Executive Management - Principles and Procedures for Establishing Positions & Titles

Terms of Appointment

Executive management positions are held by senior University level administrators, including the president, executive and senior vice presidents, vice presidents, the secretary of the board of trustees, the chief investment officer, senior associate provost, deputy general counsel, senior associate vice presidents, associate and assistant vice presidents/provosts/general counsels, and specified directors. Apart from the president, the terms of whose employment are established by the Board of Trustees, individuals holding executive management positions serve at the pleasure of the administrative superior to whom responsibility for personnel actions has been delegated and may be removed from their executive management positions at any time without notice or cause. Neither this summary nor the terms of the policies applicable to executive management positions shall be construed to alter an individual's at-will employment status. An individual executive manager's status as a tenured faculty member is not affected by the at-will status of his/her executive management appointment.  As approved by the President, executive management positions may be filled on a full- or part-time basis and with a continuing, fixed term or contract appointment; in all cases, the appointment has at-will status.

Principles and Procedures for Establishing Executive Management Positions and Titles

Executive management positions are established for senior University level administrators who have responsibilities and authority for which employment-at-will status is appropriate. While the specific focus of each position varies as a result of organizational needs and requirements, the following characteristics are relevant to a determination of executive management status: integration of internal and external program/policy issues; organizational representation and liaison; direction of and guidance for programs, projects or policy development, including review of implementation and results; administration of significant and material resources and management and utilization of human resources.1

The President has the authority and responsibility to establish the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) executive management positions assigned to each vice presidential area.2 After consultation with the relevant vice president, the President may increase, decrease, or maintain the number of FTE executive managers in that vice presidential area, and may change or modify any executive manager's title, except for titles for positions over which the Board retains appointment authority.3 The number of FTE positions and the position titles will reflect factors such as University objectives, organizational needs, and market competition.

The Chief of Staff to the President and the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs will advise the President on requests from the vice presidents regarding additional executive management FTEs and the titles for those positions, title modifications, and personnel actions delegated to the President. Hiring procedures for executive managers are included in Appendix II.

Authority for Approval of Personnel Actions for Executive Management Positions

The Board of Trustees retains authority for the appointment of, and all other personnel actions relating to, the President.

The Board of Trustees approves the appointment of, and the President approves all other personnel actions relating to, the following executive management positions:4

  • All vice presidents (including executive and senior vice presidents)

  • The Senior Associate Provost, Deputy General Counsel, and each Senior Associate Vice President5

  • The Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

  • The Secretary of the Board of Trustees

  • Chief Investment Officer

The President approves the appointment of, and all other personnel actions (i.e., compensation and raises, termination/departure actions) relating to, all other executive management positions. The President may delegate to the relevant vice president the authority for approval of the appointment of, and all other personnel actions relating to, specific executive management positions6. The President shall submit an annual report to the Board of Trustees by June 30th of each year that includes the number of executive management FTEs by vice presidential area and the salary of each executive manager.

The Executive Management Benefits Summary provides a brief description of benefits provided to executive managers, which generally parallel the benefits for tenured faculty. Only the President has the authority to provide benefits that are different than the benefits summarized in the Executive Management Benefits Summary.  Any employment agreement that provides benefits that are different than the benefits summarized in the Executive Management Benefits Summary must be approved by the President in writing.

Any part of the Executive Management Benefits Summary or of these Principles and Procedures for Establishing Executive Management Positions and Titles may be changed unilaterally by the University with written notification to executive managers.  Detailed information is available from the Associate Provost/Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs (517-353-5300) and MSU Human Resources (517-353-4434).

Appendix I - Executive Management Position Titles

Appendix II - Hiring Procedures and Guidelines for Executive Management Positions

Appendix III - Positions Outside of the Executive Management System for Which the Board of Trustees Retains Appointment Authority


1 Adopted from the United States Office of Personnel Management, A Guide to Executive Qualifications.
2 The Board retains authority for the appointment of vice presidents.
3 See Appendix I.  Appendix I is a current list of executive management position titles that will be updated from time to time to remain accurate. 
4 See also Appendix III.  Appendix III lists positions outside of the executive management system for which the Board of Trustees retains appointment authority.
5 Within each vice presidential area, only one individual may hold a position whose title denotes the senior subordinate to the Vice President in that area, i.e., Senior Associate Provost, Deputy General Counsel, or Senior Associate Vice President.  With the approval of the President, the prefix of "senior" or "deputy" may be added to titles to indicate significant professional advancement, so long as those titles do not suggest a status equivalent to a Vice President's senior subordinate.
6The President's delegation of personnel actions to other executives does not change or impact the President's authority as the sole approver of all executive manager out-of-cycle raise requests.