University Career Architecture Project (UCAP)

The University Career Architecture Project (UCAP) has been completed and went live January 27, 2020. Historical UCAP materials are below.

The University Career Architecture Project (UCAP) will revolutionize the way we think about professions and manage compensation at the UA. It is a two year initiative that will replace the current classified staff and appointed professional categories of employment with market-based job functions and families. Deliverables include:

  • A compensation philosophy and total rewards strategy that allow us to attract the talent necessary to deliver on the mission of the UA
  • Career models for the vast array of professions at the UA with level descriptors that make it possible to benchmark pay to the external market and manage like positions similarly across all locations
  • An annual lifecycle model for strategic compensation planning and management
  • Market-based salary ranges for all positions
  • Modernized policies and procedures to support the new system

Classified Job Descriptions

All Classified job descriptions can be found here.

Archived Handouts and Presentations

Resources for Managers

Recorded Webinars

Project Status Overview Handouts

Project Status Presentation Decks



University staff is an employment category created by the Arizona Board of Regents and defined in ABOR Policy 6-510. Employees in the University Staff employment category are employed at will. In other words, staff positions no longer need year-to-year appointments. University staff will now be employed without an express contract of employment for a defined period of time. This employment category does not reduce an employee's current compensation, benefits, training, or career development opportunities, regardless of their current employment category.

Employees can contact the Compensation team directly via the email address, Additionally, employees can direct their questions to their college/division human resources staff, governance members, and/or their organizational consultants.

The population of employees that are in-scope for University Staff include positions that traditionally have been considered appointed professionals and classified staff.  Employees who are out of scope include:  faculty, graduate assistants, post docs, student employees, Athletics Coaching and Operations staff, Career Track, and continuing status/eligible employees.

If you opted-out, beginning March 9th you will have the option to request to transition to University Staff. You will need to fill out a form, available here, and request a job change transaction be submitted by your college/division through UAccess Manager Self Service. At that time of the request you will transition to University Staff in your final position mapping. This option will be available at any time.

Classified staff who have opt out, will still have their compensation evaluated against the pay grade associated with their position mapping results.  Classified staff who opt-out, as well as University Staff, who are below minimum of their University Staff pay grade are expected to be brought to minimum by March 1, 2020.  Assuming a classified staff employee meets all other eligibility criteria for an annual increase program (benefits eligible, performance, time in job, compensation falls within range etc.) the employee will be eligible for future merit increases.  University leadership evaluates financial resources and defines annual increase program eligibility, which may vary year to year.

Job functions and families are consistent across the University and are determined by the primary function of the job.  For example, a job that has a primary duty of Communications & Marketing will be mapped to the Communications & Marketing job function, regardless of the department that job is located in.

Positions are mapped to the structure based on the job itself, which includes the impact, scope and responsibility of the job as well as typical minimum requirements.  This job mapping is not a reflection of individual employee performance or experience.

Classified employees went through the process of having their position mapped to a job within the career architecture.  All employees in scope of the project received notification of how their position was mapped to the architecture, as well as what that means from the perspective of becoming University Staff and the associated pay range. Classified staff employees had the option to transition to the University Staff employment category with their job mapped within the career architecture or opt out and maintain their classified staff status. All positions whether University Staff or Classified Staff will follow the exemption status and pay range of the career architecture mapped position. For any promotions or job changes, Classified Staff would be required to transition to the University Staff employment group.

The anchor points for the architecture are based on reviewing external market data/salary surveys to identify benchmarked jobs.  The starting point for creating the architecture is based on the number of levels identified in the market data.  We evaluate the need and risk of adding levels that are not market referenced, as we want to ensure a market referenced architecture.  If you are unable to map based on a missing level, please email

All employees, regardless of employment category, can apply for positions that have been competitively posted in Talent. For a Classified Staff employee to accept a promotion or other job change the employee will need to transition to the University Staff employment category.


Employees can maintain current retirement plan elections. All new hires into the University Staff employment group will have the option to elect either the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).

Classified employees who choose to transition to the University Staff employment group will have the option to switch from ASRS to ORP or remain in ASRS. Employees have a one-time opportunity to select a retirement plan during continuous employment, and this decision is irrevocable.

University Staff (including faculty, administrators, and academic/service professionals) must participate in either the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS), or the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP).

  • Non-pharmacy clinical assistants, postdoctoral research associates, and nonresident aliens do not participate in a retirement plan. If you are a retirement-eligible federal employee, contact your department regarding your retirement plan options.
  • If you do not elect the ORP, your default plan is the ASRS.
  • To compare the ASRS and ORP plans at a glance, view the Retirement Plans Comparison.

Begin by viewing this 20-minute recorded webinar about your new choices. The University provides more detailed information about ASRS and ORP on its Retirement Plans webpage. To see the plans side-by-side, view the plan comparison PDF.

Find even more information on the ASRS website or the ORP Guide.

The University of Arizona will host webinars and other opportunities to meet with representatives from Human Resources, Fidelity Investments, and TIAA in January and February 2020.

You may also directly schedule an appointment with a Fidelity or TIAA representative.

You may also speak with a representative from Human Resources by calling 520-621-3660 or emailing with questions. Although financial advice cannot be provided, the features of each plan can be discussed.

Classified Staff who transition to University Staff will have 30 days from the date of being converted to University Staff to make a one-time irrevocable retirement plan choice. This election will be made in UAccess Employee.

The change will take effect on the first day of the next pay period after you make your election.

If you do not take action to change your retirement plan during the election period, you will remain in ASRS for the duration of continuous employment. You will not have the option to make a retirement choice later.

