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Human Resources

University Support Staff (USS) and Unclassified Professional Staff (UNC) Position - Differences

University Support Staff (USS) and Unclassified Professional Staff (UNC) positions at Kansas State University differ in many ways. Explore position differences below.


Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) Retirement

University support staff in KPERS-covered positions participate in KPERS. Participation in KPERS retirement is mandatory at date of hire into a KPERS covered position.

The employee contributes 6% of gross pay. K-State contributes, too, but their contribution rates often change year-to-year based on KPERS’ financial health. K-State’s contributions don’t go directly into employee accounts, they’re used to fund the System which then funds employee accounts. 

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Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Retirement

Faculty and Professional Staff who are benefits-eligible participate in the Kansas Board of Regents mandatory retirement plan. Retirement plan providers are Voya Financial, (formerly ING Financial Advisers) and TIAA. Each participant establishes a retirement account with the selected company. The company will then invest the participant’s funds as the participant directs.

Faculty and Professional Staff must participate in the mandatory retirement plan after one year of service in an eligible position. This one-year wait may be waived in select situations, please visit K-State’s Retirement Benefits page for more details.

The employee contributes 5.5% of salary in pre-tax funds and the University contributes 8.5% of employee’s salary to the employee’s selected provider.

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Performance Review Process

Formal Performance Review Process

All university support staffs (USS) are consistently evaluated throughout the university through the Performance Management Process. This process is used to identify performance expectations and provide feedback to the employee. Continuous and ongoing communication throughout the review process is considered imperative/essential between the supervisor and employee. The Performance Management process consists of four components: Performance Planning, Coaching and Feedback, Reviewing and Appraising Performance, and Recognizing and Rewarding Performance. 


Types of Review: 

  1. Probationary Review
  2. Annual Review
  3. Special Review

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Individualized Review Process per College/Department/Unit

Kansas State University follows individualized review process for each unit that is each unit is encouraged to have a system for annual evaluation of faculty and unclassified professionals.

For more information or questions about your units review process reach out/contact your supervisor/HR Liaison or other unit leadership.


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Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

Leave Without Pay up to one year

Any university support staff with permanent status or any university support staff in a regular position but without permanent status may be considered for leave without pay (LWOP).

University support staff with permanent status may be granted LWOP for a period not to exceed one year whereas any university support staff in a regular position but without permanent status is normally limited to no more than 60 days of LWOP.


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Leave Without Pay up to three years

All Employees are eligible for LWOP when on an approved FMLA leave. Only employees in budgeted positions and who are not on term appointments qualify to be considered for leave without pay for non-medical absences.

A leave without pay for up to three years may be granted by the University President when such leave is judged to be in the best interest of the University.

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Mandated Placement

Mandated Placement for unsuccessful completion of promotional, probationary appointments, layoff, and disabling conditions 

Reassignments are non-competitive and non-disciplinary placements directed by the Human Resources , Director of Employee Relations and Engagement (hereinafter "Director") in accordance with Kansas State University policy.

Reassignment of USS occur for the following reasons:

  1. USS who are promoted but do not successfully complete their probation
  2. An Administrative Review
  3. A layoff eliminating the position of a permanent USS employee
  4. On the job injury
  5. Disabling conditions

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Mandated Placement for disabling conditions

Unclassified employees are not affected by the University Layoff Policy or have a probation period, but they are subjected to conditions of employment as stated in the University Handbook. Persons holding regular or term unclassified professional appointments may be terminated without cause if notice is given according to the schedule below. This notice is called notice of non-reappointment.

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Some conditions of employment:

    1. Termination of Services: Section C160.1 – C162.5 of University Handbook
    2. Continued Employment for Administrative Appointees: Section C170.1 – C170.3 of University Handbook
    3. Disabling conditions

For more questions or information contact Employee Relations and Engagement team at hr@ksu.edu or 2-6277


Disciplinary and Corrective Action

Specific disciplinary procedures

Kansas State University is committed to providing a positive, supportive, and harmonious work environment where university support staff (USS) can perform to their best ability. Kansas State recognizes also that there are times when disciplinary action is necessary. First, it is important that performance and discipline problems be settled at the earliest stage possible through timely and appropriate verbal and written counseling by the employee's immediate supervisor. If, however, these departmental level actions do not correct the situation, the guidelines in this policy address formal disciplinary measures for USS employees who violate policies, fail to perform work satisfactorily or behave in a manner detrimental to the university.

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Best Practices for Corrective Action

Employee Relations & Engagement (ER & E) at Kansas State University provides resources and trainings for Performance Management which includes best practices for corrective action. Additionally, supervisors of UNC employees are provided with best practices for corrective active that can be found in PPM 4020. Departments are highly encouraged to contact ER & E for additional guidance with concerns related to professional conduct.

