All University employees are designated as Officers or Support Staff.

  • Officers include Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, Officers of the Libraries and Administrative Officers (includes professionals, directors, managers and other administrators)
  • Support Staff includes employees who provide clerical, technical, maintenance and other administrative support to the University. Most support staff are represented by various labor unions.
  • A full-time employee is one whose normal work schedule is at least 35 hours per week.
  • Short-term Casual employees are on the University payroll and perform non-exempt work for a limited period of time (this includes both student casuals and non-student casuals).
  • Agency Temps are those employees who are hired through the Columbia University Employment Center, typically for a special project or as a short-term replacement.

Job Responsibilities

The responsibilities of each nonacademic position at the University are provided in a job description or job questionnaire. At the Morningside campus, Human Resources Client Services reviews positions to determine the appropriate classification level. At the Medical Center and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, this function is assumed by the local Human Resources Office.

Over time, the responsibilities of a position may change or grow. Some changes warrant an updated job description and a job reevaluation by the appropriate area. Doing more work will not, of itself, dictate a higher grade. The type and complexity of duties, level of responsibility, and additional amount of skill and judgment necessary to do a job are among the factors considered.

If your job is reevaluated and upgraded, you may receive a salary increase. If it is downgraded, your salary will remain the same while you are in the position.

Your supervisor should be able to provide you with a copy of the job description or job questionnaire for your position.

Employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement should consult the relevant agreement.


Supervisors can address your questions concerning job responsibilities and departmental and University policies.

Probationary Period - Support Staff

New Support Staff will be on probation for the first 60 to 120 calendar days of employment (probationary periods vary based on the collective bargaining agreement. The probationary period is the time to learn new responsibilities, establish working relationships, and determine whether or not the job is a good fit for you. Certain benefits do not accrue until probation is completed.

Your supervisor will let you know whether you have passed the probationary period.

Hours of Work

The regular workday for most support staff is 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding a one-hour period. This schedule results in a 35-hour week. Service and maintenance employees and certain other employees have different work hours. Certain offices and departments, because of the nature of their operation, may require different work schedules. Specific schedules and changes should be discussed with your supervisor.

Salary Increases

Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements receive wage increases in accordance with the provisions of their respective agreements.

For other employees, your salary and job performance are typically reviewed once a year by your supervisor or department head. Quality and quantity of work, changes in level of responsibility, interest, attendance, and cooperation are among the factors considered in a performance review.

Salary increases are based on your performance and on University and departmental budget allocations. All salaries for officers of instruction are subject to review by the relevant dean, department chair, or vice president, as well as by the Office of the Provost on the Morningside Campus or the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center.

Salary review for all officers typically occurs before July 1 of each year. Support staff members not covered by a collective bargaining agreement generally have salary reviews on the anniversary date of their hire or last promotion.