Academic Professional Appeal FAQs

July 09, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

The first phase of the appeal process, the HR Review, is due on Tuesday, July 13th. Here is their form to submit your appeal. You can review the full appeal process here. Need more help? Email Courtney Bailey, VP of Membership and Organizing if you have any questions!

Here is a listing of some helpful FAQs about the appeals process:


  • Your salary will not decrease even if the placement of the position is in a job grouping or level with a lower pay range. 
  • We do not yet know what the salary ranges will be. The placement agreement included setting the salary ranges after the initial placement. These are currently being bargained. 

Is it worth the effort to appeal?

  • Yes! The more appeals we have, the more we hope admin will realize that Academic Professionals are undervalued.
  • We won’t know if it’s possible to get your position moved up until we try
  • You can use work time for these appeals!

How do you make a compelling appeal? 

  • Documentation is extremely important - if you have any documentation that supports the work you do, attach it to the re-assessment, you’ll also be able to use this documentation during the other levels of appeal. This could include past evaluations of your work from your supervisor, standards from professional organizations related to your position, CAS standards, or criteria for certifications you are required to have, etc. The more information you can provide, the better.
  • Look at the level in which you think your job falls. For each section of that level, write out specific examples of your job that fall into that category. 
  • Have consistency with other colleagues if you have similar positions, so you are making the case over and over again.
  • Focus on the duties, not the person. While we recognize that many employees have more years of experience and education than their position requires, HR has consistently said that they are not looking at individuals within the position when making these decisions.
  • Remember, the people doing the placement know nothing about your position so when choosing what to include, more is better.
  • Get your supervisor to submit a letter of support.

Is it possible to redo the position description at this time? 

  • Position descriptions were updated in fall/winter, but if something is missing or inaccurate you should include information in your appeal that discusses this.
  • If you believe there are higher level duties that were not accurately placed on your position description, then state what that duty is, state what the debate was with your supervisor, indicate why the supervisor did not want to include it, and then articulate why it is critical to your role and placement.
  • Your supervisor should update your position description anytime there is a significant, continued change in your job duties.

Can managers submit letters of support? 

  • YES they will accept letters of support from supervisors and managers - they cannot reject input from supervisors.

Are there any examples of IC3 or IC4 positions approved? 

  • We have requested these from HR, however they do not have any obligation to share them with us, and, if they do, we don’t know how long it will take to get them. 
  • If you were placed in an IC3 or IC4 and are willing to share your position description with others as an example, please send to

How many people are at what levels? 

  • IC/TAS 1= 45
  • IC/TAS 2 = 223
  • IC 3 = 56 (no one was placed at TAS 3, the highest TAS level)
  • IC 4 = 10
  • IC 5 = 2
  • IC 6 = 19 
  • 75% of all APs were placed at level 1 or 2.
  • Keep in mind, we went from an old system to a brand new system and the University told us many times that the levels we previously had are not necessarily equivalent to the new levels.
  • If you were previously a level I in your job family and are now placed at an IC2, it is not a promotion, these are entirely new classifications.  

Is there an AP ceiling? 

  • No - there are APs placed at all levels, the highest level was reserved for specialized degrees including lawyers from Student Legal Services, Psychologists, Social Workers, Dentists and Doctors from SHAC. 
  • Highest level that did not require a licensure was IC5. 

Can people move salary levels within a level or move up a level? 

  • The AP advancement language we won in this contract moves salary up within their IC/TAS level based upon their years of experience. It won't compensate people for previous time, but it introduces a system of regular raises based upon satisfactory evaluations every 4 years starting in July 2022.
  • You can potentially move between IC/TAS levels. The contract includes language that encourages APs and supervisors to review their position description during their evaluation process. If your position changes prior to the evaluation either you or your supervisor can request a review of your placement.
  • The IC system is not a step system, being good at your job or having done work for a long time unfortunately does not indicate you will move to a different IC level. The IC and TAS level are for different types of work. If you have new responsibilities or expectations you should consider asking to re-evaluate the IC level of your job.

Who made these placement decisions? 

  • Two people within HR make these decisions. These are the same people who demoted departmental research administrators a few years ago, those employees appealed, won, and were placed back into the level they were previously at.

Form for Appeal 

  • The form can be found Here.
  • The form has both a text box for you to fill in whatever you’d like about your appeal and also a place to upload files.

At what point is this a GDI/Equity claim? 

  • Any employee who feels they were discriminated against has the right to submit a GDI claim.
  • AAUP is still looking into the possible option of filing, or supporting members in filing a GDI claim based on the initial placements. We don’t have access to demographic information for employees, which makes this more difficult. If you have concerns please let us know.

Can you request to see what position description they used? 

  • YES! Ask HR to see what position description they used when they placed you → Email your HR partner or
  • If the position description you receive is not the updated one, please forward the email to Courtney Bailey, We may be able to take further action, if this is the case.

What happens if we use work time to work on the appeal and get push back from supervisors? 

  • Per our contract, you are allowed to use work time for the appeals. 
  • If you receive pushback, contact Aaron Rousell - VP for Academic Freedom and Grievances ( or Phil (

What happens after the final appeal level?

  • The third level of appeal is the final decision.
  • The final decision is not grievable, but failure by administration to follow the appeal process is.
  • If you think there was a violation of the process, please contact Phil or Aaron (emails listed above).

How many documents can I upload into the appeal form?

  • 5, though it is unknown what the file size limits are.

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