Introductions and Definitions


The UNC System Office takes monthly snapshots of the employee database (PeopleSoft HR) through the HRDM Human Resource Data Mart. October 31 of each year, the personnel census date, the snapshot is taken for purposes of official reporting and policy analyses. The Personnel Data File (PDF), which includes demographic, educational, and funding information, is created from the snapshot as of November 1.

The dates and definitions for the census are set by the federal government and the UNC System Office. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) operates the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). NC State must submit data to IPEDS in exchange for federal recognition for financial aid, contracts and grants, and other funding purposes. In the University of North Carolina system, each constituent institution submits unit record data to the UNC System Office, which in turn submits the IPEDS survey data on our behalf.

The NCES IPEDS data collected in fall, winter, and spring of each year are cleaned and put into a database for public access. Each data area and set of definitions forms a survey. After the survey collections are completed there is a 9- to 15-month lag before the data become available in the public database. The database includes an analysis and download tool for selection of institutions, years, and surveys. Some of the data are passed on to other parties such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), which uses IPEDS faculty information each year to compute salary averages by rank and institution.


Standard Reporting Taxonomy

  • Occupational Activity (OA): IPEDS definitions of job duties for each group of employees (administrators, faculty, professional, technical, etc). The primary means of classifying employees.
  • Job-Category Codes (JCAT): Codes used at NC State to translate directly to OA codes. Assigned to each employee based on appointment.
  • Standard Occupational Code Taxonomy (SOC): Classification system federal statistical agencies use to compile occupational data on workers. IPEDS re-aligned personnel reporting for higher educational institutions to use SOC in 2012. Changing reporting definitions will cause a break in several trend lines from the old Occupational Activity code personnel taxonomy.

Reference for Occupational Activity populations from IPEDS External Link.

Other Reporting Group Definitions

  • Permanent Status: Employees eligible to participate in the retirement system and receive medical benefits. Time-limited employees, although not subject to reappointment after the term ends, are counted as permanent because they receive benefits. Some other employees (e.g., visiting faculty) are also counted as permanent while not being truly permanent hires. Employees at 0.75 FTE (see Full-Time Equivalent, below) or more are eligible to receive benefits.
  • Temporary Status: Employees not eligible to receive benefits or participate in the retirement system. They may be on contract, such as supplemental faculty, or they may be regular employees working less than 3/4 time.
  • Full Time: Employees paid 100% of their base salary for a full-week work effort. For many, this is expressed in terms of the 40-hour workweek.
  • Part Time: Employees paid some portion of a full-time salary for the same portion of full-time work. For example, an employee working a 20-hour workweek is a half-time employee. Faculty members working full-time on a one-semester appointment (one-half of the academic year) are also classified as part time.
  • Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): A standard usually based on a 40-hour workweek. For example, the FTE of two part-time employees working 20 hours per week would be equivalent to the FTE of one employee working 40 hours a week, or 1.0 FTE.
  • Academic Appointment: Faculty members on a 9-month academic-year appointment with no work expectations for the summer in their base salary. Some faculty and most administrators are typically on a 12-month appointment, or a full-year contract. NC State uses a factor of 0.81818181 to prorate from 12- to 9-month salaries.

 Reporting Populations, as of Fall, 2002 

  • Faculty: Employees on a 9- or 12-month appointment whose primary activities are instruction, research, and/or on-campus extension. OA code 20 is the fundamental faculty identifier. At NC State this is coded in the JCAT 2xx series of codes in PeopleSoft Human Resource system (see Standard Reporting Taxonomy, above).
    • Faculty salaries must be paid at least 50% from teaching, research, and/or extension funds.
    • Teaching funding is defined as FTE associated with subhead 101-1310 or 106-1310. Research FTE subheads are 110-1110, 122-1110, and 106-1110. Extension subheads are 131-1110, 132-1110, and 133-1110.
    • Faculty on leave without pay, librarians, and field faculty are not counted in the IPEDS definition of faculty.
    • Temporary and retired faculty, reported as temporary, non-tenured, part-time employees, are not counted in the IPEDS definition of faculty.
    • Faculty in the phased-retirement program, reported as permanent, non-tenured, part-time employees still receiving benefits, are counted in the IPEDS definition.
    • Visiting faculty may be permanent or temporary, full-time or part-time, depending on their appointment. Most full-time visiting faculty are on fixed-term contracts with benefits. Most part-time visiting faculty are recorded as temporary.
    • Faculty reported to IPEDS are actively employed permanent faculty plus permanent faculty on paid leave. They may be full- or part-time.
    • The AAUP defines faculty as IPEDS full-time faculty only. It uses this population to compute an average faculty salary for comparison with other institutions (see Peer Comparisons).
    • IPEDS calls all AAUP-defined faculty instructional faculty, even though funding from administration, research, and extension is allowed.
    • For internal reports at NC State, the IPEDS population is less useful than code OA 20 (JCAT 2xx) and tenure status. Many NCSU faculty members do not meet the IPEDS definition, yet have instruction as they primary role; they are reported on our web pages as faculty.

