Role Classification


Role Classification is the system of determining levels for Wellesley's administrative roles through the role document and comparison of the various skills and competencies required for different administrative staff positions.

Purposes of Role Classification

Role Classification Factors Defined – The Competencies

Role Classification Process

Role Reclassification


Purposes of Role Classification

  • Role Classification compares the roles of employees throughout the College as well as the skills and competencies needed to perform the various roles successfully. Role Classification groups roles together to define the pay opportunity for a given set of roles.
  • The role classification system communicates the types of skills, or competencies, that are required for various roles at the College. In this way, role classification reinforces an atmosphere of skill-building competencies common to roles across different areas of the College and opportunities for role movement among them, providing a basis for training, career development, and succession planning.
  • Finally, Wellesley College has been a successful institution because its values are clear and provide a solid foundation for Wellesley’s reputation among institutions of higher education and in the community. The competencies were determined with these values in mind, so that employees of the College reflect and practice these values in their work, and that these values are in turn built into the performance development and compensation systems.


The Role Classification Factors Defined

Valuing Work identifies nine factors or competencies that are important to successful performance at Wellesley. These factors are used to classify levels for each role and are helpful in communicating performance expectations related to the position. These are the behaviors and characteristics valued at Wellesley and a prerequisite for effective performance in each administrative staff roles.

Service to Others (Individuals/Groups)

This factor includes the ability to identify, understand, build relationships with, and respond to the needs and expectations of internal and external constituents in an appropriate manner; reflecting the goals and values of the College and demonstrating fiscal responsibility; focusing on the quality and timeliness of constituent programs and services.

Expertise (Knowledge, Skill, Educational and Experience Requirements)

This factor encompasses the ability to draw upon and utilize specific knowledge, skills and experiences that are needed to perform various Wellesley College roles. Functional knowledge includes both the specialized knowledge pertaining to a specific profession or specialty and knowledge pertaining to general College operations; skills include the ability to utilize technology in response to the changing environment.


This factor reflects the influence an employee has on how work gets done. This factor describes how an employee is responsible for their own work and the work of others in achieving common goals.


This factor represents the degree to which one is responsible for one’s own work, the work of others, and/or delivering services to the Wellesley College community; the impact of a position’s end results on the work unit, function or College as a whole and those it serves; the degree of autonomy in decision making required for success; level of review generally given to work process and results; scope of work unit or organization involved.


This factor includes the ability to produce successful outcomes by working cooperatively with others; sharing relevant information and soliciting input and assistance of others; integrating input and seeking consensus to reach goals; understanding of team process and problem solving techniques.


This factor addresses the ability to effectively interact and exchange information with other members of the Wellesley College community and external constituencies; to develop factual and logical presentations of one’s ideas and opinions using written and verbal skills; to demonstrate effective listening skills by shaping and adapting one’s own responses to address the issues and styles of others; to demonstrate courtesy and respect and handle confidential information appropriately.

Problem Solving and Innovation

This factor addresses the ability to identify, define, critically analyze and resolve work problems through research and testing alternative ideas and approaches; thinking outside traditional parameters, using innovative and creative ideas and actions to improve work processes and service to constituents; seldom settling for a process or service that is “good enough” – adding value and taking measured risks to enhance achievement of the College’s mission.

Development of Self and Others

This factor focuses on the practice of providing a strong sense of purpose and mission for the professional development of oneself and others; developing a structure and work process that promotes successful outcomes; serving as an example to others by setting expectations for work, helping each other think through alternatives, and managing diversity; managing one’s own development and mentoring/coaching others; seeking appropriate opportunities to expand work-related knowledge, skills and experiences.

Affirming and Enabling Diversity

This factor focuses on understanding Wellesley’s commitment to diversity and engaging in respectful interaction with all members of the community and its constituents; actively supporting diversity initiatives and awareness; holding others accountable for creating and promoting a diverse work environment; promoting a diverse work environment through education, training and professional development opportunities and actively seeking ways to recruit, hire, retain and manage a diverse workforce.

The Role Classification Process

Accurate and complete role documentation is critical to the effective classification of roles. The role document is designed to collect as much information as possible about a role in terms of the competencies.

A role document and classification request form must be completed for new or revised administrative staff roles. The new role document must be approved by the division head prior to submission to Human Resources for review.

The Compensation Manager will review and classify the role. As part of the review process, Human Resources will solicit additional information if needed to clarify any questions concerning the role document from the staff member, supervisor, department head/chair, or division head of the area.

Each role is classified with respect to the skills and competencies required for successful performance in the role, also taking into account the context of the role within the department, then the division, and then College-wide.

After a role is reviewed and classified, the level of the role will be communicated to the department head and division head of the area. If the position is reclassified, a letter from Human Resources will go to the employee and a copy will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Role Reclassification

A new role document should be completed when the role has changed significantly enough to require new documentation.

When to Complete a New Role Document

When a role has experienced substantial change, a new role document must be written and approved by the department head and division head of the area. The department/division head completes a classification request form.

There are seven classification levels in the current model, which means that roles will need to be considered for reclassification infrequently. A role is concerned with elements such as which groups or areas the position serves, the accountabilities/responsibilities of the role, and the overall skills and abilities required for the specific type of work. While tasks and goals may change, the role often remains the same.

Roles do not typically change for the following reasons:

  • growth within the role – over time, an employee will typically become more knowledgeable and take on additional responsibility and be able to work more independently
  • good/excellent performance – the salary increase process is designed to reward good performance
  • increased work load – an increased work load would need to be accompanied by a substantive change in the type of responsibilities and the competencies required

If your role has changed substantially and you believe it warrants a reclassification review, your first step is to speak to your immediate supervisor. Requests for reclassification reviews must be approved by your division head prior to submission to Human Resources.

The revised role document will be reviewed and classified by the Compensation Manager.

Request for Reconsideration of Role Classification

From time to time, an employee, supervisor and/or department head may believe that the assigned classification level does not appropriately reflect a complete understanding of the role. The employee and/or supervisor should discuss their reasons with the department and division heads. If the division head agrees that the position is not correctly classified, the division head may appeal the decision to the Director of Human Resources. The request for appeal should document the rationale for the appeal.

The Director of Human Resources will review all documentation submitted as well as the results of the original role reclassification request and make a determination. The division head will be notified in writing of the Director’s decision and they will give this information to the department head, supervisor, and employee. This concludes the appeal process and the position may not be submitted for review for twelve months.

HR values and respects confidentiality.