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SBCTC Policy Manual
Chapter 2: Faculty and Staff Personnel

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This chapter contains policies related to human resource administration in the state’s two-year college system. State Board authority is limited in this area with the majority of policy and rules and regulations governing faculty and staff resting in other agencies of state government. Links are provided in the respective policy statements to RCWs, WACs, and procedures and guidelines that are relative to that particular policy.

Employees exempt from the provisions of the civil service law who are employed by college districts shall be appointed on the basis of criteria developed by the district consistent with standards established by the State Board (see RCW 28B.50.090).

2.10.10 District personnel selection practices

Each district is required to adopt and publish a statement of personnel selection practices and standards (see WAC 131-16-070).

2.10.20 Qualification of college personnel

Selection of employees for other than the classified service shall be based upon the general standards established by the State Board (see WAC 131-16-080 and WAC 131-16-091).

2.10.30 Certification of professional-technical personnel

Certification of professional-technical personnel will be in accordance with procedures outlined in WAC 131-16-092, WAC 131-16-093, and WAC 131-16-094.

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 04-03-04 amending WAC 131-16-092, 131-16-093, and 131-16-094 2.10.30 added outlining procedures for certification of professional-technical personnel. 03/10/2005 
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

The State Board is authorized to:

  1. Adopt rules defining the permissible elements of compensation that district boards may approve for college presidents (see RCW 28B.50.140 (3); WAC 131-16-500).
  2. Determine qualifications and credentials of employees exempt from the provisions of the civil service law (see RCW 28B.50.090 (7) (a); WAC 131-16-080; WAC 131-16-091, SBCTC Policy Manual, Chapter 2 Appendix A: Classification of Employees).
  3. Ensure that compensation and conditions of employment for all employees are governed by the appropriate administrative boards/agencies (see SBCTC Policy Manual, Chapter 2 Appendix A: Classification of Employees):
    1. Civil service classified (see RCW 41.06; WAC 357)
    2. Technical college classified (see RCW 41.56)
    3. Faculty (see “Academic Employee”RCW 28B.52,RCW 28B.50.489; “Faculty Appointment” RCW 28B.50; “Special Faculty Appointment” RCW 28B.50.851, RCW 28B.50.870, WAC 131-16-400
    4. Exempt (see RCW 28B.50.851, RCW 28B.50.140, WAC 131-16-500)
  4. Designate “special funds” for determining eligibility for tenurable faculty positions (see RCW 28B.50.851 (2) (b); WAC 131-16-400, SBCTC Policy Manual, Chapter 2 Appendix A: Classification of Employees).

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

Provisions for reciprocity with the K-12 system will be in accordance with provisions outlined in WAC 131-16-095.

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
*SBCTC Resolution 04-03-04 amending WAC 131-16-095
* Please note that there is a typo in the original documents first page: 04-03-03 should actually be 04-03-04.
2.30.00 added to address reciprocity of professional-technical education certificates. 03/10/2005
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

For description/authorization of employee benefits and other conditions of employment see the following sections of SBCTC Policy Manual, Chapter 2 Appendix B: Employee Benefits:

  1. Retirement Programs
  2. Insurance Programs
  3. Annual (Vacation) Leave
  4. Leaves of Absence
  5. Compensation for Unused Leave
  6. Holidays
  7. Tenure
  8. Collective Bargaining

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

The general and executive branch sections of the Ethics in Government Act cover community and technical colleges. Each community and technical college is required to:

  1. Develop an ethics policy consistent with RCW 42.52 and rules adopted by the Executive Ethics Board (see Executive Ethics Boards’ Rules).
  2. Approve all honoraria received by its employees.

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges:

  1. Is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to applicants and employees without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, limited English speaking ability, or disability (see RCW 41.06.150; RCW 49.74).
  2. Recognizes its continuing responsibility to set an example of affirmative action by including women, people of color, people with disabilities, Vietnam era and disabled veterans at all levels within the agency workforce.
  3. Considers equal opportunity, affirmative action, and non-discrimination to be fundamental to the mission, goals, and objectives of the agency and hereby commits the necessary staff time and resources to implement effectively this affirmative action policy.

The executive director will assure that the agency's commitment to affirmative action is demonstrated through: (1) reviewing minimum qualifications on agency job announcements to assure that they are job-related and that they do not contain artificial barriers which may disproportionately screen out members of protected groups; (2) developing an intensive and aggressive recruiting program designed to assure that competitive people of color, women, people with disabilities, Vietnam era and disabled veterans are contacted and are encouraged to apply for vacant positions within the agency; (3) monitoring of each phase of the agency’s recruiting and selection processes to determine affirmative action impact; (4) continual monitoring of the agency’s training, promotion, and compensation practices to assure that these programs are administered in a non-discriminatory manner.