The following are the specific requirements for placing faculty in IPEDS and AAUP populations:

  1. Must be an EPA (see below) employee
  2. Must be active and currently employed
  3. Must have FTE greater than 0.97
  4. Must be appointed for a period of nine months or more
  5. Must not be replacing faculty on leave with pay
  6. Must not be on leave without pay
  7. Must not hold both EPA and SPA (see below) positions
  8. Must not hold a clinical position
  9. Must have Occupational Activity (OA) code 20
  10. Must have at least 50% funding from teaching, research, or extension sources


If a faculty member satisfies the first seven conditions and is designated (by title) a departmental chairperson, OA and funding tests are ignored.

Faculty members meeting all conditions except FTE > 0.97 are designated part-time employees and are included in the IPEDS population, but not the AAUP.

  • Faculty Populations Descriptions:
    • IPEDS Instructional Faculty: OA 20 (JCAT 2xx; see Standard Reporting Taxonomy, above) employees who are permanent, full-time or part-time, and paid for instructional, research, and/or extension duties. Includes faculty on scholarly leave with pay, but excludes those on leave without pay.
    • AAUP: As above, but full-time only. Used to compute salary averages published by AAUP in the spring issue of ACADEME.
    • Tenured and On-Track Faculty: The largest subset of IPEDS population. Based on OA 20 and tenure status. There are no temporary tenured and on-track faculty. Some reports ask for tenured administrators to be included with tenured faculty in analyses.
    • All Faculty:All OA 20 (JCAT 2xx) employees. Counts off-track full-time and temporary faculty as well as tenured and on-track faculty.
    • Common Data Set (CDS):Based on IPEDS definition but excludes stand-alone graduate programs such as Veterinary Medicine; used to calculate faculty-to-student ratio. (At NCSU, the MBA program and others are not considered stand-alone.) U.S. News and World ReportsCDS faculty-to-student ratios in their rankings.
  • Staff Populations Descriptions:
    • Staff: All EPA and SPA (see below) employees not classified as faculty by the definition above, i.e., all active employees with JCAT other than 2xx. OA/JCAT codes for staff include administrative, professional, technical, clerical, maintenance, and trades employees. Also includes tenured faculty serving in administrative capacities for the duration of their appointments.
    • EPA: All employees (academic and non-academic) on the university payroll exempt from the State Personnel Act.
    • SPA: All employees on the university payroll subject to the State Personnel Act.
    • Graduate Assistants:All graduate students who have either a teaching or research assistantship. Graduate assistants are not counted as faculty or staff.Note: Beginning in Fall 2011, county extension agents and staff members were reported as NCSU employees.
  • Alternative Populations Descriptions: 
    • Employees excluded from the standard reporting population. Alternative-population employees are not subject to the strict definitions of the PDF populations (see Faculty and Staff – Introduction, above), and do not meet the test of on-campus and permanent benefits-receiving employees.
    • Contract Employees: Anyone who has worked on campus on a limited contract between October 1 of this year and September 30 of this year. This is an unduplicated headcount. These contracts are reported on a 1099 tax form at the end of the year.
    • Field Faculty: Cooperative Extension Services employees who work off-campus. All those with a rank of 7 in PeopleSoft as of September 30 of this year.
    • No-Pay Employees: All those who are working on campus without compensation through our payroll system on census day. Typically these are people using the no-pay appointment as an entry into the system to gain access to campus services. Some are paid from off-campus sources (USDA, USDI, ROTC, etc). Identified in PeopleSoft by Employee Class N.
    • Post-Docs: All those working in a post-doctoral capacity on census day. Prior to 2010, post-docs were did not have their own group but were classified as EPA professionals. In the Summary 8-Year Table for those years, the job codes listed above were pulled out of the EPA population and listed separately. Some post-docs are paid from sources external to NCSU, and are recorded in PeopleSoft as No-Pay Employees.
    • Hourly Temps: All those on hourly temporary assignment on campus on census day; usually hourly pay assignments hired on an as-needed basis. This population is classified in PeopleSoft as Employee Class E (EPA Temp) or S (SPA Temp).