Hiring Procedures for Supportive Professional Staff

Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 10-25-1994
Last Review Date 05-05-2011
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics
Human Resources / Employment

All employees in Illinois's public universities are members of the State Universities Civil Service System unless they occupy positions explicitly exempted from that system by statute. The presidents and vice-presidents are exempt under Section 36e(2) of the Civil Service Statute. A broad range of administrative support positions are exempt under Section 36e(3). Teaching, research and extension faculty (a category which includes some academic support staff) are exempt under Section 36e(4). Student employees are exempt under Section 36e(5). At Northern Illinois University, the positions held by academic and administrative support staff are considered to be "Principal Administrative Positions," and decisions related to their exempt status are made on the basis of information provided on the "Principal Administrative Position Exemption Request Form" (see copy following/additional copies available from Human Resource Services). Individuals hired into Principal Administrative Positions are considered to be members of the Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) unless they simultaneously hold the rank of assistant, associate or full professor in an academic department and/or college or in the University Libraries.

The exemption of Principal Administrative Positions from the Civil Service System is based on the assumption that campuses need considerable flexibility to acquire managerial and professional talent of a highly specialized nature. Principal Administrative Positions generally involve high levels of independent administrative discretion and judgment and/or the application of advanced specialized knowledge. Such positions are defined by a range of prerequisite qualifications, candidate characteristics, and/or applied expertise which would be difficult to assess adequately through a standardized classification system.

All Principal Administrative Positions currently approved for use at NIU are included in the Index of Authorized Titles for Academic and Supportive Professional Staff. This document is updated on a regular basis and is available from Human Resource Services. Titles are approved for a specific unit or program; use of the same title in a different area of the university requires a new approval.

  1. Hiring staff in previously authorized positions

    Units seeking to refill an existing SPS position should first review the existing position description to determine the continuing applicability of the title, reporting relationship, qualifications, and duties. Changes in any of these factors should be discussed with the Classification Supervisor in Human Resource Services.

    Assuming the position description is accurate or that changes are minor, a "Position Request Form" (PRF) Form should be completed and forwarded through the division's administrative levels to the vice president or division head. All information requested on the form should be provided, including salary figures and whether the appointment is full-time or part-time, regular or temporary. The PRF form should be accompanied by any additional information required in the division to justify refilling a vacant position.

    Following approval by the vice president or division head, the PRF should be forwarded (along with ad copy) to Human Resource Services (Contracts, Records, and Reports) for review and verification. Following approval by the Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resource Services, the PRF form will be returned to the department, and a copy of the form (along with ad copy) will be forwarded to the Affirmative Action Office. The Affirmative Action Office will review the ad copy and notify the department/unit of approval or recommended changes. Once the department/unit has received approval of the ad copy, it may proceed with a search. The Affirmative Action recruitment records, Part I and II, must be approved by the appropriate Dean or Vice President prior to being forwarded to the Affirmative Action Office for approval.

  2. Establishing new positions

    Units seeking authorization to exempt a proposed position from the Civil Service System should forward the completed Principal Administrative Position Exemption Request Form through the appropriate administrative levels to the Director of Human Resource Services (the designated employer representative), who will obtain approval from the President's Office. Following campus approval, position exemption requests which require the approval of the Civil Service Merit Board are forwarded to the Merit Board. A response from the Merit Board can be expected to take approximately one month. No advertising, search or selection activities should take place before the Merit Board authorizes the exemption. Once an exemption has been authorized, a Request for Permission to Employ Form should be completed as in Section I above. 

State Personnel Code, 1995, as amended 
Approved by President's Office, October 25, 1994 
Approved by Executive Cabinet, October 31, 1994 
Editorial modifications, June 5, 1997; July 13, 2010; May 5, 2011 


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