Senior Administrative and Academic Officer (SAAO) Status
In January, 1998, the Board of Governors of the UNC-General Administration set a policy regarding a specific category of exempt employee, the “Senior Academic and Administrative Officer.” Academic and administrative officials exempt from the State Personnel Act (EPA) are identified by express statutory reference (“president,” “vice presidents,” “chancellors,” and “vice chancellors”) and by action of the Board of Governors pursuant to generic statutory reference (presidential “professional staff members” and “senior academic and administrative officers” of the constituent institutions).
The Board of Governors has further defined “senior academic and administrative officers” to include (1) vice chancellors, provosts, deans, and directors of major educational and public service activities (July 7, 1990); (2) associate and assistant vice chancellors and associate and assistant deans (October 12, 1990); and (3) “specific positions as may be designated by the President, subject to confirmation by the Board (October 12, 1990).
The “other officers of the University having significant administrative responsibilities and duties” shall include:
Category A: Members of the chancellor’s professional staff (e.g., assistant to the chancellor, legal staff, secretary of the university).
Category B: Those responsible for the administrative direction of separately designated divisions or departments of institutional activity commonly associated with institutions of higher education (e.g., Director of Administrative Computing, Director of Alumni Affairs, Director of Human Resources, Director of Development, Controller/Comptroller, etc.). The specific positions to be included in this category will be established by the Board of Governors upon the recommendation of the President.
Category C: Those positions whose primary responsibility is to attract external funds and/or to market the university.
Category D: Other officers holding positions characterized by:
- active, continuing involvement in formulating, interpreting, and implementing institutional policy as it relates to the respective areas of responsibility; and
- the exercise of substantial independence of administrative authority and discretion in areas such as program planning and design and allocation of resources.
In most cases, persons occupying such positions will function as the director of a specific division or department of institutional activity, reporting at the level of a vice chancellor or dean. However, where circumstances warrant (e.g., in the case of a large and complex department or division), persons functioning as an associate or assistant director may be found to have “significant administrative responsibilities and duties,” as defined by the characteristics listed above. In such cases, the position must have substantial responsibility for assisting the primary officer (e.g., director) in formulating, interpreting, and implementing policy within the jurisdiction of the primary officer and must function in a confidential and direct support relationship to the primary officer or have direct responsibility for a specific sphere of operations within the unit.
A University administrative position may be designated as a senior academic and administrative officer, and thereby be exempt from the State Personnel Act, only by action of the President and the Board of Governors. To qualify, the position must bear one of the approved titles [Category A above], (e.g., dean, associate or assistant vice chancellor, associate or assistant dean, assistant to the chancellor), director of a major division or department [Category B above], have significant responsibilities for fund raising and/or marketing of the institution [Category C above], or be recommended on the basis of an evaluation of job content [Category D above].
Requesting SAAO Status
Requests for Assistant/Associate Vice Chancellor or Assistant/Associate Dean Titles
Colleges or administrative units requesting assistant or associate vice chancellor positions or assistant or associate dean positions must submit their requests directly to the Chancellor. Requests typically include a brief written justification describing where the position will fit into the administrative structure, the need for the position, and an organizational chart. (Per UNC-OP delegation, January 22, 2002)
Requests for all other SAAO, Tier II Titles
Departments requesting to have current SPA or EPA positions considered for SAAO, Tier II status, should submit the following information to Human Resources:
- A detailed position description including job duties (essential and marginal) and qualifications (minimum master's degree).
- An organizational chart that includes position numbers, position titles, and position designations (EPA, SPA, SAAO).
- EPA Designation Form: (PDF - Word)
- A written justification for the requested SAAO designation that includes specific reference to relevant elements in the SAAO Definition.