A plan has been designed to implement these principles that provide positive benefits to the agency through fuller utilization and development of women, people of color, people with disabilities, Vietnam era and disabled veterans. This plan will be reviewed and its effectiveness reevaluated periodically.

The executive director has the overall responsibility and authority for assuring that the affirmative action program is implemented. The division directors share in this responsibility as specifically noted in the plan. Responsibility for coordination of the plan and maintenance of systems to monitor program effectiveness is vested in the Human Resource Director and in the Director, Administrative Services Division who is the designated agency affirmative action officer.

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

Civil service classified employees

Working conditions and compensation for community college and State Board classified employees are governed by the civil service system as defined by RCW 41.06. The office of the human resource director within OFM has the statutory authority to adopt:

  1. Class Titles and Salary Ranges - The official classification and compensation plans for community college classified employees are adopted by the Washington Personnel Resources Board (WPRB). Salary ranges provided under the WPRB compensation plan provide a series of salary steps, with a minimum and maximum salary for each job class. Each classification has an assigned salary range. New hires may be placed at any step in the assigned range. Step movement along the salary range is earned through longevity in service up to the maximum step of the range. Employees progress in their career (through promotion and reclassification) by assuming higher-level duties. The legislature may also provide general salary increases or, through WPRB recommendations, increases based upon documented recruitment, retention, alignment problems or increased duties and responsibilities.
  2. Rules Governing Administration - Rules governing administration of community college classified employment regarding such things as exemption from civil service, appointment, demotion, suspension, promotion, layoff, resignation, leave, affirmative action, and labor relations are contained in WAC 357.

The appointing authority may approve provisions, related to working condition issues that supplement or add to hose adopted by the director, by adoption of policy, or through collective bargaining.

RCW 41.06 specifically exempts from civil service system coverage members of the board of trustees, presidents, vice presidents, and their confidential secretaries, deans, directors, and chairs, academic personnel, executive heads of major administrative or academic divisions, and other administrative and professional personnel. The statute also exempts students, part-time or temporary employees, consultants, the State Board director, the confidential secretary, and professional and administrative staff of the State Board. It also provides to each district’s board of trustees, the authority to exempt from civil service classifications involving research activities, counseling of students, extension or continuing education activities, graphic arts or publications activities. Additional information on these exemptions may be found in RCW 41.06.070 and WAC 357.

Technical college classified employees

Working conditions, classification and compensation for technical college classified employees are governed by local collective bargaining as provided by RCW 41.56.


In general, the term “faculty” applies to full-time or part-time academic employees working as teachers, counselors, librarians, or in other positions for which training, experience and responsibilities are comparable as determined by the appointing authority. The following definitions apply:

  1. Academic Employee - Under the Academic Personnel Collective Bargaining Act (RCW 28B.52) and RCW 28B.50.489, “Academic Employee” means any teacher, counselor, librarian, or department head, who is employed by any college district, whether full or part time, with the exception of the chief administrative officer of and any administrator in each college district. An “academic employee” may be given a “Faculty Appointment”, “Special Faculty Appointment” or hired on a part-time basis.
  2. Faculty Appointment - Under the provisions of the Community and Technical College Act (RCW 28B.50), faculty appointments may be given to state-funded employees under contract to perform full-time duties as a teacher, counselor, librarian, or other position for which the training, experience, and responsibilities are comparable as determined by the appointing authority, except administrative appointments. Employees provided a “faculty appointment,” may be granted tenure after participation in and completion of the college’s tenure process.
  3. Special Faculty Appointment - Provision is made in the Community and Technical College Act for the granting of special faculty appointments to individuals employed on the basis of federal or other special funds as designated by the State Board (see WAC 131‑16‑400). Such individuals are ineligible to receive tenure as defined above and in RCW 28B.50.851. However, under certain circumstances, employees granted special faculty appointments within a correctional institution, may be eligible for tenure within that program. Such tenure shall be distinct and separate from the tenure program for other faculty of the college district (see RCW 28B.50.870).
  4. Part-time Faculty - Typically, part-time faculty are academic employees hired on a quarter-to-quarter basis to perform any percentage of a full-time academic workload. Colleges may also refer to this group of employees as “Adjunct” or “Associate” faculty. The precise definition of “part-time faculty” and their salary and working conditions are generally included in the local collective bargaining agreement.

