Compensation and Classification

Campus Address
121-11 USB
Mailing Address

121 University Services Building, Suite 11
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911
United States

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Universal Competencies

Through respect, collaboration, and service, every UI employee brings institutional values to life. 

Learn How

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Individual job performance can be described by:

  • The “what” = what the job is intended to accomplish
  • The “how” =  how the work is to be performed

The "what” is the intended outcome or work product of a job. This describes the purpose of the job in relation to the overall mission of the unit/organization. The intended outcomes of the work are described as the key areas of responsibility (KARs) of the job.

“How” a job is performed can be described as the behaviors required for the successful performance of a job. These behaviors illustrate the application of a person’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to the work performed and are referred to as competencies. Different behaviors within an area of competency demonstrate different levels of proficiency.

More about the “How”


  • Help supervisors/hiring managers articulate the knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors essential for success
  • Help employees understand what we expect from their knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Help applicants understand what we expect and the knowledge, skills, abilities they need to have to be successful
  • Document growth to support career advancement

Each competency has a definition and four proficiency levels (basic, working, extensive, expert/leader).

Two types of competencies have been identified for University job classifications:

Universal Competencies are those that apply to all university staff (P&S, Merit, Merit Supervisory-Exempt, Confidential, and SEIU), support our mission, and are consistent with our core values. These have replaced the former positions expectations.

Technical Competencies (currently only for non-organized P&S staff) are those that apply to a specific job, and may include:

  • Job Family Technical Competencies: Those that usually apply to jobs within a job family
  • Optional Technical Competencies: Those that may apply to a particular job or assignment

Competencies, both universal and technical, have been identified for all non-bargaining P&S job classifications. You can view suggested competencies and typical behaviors for any professional and scientific job classification (except those represented by SEIU) through Self Service and the ePersonnel file.