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Longevity awards, bonuses

Longevity awards, including bonuses after 10 years

Upon completion of 10 years of service, benefit eligible university support staff shall be eligible for longevity pay. The amount of each longevity bonus payment shall be computed by multiplying $50 by the number of years of state service, not to exceed $1250 for 25 years.

Longevity bonus payments shall be included in the employee's regular pay for the pay period in which their service date occurs. The amount of the bonus is displayed separately on the employees' pay advice.

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No Longevity awards, however other bonuses include: Faculty Award Payments, one-time awards for merits

Unclassified employees or faculty at Kansas State University are not rewarded any longevity awards, however, some type of awards and honors that they are eligible for are:

  • The Professorial Performance Award rewards strong performance at the highest rank with a base salary increase in addition to that provided for by the annual evaluation process. The Performance Award review is not a form of promotion review. The Performance Award does not create a "senior" professoriate. Furthermore, the Professorial Performance Award is neither a right accorded to every faculty member at the rank of Professor, nor granted simply because of a candidate's routinely meeting assigned duties with a record free of notable deficiencies.
  • Commerce Bank and W. T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards
  • Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head, etc

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Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest not required

University Support Staff (USS) are not required to file an annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure. For USS, conflict of interest policy is applicable only to Public Health Service Supported Investigators.

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Completes a Conflict of Interest

Faculty members and unclassified professionals may accept outside consulting assignments that support professional growth, as long as the assignments do not interfere with the effective discharge of university responsibilities. Faculty members and unclassified professionals who perform consulting services outside the university must obtain prior approval from their department/unit head, the dean or appropriate vice president, and provost. Such outside activities are to be reported in writing on the consulting request form for inclusion in personnel files. Normally, faculty members and unclassified professionals are allowed four working days per month on the average to participate in consulting activities. Faculty participating in regular instructional service to other educational institutions while still fulfilling contractual responsibilities to Kansas State University is not normally considered an appropriate consulting activity. See Kansas State University Policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Time Commitment, Appendix S. (University Handbook section - D40)

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Governing Body

University Support Staff (USS) Senate

The Senate is formed to serve as a body which articulates University Support Staff's interests, concerns, and recommendations to the Vice President for Administration and Finance on matters of policy, training, and educational opportunities; as well as representing the constituency of University-wide standing and ad-hoc committees, and for searches for key administrative positions directly affecting University Support Staff personnel.

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Professional Staff Association (PSA) included in Faculty Senate

To provide organization structure to senate duties, permanent committees have been created. The Professional Staff Affairs participates in the formulation of policies concerning employment, qualifications, performance evaluation and improvement, promotion, and retirements. Additionally, the PSA participates in matters affecting the welfare of unclassified professionals.

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Appointment Types

Permanent status after successful completion of probationary period

Initial employment in a university support staff position will generally be with probationary status. When the initial probationary period (normally 6 months) is completed with a performance review rating of “meets expectations” or higher, permanent status is attained. Permanent status implies certain rights and privileges: reinstatement, leave of absence for up to one year when in the best interest of the University, layoff rights, and appeals to an appeal hearing board. Continued employment is still dependent on meeting performance and conduct expectations.

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Term: Employees with term contracts (assignments) have a specific end date for assignments

Regular: Regular employees require a one-year notice of non-reappointment after two years of employment

Individuals may be appointed to regular appointments or to term appointments:

A regular appointment is typically made when the need and the funds for the position are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

  • A regular appointment is made to a budgeted position.
  • A term appointment is typically used when the need or funding for the position is finite and is for a specified term, usually not longer than one year. A term appointment carries no expectation of continued employment beyond the period stated in the contract. Term appointments can be made to either budgeted or non-budgeted positions.

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Dispute Resolution/Grievance Process

Employee initiated dispute resolution

All employees have the opportunity to initiate a dispute resolution process for assistance in resolving employment conflicts among employees as fairly as possible. 

USS employees have:

  • Peer Review Committee that hear appeals of performance reviews, proposed suspension with pay (decision-making leaves), and claims of unfair treatment not involving discrimination or harassment.
  • Disciplinary Action Appeals Board that hears appeals of proposed disciplinary actions regarding demotion, suspension without pay, or dismissal. 

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Unclassified employee-initiated grievance process

All employees have the opportunity to initiate a dispute resolution process for assistance in resolving employment conflicts among employees as fairly as possible. The Administrative Appeal and Grievance Policy and Hearing Procedures are part of the university’s dispute resolution system. This policy is to provide a process for addressing grievances of faculty and unclassified professionals.

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Position Similarities