The Academic Personnel Collective Bargaining Act (RCW 28B.52) authorizes the determination of salary schedules through direct negotiations between the official body representing the academic employees and the district board of trustees. This act is applicable to academic employees (e.g., teaching faculty, counselors, and librarians). Salary increases occur through and are based on appropriations by and/or authorization from the legislature.

Exempt employees

The term “exempt” when applied to an employee or position within the community and technical college system is intended to mean that the employee or position is not “covered” or is “exempt” from the civil service rules, the tenure program and, typically, from the local collective bargaining agreement. Other terms often used to refer to this group of employees include “administrators,” “professional staff” and “administrative exempt.” Exempt employees are given “administrative appointments” as defined in RCW 28B.50.851 and RCW 28B.52.020.

Statute provides each board of trustees the authority to hire, set the duties and salary for presidents, faculty and “such other administrative officers” (exempt employees). Statute requires the State Board to identify the permissible elements of “compensation” (see RCW 28B.50.140; WAC 131-16-500).

For the purposes of faculty collective bargaining, “Administrator” is defined by RCW 28B.52.020 to mean any person employed by a college district that performs administrative functions at least fifty percent or more of his or her assignments and has responsibilities to hire, dismiss, or discipline other employees. Statute prohibits administrators from being members of the faculty bargaining unit unless a majority of the administrators and a majority of the bargaining unit agree to their inclusion.

Since 2007, certain exempt employees may organize, form a bargaining unit and collectively bargain salary and working conditions with their higher education employer. More information can be found at RCW 41.56.021.

Retirement programs

Eligible faculty and exempt administrative and professional staff members may participate in a State Board-sponsored retirement plan. Newly eligible employees may participate in the Washington State Teachers' Retirement System or Washington Public Employees' Retirement System.

  1. State Board Retirement Plan (SBRP) - Since January 1, 1970, based on enabling legislation and by formal resolution, the State Board has made available to eligible faculty and exempt administrative staff in Washington state community and technical colleges, retirement plans funded through the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), a non-profit organization that serves employees of educational and scientific institutions (see the Plan Document of Summary Plan Description for specific details).
  2. Washington State Teachers' Retirement System - The Washington State Teachers' Retirement System provides a retirement pension and annuity program for teachers, including members of community or technical college professional education staffs. Participation in WSTRS requires an employee's contribution based on total covered earnings.
  3. Washington Public Employees' Retirement System - The Washington Public Employees' Retirement System is a retirement system for state employees other than faculty and administrative staff in educational institutions. Eligible personnel in community and technical colleges are required to participate in the system, if not eligible for the SBRP or WSTRS.
  4. Federal Social Security (OASI) - All state employees in Washington are covered by the Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance program, commonly called Social Security, through an agreement between the state and the federal government. Participation is mandatory.
  5. Deferred Compensation Program - The State of Washington offers all state employees the opportunity to participate in a deferred compensation program that allows deferral of federal income taxes on a portion of the employees' annual income. The program is administered by the Department of Retirement Systems and operates under federal Internal Revenue codes that govern the amount of tax deferral allowable. Amounts of annual income specified by the employee are invested on his/her behalf in investments chosen by the employee from among several options. Higher education employees who also participate in the voluntary purchase of tax-deferred annuities, through State Board Voluntary Investment Program (SBVIP) for example, must combine such amounts with any invested through the deferred compensation program when determining whether the combined total is within the limits as allowed by Internal Revenue rules.

The Health Care Authority administers dependent care and Flexible Spending Account programs through which a state employee may pay for dependent care or medical costs on a tax-exempt basis.

Insurance programs

The Public Employees' Benefits Board makes available health, dental, accidental death, long term disabilities, and life insurance plans in which eligible higher education employees may participate. The legislature designates the amount of the monthly employers’ and any employees’ premium contributions paid for each participating employee.

The district may also make available to students various types of insurance, provided the total cost of the premiums is paid by the participating student.

Annual (vacation) leave

Annual (vacation) leave policies for exempt employees in community and technical colleges are covered by RCW 43.01.042.

Provisions regarding annual vacation leave for classified employees are established by civil service rules or collective bargaining agreements.

Leaves of absence

Leaves of absence for faculty and exempt administrative employees, including sick leave, are governed by a statutory provision, RCW 28B.50.551. Leave provisions for community college classified employees are determined by the civil service rules (codified in WAC 357-31) or collective bargaining agreements. Provisions governing technical college classified employees are bargained locally. Under certain circumstances, employees may be remunerated for unused sick leave (see RCW 41.04.340).

