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Professional Development Program for Faculty and Non-classified Staff

Professional Development Program Application

Purpose

West Virginia University recognizes the benefits of professional development and encourages such development among its employees. Professional development opportunities may be useful in enhancing the effectiveness of the institution’s contributions in the areas of teaching, research and service. Although the University’s faculty and non-classified staff often engage in independent professional development activities, WVU also endeavors to maintain various programs to assist in professional development efforts. The formal program described in this policy is only one of the discretionary mechanisms that may be used to contribute to the professional development of faculty and non-classified staff.

Eligibility

Any person designated by the President as holding full-time faculty status or who is a full-time non-classified staff member is eligible to be considered for participation in this Professional Development Program after the completion of at least four years of continuous full time employment at West Virginia University. Leaves of absence without pay are not normally credited toward eligibility for participation in this Professional Development Program. In some instances, the employee will request to participate in the Professional Development Program. In other instances, the employee’s supervisor may recommend such participation. The maximum length of the employee’s professional development activity will be determined in accord with the table below. After completing an approved Professional Development Program, such persons shall not again be eligible for participation in this program until the subsequent year specified below. Separate summer school employment shall not be considered in determining eligibility for participation in the program.

Conditions

Participation in the Professional Development Program for faculty and non-classified staff is not automatic. Participation is at the University’s discretion and shall depend upon the merit of the request, the needs of the unit and University, and the conditions prevailing in the unit and University at the time. The unit and the University may consider any relevant factor when reviewing a development activity request, including, for example, the availability of coverage for other assigned duties, disruption that such participation may create in the academic program or unit, the availability of funding, and operational needs of the unit. Units may identify additional criteria for the review of requests that elaborate on those specified by the University. Units may also specify procedures for the reviews of such requests such as the review through a peer review committee process. Recommendations that an employee’s participation in the program be approved will be reviewed by that employee’s immediate supervisor, dean or director, the appropriate vice president, and the President.

Individual units may establish appropriate limits on the number of employees who may participate in any one semester. Normally, no additional funding will be made available to a unit to support employee participation in the Professional Development Program. All needed funding must be provided by the employee’s unit.

Professional Development Program participation may be based on any activity or form of continuing education that contributes to the enhancement of the skills of the employee and the mission and goals of the unit and University. An employee’s professional development program may focus on the enhancement of research, other scholarship, teaching, other instruction, or service.

Professional Development Programs may vary in length, depending upon the proposed activity and maximum length eligibility described in the table below. Programs approved under this formal policy may be longer than one month but no longer than one year. Activities requiring less than one month will be dealt with through the reassignment of duties, by an unpaid leave of absence, or by other appropriate arrangements.

Whether the time spent by a probationary faculty member on a professional development activity will apply toward the calculation of that faculty member’s critical year for the purposes of tenure will be determined and specified in writing in advance of the activity.

Length of Professional Development Program

The maximum length of a professional development activity and eligibility for a subsequent development participation will be in accord with the below table. Participation in a professional development program is on a full-time basis.

I. Twelve Month Employees

Maximum Length of Program/Pay
Prior Service/Subsequent Eligibility
Up to 4 months at full pay 
4 years
Up to 8 months at half pay
4 years

Up to 5 months at full pay
5 years
Up to 10 months at half pay
5 years

Up to 6 months at full pay 
6 years
Up to 12 months at half pay
6 years

II. Nine, Ten and Eleven Month Employees

Maximum Length of Program/Pay
Prior Service/Subsequent Eligibility
Up to 3 months at full pay 
4 years
Up to 6 months at half pay
4 years

Up to 3.5 months at full pay
5 years
Up to 7 months at half pay
5 years

Up to 4.5 months at full pay 
6 years
Up to 9 months at half pay
6 years

The instructional obligations of employees must be considered when approving participation in the Professional Development Program. In some instances, those obligations may require that the participation of an employee be in semester-long increments or in other time periods that fit with the instructional obligations of that employee.

To illustrate the use of this table, a nine month employee would, after five years of continuous full-time employment, be eligible for a Professional Development Program that would have a maximum length of 3.5 months at full pay or 7 months at half pay. Such an employee would not again be eligible for a Professional Development Program until after the fifth subsequent year. After the fifth subsequent year, the employee would be eligible for one of the maximum participation periods specified after four or five years of employment. That employee would not be eligible for the maximum participation possible after six years of employment until after the sixth subsequent year.

Tenured faculty members who are eligible for the sabbatical leave are also eligible for participation in the Professional Development Program, as well as other forms of professional development. Following such participation, the eligibility period for the relevant program will apply. For example, a tenured faculty member participating in a Professional Development Program after his/her fourth year of employment would not be eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave until the sixth subsequent year.

Compensation

An employee participating in the Professional Development Program shall receive full salary for a development activity for no more than the relevant time period specified in the above table or half salary for a development activity of no more than the relevant time period specified in the above table. If the employee’s salary is not paid wholly from state funds allocated by the Board of Trustees, the immediate supervisor and dean/director shall so inform the appropriate vice president and President and provide additional written justification for his/her recommendation for participation under such circumstances. The additional written justification will include the proposed source of funding for the program and agreement of the funding source to the proposed use of funds for this purpose.

Obligations of the Employee

An applicant for the Professional Development Program shall submit to his/her immediate supervisor, dean/director, the appropriate vice president, and the President, a detailed written plan of activity which he/she proposes to follow.

The employee shall sign a statement indicating he/she is aware of and agrees to all the conditions of participation in the Professional Development Program as specified herein and in any other agreements relating to said participation.

Persons participating in the Professional Development Program are expected to devote their full energies to the purpose of the Program. Thus, while participating in the Professional Development Program, the employee may not accept other remunerative employment without the written consent of the President. The total income attributable to participation in the Professional Development Program shall not normally exceed the employee’s regular salary. Fellowships, grants, assistantships, and similar stipends related to the purposes of the approved Professional Development Program shall not be considered remunerative employment.

Upon completion of participation in the Professional Development Program, the employee shall file with the immediate supervisor, dean/director, and the President’s designee a written report of his/her development activities.

The employee is obligated to return to the University for a period at least twice that of the participation in the Professional Development Program if the rate of pay is at full salary and at least equal to the period of the participation if the rate of pay is at half salary. Failure to return will obligate the employee to reimburse the University fully for the salary received during the period of program participation. However, if such failure is caused by actions of the University, the President’s designee may excuse the employee from the obligation to reimburse the University for professional development pay. In the event of death or permanent disability due to ill health or accident while participating in the Professional Development Program, the University will not exercise its right of repayment. An employee’s institutional position, status, and rank shall not be affected solely by his/her absence.

Policy Revisions

Before adopting any revisions in this policy, the President’s designee will consult with the Faculty Senate and any other representative on-campus body that may include employees covered by the policy, the Deans’ Council, and any others he/she deems appropriate.

A Professional Development Program Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the President’s designee to assist with the implementation and periodic review of the policy. The Advisory Committee may assist in the development and revision of the applications forms for program participation, consult, when requested, with various administrators charged with approving program participation, and suggest appropriate revisions to the policy.

Adopted: December, 1991

Download Professional Development Program Memorandum and Application