New University Personnel Systems takes “huge” step
With its recent approval by UW System Regents, the University Personnel System (UPS) appears to be on schedule for its July 2013 debut. In an email to campuses Thursday, Dec. 13, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Workforce Diversity Al Crist said Regents endorsed three new policies: an overarching policy on UPS, one providing shared governance rights to University Staff (currently classified staff), and a third setting a unified code of ethics for all UW System employees.
UW-Parkside Program Assistant Karen Grabher has spent the last year on the UPS Task Force, helping to shape the system's human resources policies. Grabher said the magnitude of the task can't be overstated.
"This is huge! This is developing a personnel system for the whole University of Wisconsin System," she said. "Previously, we were under the state personnel system. Now we have to develop a personnel system for the whole University of Wisconsin System--one for UW-Madison [which will have a separate system], and the other for the rest of the comprehensives. So, it directly affects everybody but specifically it affects Classified Staff" by providing them shared governance rights, Grabher said.
"Classified Staff" becomes "University Staff" under UPS and shifts from Office of State Employee Relations control to the Board of Regents.
The University Personnel System must still be approved by the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JOCER). The committee, whose membership includes area representatives Peter Barca and Robin Vos, is expected to vote on the new system in early 2013. Barb Farrar of the UW-Parkside HR Office said based on the positive decision we have received from the Board of Regents, we are optimistic the next vote in late February or early March by JOCER will also be positive.
While Crist acknowledged "a great deal of very good work" has already been done, both he and Grabher admit the University Personnel System is far from finished. When completed, Grabher said UPS will give UW-Parkside and the other UW System campuses greater control over personnel matters.
"There are many aspects of this personnel system that...will come down to the campus level. We will have a say in how we form our personnel system, and how it functions here at Parkside. And I think that's one of the advantages, one of the flexibilities, that the university system has been looking for," Grabher said.
She urged her UW-Parkside colleagues to take an active role in the decision making on issues that will affect them personally and affect the entire university.With JOCER's approval, UPS is anticipated to go into effect July 1, 2013.