Yes, the number of years you have contributed to ASRS while working for the Arizona University System will count towards the five-year requirement to vest under the ORP plan. When you are vested, the University’s matching contributions become yours and are deposited into your ORP account.

Your previous contributions will remain with ASRS while you are actively employed. You will not be able to access your ASRS contributions until you leave the University. At that time, you can withdraw your contributions (refund) or leave them with ASRS and collect a pension when you are eligible to retire. However, ASRS determines the pension amount based on how long contributions are made to ASRS, so the pension will be smaller based on fewer years of contributions.

If you began contributing to ASRS before July 2011, you are partially vested in the University’s contributions at five years of service and fully vested at 10 years. If you began contributing to ASRS after July 2011, you do not have access to the University's contributions.

You can create a log-in for myASRS to view your account information, including your estimated refund versus retirement benefit.

The formula to determine ASRS pension amounts considers only compensation earned during the time you were making contributions.

As a one-time lump sum merit increase is compensation, it would be subject to ASRS and ORP employee deductions and employer matches.

ASRS calculates retirement benefits by using the average monthly compensation, total years credited ASRS service and a multiplier that increases with an employee’s years of service.

For example: Average Monthly Salary (Years of Service*Multiplier) = Monthly Retirement Benefit

A lump sum merit increase would slightly increase an employee’s average monthly compensation.   For more details on the retirement calculations, visit the ASRS website

Pay and Leave

University Staff earn vacation time according to their work schedule. Employees on fiscal-year schedules earn 22 vacation days per year (6.77 hours/pay period), prorated by FTE. Employees on academic-year schedules earn vacation time only during the months they are working.

Unemployment benefits may be available to University Staff that lose their jobs through no fault of their own, for example, due to a loss of funding or reorganization, or because they lack the skills to perform the job. Eligibility for unemployment is determined by the Arizona - Department of Economic Security (D.E.S.). Employees may use their written notice of termination, when filing for unemployment benefits.  

However, University Staff that are terminated for misconduct may be disqualified (as determined by D.E.S.) from receiving benefits.

When an employee transitions from non-exempt to exempt, the salary is calculated by taking the hourly rate and multiplying it by 2080 hours. 2080 work hours is the standard calculation in the external market for converting an hourly rate to an annualized salary.

The reason you may see a decrease in your bi-weekly pay check is because previously as a non-exempt employee you were paid for the hours that are actually worked. As a salaried employee, your bi-weekly pay check is calculated according to an annualized salary divided by the pay periods over the fiscal year. Currently the university is using 26.2 pay periods for FY2020 to calculate bi-weekly pay.

Please see the example below:

Non-Exempt/Hourly Employee

Fiscal Work Hours

Bi-Weekly Amount

(based on 1.0 FTE/80 hrs)

Annualized Salary

(Hourly Rate * Work Hours)










Hourly Rate




Exempt/Salaried Employee

Fiscal Work Hours

Freq Annualization Factor

Bi-Weekly Amount

Annualized Salary













Annualized Salary



Work Hours/80 = Frequency Annualization Factor

For more information about how pay rates are calculated click here.

How to Guidelines

If you have an employee vacate an existing University Staff PCN and there have been no changes to the position, you can re-use that PCN. If you have a new position that you are adding to your department or the PCN was vacant before implementation and not mapped, a new PCN will need to be requested.

A PCN request should be submitted in UAccess through Request MSS Transaction by Create/Modify Position Request. A Position Description Form needs to be attached in order for Compensation to review.

A department may submit a Job Change transaction through MSS. The department would use Modify Job Attributes as the action code. If the increase is greater than 5% the increase will be routed to compensation for approval.

Beginning March 9th, all working titles changes can be submitted through MSS as a Job Change request with Position Life Cycle as the action code.

To request a new job or level be added to the career architecture, please contact the Compensation Team at  The department will fill out a position description for the requested position. The position description will be evaluated against existing positions, if a current position does not meet the needs of the position the compensation team will make a decision on adding a new position.

Talent is the University of Arizona applicant tracking system, click here to be transferred the recruitment website for Talent information and resources.

Incumbent Review

A promotion is a move to a job at a higher pay grade, career level, and/or scope of work. A requisition is required to promote an employee:

  • By more than one pay grade, unless the position is the next available title within the job family.
  • By more than one career level, unless the position is the next available title within the job family.
  • More than once in a rolling calendar year.
  • To a position outside of their assigned unit.
  • To a new job function.
  • Who was hired noncompetitively.

A requisition is not required if the requested promotion does not meet any of these criteria. In order to proceed without a requisition, the unit must submit an MSS exception request through UAccess. The Compensation Team in the Division of Human Resources will then conduct an incumbent review.

Supervisors will consult with their college/division when there is a significant change to a job’s duties and responsibilities. Typically, a significant change is defined as a 30% or more change in job duties or responsibilities, or as changes that would have an impact on how the job is mapped to the career architecture. If a position has changed, an updated position description must be completed to reflect changes. The college/division will submit the updated position documentation to Compensation to evaluate and determine the appropriate mapping within the career architecture.

Each MSS exception request must contain a copy of the position description and any other supporting documentation. Upon approval, the Compensation Team will attach the results letter to the MSS exception transaction. A unit cannot offer a promotion to an employee without an approved results letter.

Supervisors will be able to initiate an Incumbent Review for an employee.

An Incumbent Review is currently taking 30 days to process.

Compensation will send a results letter to the employee's supervisor, who will then administer the letter.

Once a department receives the results of an incumbent review, the department will need to create a Job Change transaction in MSS, the action code will be a position life cycle. The incumbent review results letter is required to be attached to the MSS transaction for Workforce Systems to process the transaction.