category consists of full and part-time administrative, technical, academic, clinical, research and professional faculty positions.  Professionals are considered “faculty” for purposes of the Management Agreement between the university and the Commonwealth effective July 1, 2006, but are not governed by the Faculty Handbook, unless and to the extent they have a separate instructional or research faculty designation. The policies and procedures of the University System for Professional employees apply to this category of employees.  Professionals are typically exempt employees under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  As such, Professional employees are not subject to the FLSA overtime requirements.  

The primary responsibilities of Professionals are implementing, managing and/or establishing operational plans, processes, and the strategic direction of their respective department, units or areas. This category also includes employees in recognized professional areas requiring advanced formal study and/or specialized experience. In addition, Professionals may include professional faculty who are individuals with research, clinical or academic responsibilities who possess an advanced, often terminal, degree in their professional field and are hired as a consequence of a national, or certainly a regional, search.  Professional faculty are individuals in positions with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Position is directly engaged in support of instruction, research, curricular design, or evaluation of academic programs such that the employee substantively serves to enhance the practice and quality of teaching and learning;
  • A preponderance of the job responsibilities involves direct interaction with students or faculty in support of research or clinical services or the training and oversight of students in laboratories, collections and archives, and studios; and
  • There are significant expectations for research activity including participation in peer-reviewed publications, juried exhibitions or performances, or professional presentations. 

The Professional designation is not an academic rank.  It does not relate the position to an academic department or school of instruction; it has no bearing on salary or privileges.

Certain Professionals may also have appointments as instructional or research faculty.  These individuals are governed by the Faculty Handbook when carrying out their instructional or research responsibilities. However, the policies and procedures of the University System apply when such an individual is performing duties that fall within his or her administrative responsibilities as a Professional employee.

Designation of an employee as Professional will be made on recommendation to the Provost.  The Provost will have final approval of all such designations.


Operational employees are University Staff who perform office, laboratory, administrative, student and library support, building construction and maintenance, equipment services, public safety and other operational roles.  Operational Staff are typically non-exempt employees under the provisions of the FLSA.  As such, Operational positions are subject to the FLSA overtime requirements. All Operational positions are classified to a state role code.  A state role code is a career group that identifies specific occupations common in the labor market (e.g., administration and office support, building trades or law enforcement).


Hourly employees are paid on a per-hour basis for actual hours worked.  An Hourly employee may not work more than 29 hours per week on average over a twelve-month period beginning on May 1 and ending on April 30 of each year.  Hourly employees are hired into roles that provide support to the operations of the university and are typically positions where the hours are expected to vary from week to week.

Pay Range

University Staff and Hourly positions are assigned a pay range based on their classification category, job duties, comparable positions and/or the labor market rate.  The salary structure for the university currently consists of multiple pay ranges or U-levels. Each U-level includes an annual minimum salary, midpoint and maximum.  See University Compensation Policy. 

IV. Changes in Classification

Generally, positions do not change job categories. However, positions may be reclassified for significant changes in duties, responsibilities, and competencies.  Pay range may be changed as part of the classification review process. If the position is reclassified, the Compensation Policy will guide pay decisions about moving the position to a higher or lower pay range.  A supervisor seeking to reclassify a position in his or her area must submit to Human Resources an updated job description, a detailed summary of the changes in the position, an organizational chart with pay ranges showing how the recommended change aligns with others in the department or unit, and any available relevant market or benchmark data to support their request.

V. Authority, Implementation & Amendment

This policy is approved by the President effective July 2010, in accordance with the Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act, Chapter 4.10, Title 23 of the Code of Virginia and the Management Agreement effective July 1, 2006. 

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for the administration and implementation of this policy.

The President may revise or eliminate this policy at any time. This Policy was amended by the President effective December 1, 2011, and March 1, 2017.  The 2017 amendments revised the policy to (1) revise the executive category, (2) add the employment categories of hourly and administrative faculty employees, and (3) revise the criteria for employee classifications, including eliminating the concept of contribution level and clarifying that Professional employees are generally employees exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA and Operational employees are generally non-exempt employees subject to the FLSA overtime requirements. 

VI. Related Polices, Procedures & Other Documents