Compensation for unused leave

Unused annual (vacation) leave at the time an employee terminates by reason of death, reduction-in-force, resignation, dismissal, or retirement is compensated at the employee's current salary rate. This process is governed by statute, collective bargaining agreement or local policy.

In each January, after a minimum of 60 days of sick leave is accrued, unused sick leave accrued in the previous year and above the 60 day minimum may be "cashed out" and removed from the employee's leave record at the employee’s option so long as the employee’s balance does not go below sixty days. Remuneration for unused sick leave may be received, at the rate of one day's salary for each four full days of accrued sick leave. Also, at the time of termination due to death or retirement, the employee's estate or the employee may receive remuneration for all unused sick leave at the one-for-four rate. Pay for unused sick leave at retirement is not calculated in retirement benefits.

Statutes provide for the development of Voluntary Employee Benefit Accounts (VEBA) that allow for employees to deposit, at retirement, the funds received for the remuneration of unused sick leave into an account from which medical expenses may be paid. Income and social security taxes are not deducted as the funds are deposited or withdrawn. (See RCW 28B.50.553; RCW 41.04.340; WAC 131-16-067; WAC 131-16-068 and WAC 357-31-375)


A statute, RCW 1.16.050, identifies the legal holidays recognized by the state. Only one, the personal holiday, is required by law to be a paid holiday. The appropriate personnel authority—district boards of trustees for exempt employees and the Washington Personnel Resources Board for community college classified employees—may designate which of the other holidays will be paid holidays.

The ten designated legal holidays are New Year's Day, Martin Luther King's birthday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The eleventh, or personal holiday, may be selected by individual eligible employees consistent with college district procedures and/or collective bargaining agreement. Classified employees are entitled to receive all eleven holidays with pay.

If any of the specific state legal holidays are also federal legal holidays, but are observed on different dates, only the state legal holidays shall be recognized as holidays for state employees.

When a legal holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is the legal holiday. When a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is the legal holiday.

Tenure system

A tenure system "which protects the concepts of faculty employment rights and faculty involvement in the protection of those rights" was enacted by the Legislature in 1969. The statutes were designed to "define a reasonable and orderly process for appointment of faculty members to tenure status and the dismissal of the tenured faculty member." The tenure provisions are contained in RCW 28B.50.850 through 28B.50.872.

Legislation adopted in 1991 authorizes an extension of the probationary period, for a maximum of three academic quarters, when mutually agreeable. Statute also requires each college district to establish, through collective bargaining, periodic post-tenure evaluation of all full-time faculties consistent with the standards of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

General policy on tenure

In order to ensure effective teaching and professional development of the faculty members of the various community and technical colleges, faculty members are granted the privilege of indefinite appointment after they qualify for appointment under a system of tenure. The tenure system is intended to provide for orderly administrative procedures and due process regarding the granting and revocation of tenure status.

Faculty members who also hold appointments as department heads, division heads, or other administrative officers and who also qualify for tenure shall hold tenure only with respect to their appointments as members of the faculty and not to their appointments to supervisory or administrative positions.

Content of written agreements with faculty members

Under the Tenure Act, written agreements with faculty members (teachers, librarians, and counselors) that delineate the terms and conditions of employment must be provided immediately upon employment (RCW 28B.50.855).

Collective bargaining

  1. Collective Bargaining for Civil Service Classified Employees
    Bargaining for community college classified employees is covered under RCW 41.80. The Public Employee Relations Commission has statutory authority to establish rules governing collective bargaining between community college classified employees and each community college’s board of trustees.
  2. Collective Bargaining for Technical College Classified Employees
    Bargaining for technical college classified employees is covered under RCW 41.56. The Public Employee Relations Commission has statutory authority to establish rules governing collective bargaining between technical college classified employees and each technical college’s board of trustees.
  3. Collective Bargaining for Community and Technical College Faculty
    The Academic Personnel Collective Bargaining Act (RCW 28B.52) authorizes collective bargaining between each college district’s board of trustees and labor organizations representing faculty. The Public Employee Relations Commission has statutory authority to establish rules governing collective bargaining between faculty and each board of trustees.
  4. Collective Bargaining for Exempt Employees
    Bargaining for exempt employees is covered under RCW 41.56. The Public Employee Relations Commission has statutory authority to establish rules governing collective bargaining between exempt employees and each college district's board of trustees.

Revision and amendment history

Description Revision Date
Collective Bargaining section updated 11/01/2006


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Last Modified: 12/30/19 9:49 AM

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