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Preamble: The activities of faculty and academic staff are not organized in terms of a specific number of hours and days in specified locations. Rather, the time devoted to professional activities may vary from week to week or month to month during the course of an academic year. Frequently, faculty and academic staff engage in activity related to university responsibilities outside the academic year. The university activities of faculty and academic staff are subject to institutional policy on teaching loads, advising, etc.; the primary responsibility for monitoring and assuring equity is placed at the departmental and unit level where judgments on retention, promotion, and salary levels are initiated. This pattern of individual activity best sustains the special character and vitality of an academic community.

The policies enunciated herein have been designed to preserve the essential character of the academic community while setting minimum service expectations of faculty and academic staff for the academic year. After the institution has determined its calendar and designated periods for instruction, registration, advising, examination, and other duties assigned by departments and units, and official state holidays have been noted, the time remaining is used by faculty and academic staff for scholarly pursuits and for individual, self-directed activities.

Contract Year Definition

Unless otherwise specified in individual letters of appointment, the contract year for members of the faculty and academic staff who are employed on an academic year basis (two semesters) covers a period of 39 continuous weeks ordinarily beginning no earlier than one week before the first day of the scheduled registration for the fall term and ending no later than one week after the dated of spring commencement when such commencement follows the last day of scheduled instruction. On those days when the University is officially in session even though classes, examinations, or registrations are not being conducted (e.g., Fall Recess, Thanksgiving Recess, Semester (Christmas) Recess, Spring Recess, and Non-Class Days), faculty and academic staff with academic year appointments are expected to pursue individual, self-directed activities. The dates of such activities may, however, vary from week to week, month to month, and term to term during the course of an academic year. In all cases, such self-directed activities must be scheduled to meet departmental or unit needs and requirements.

(Reference: Academic Planning Statement No. 4, UW System Policy on Academic Year Definition and Assorted Derivatives, Approved by Board of Regents, [Rev. 5/11/84])