Q: What IS faculty development?

A: Faculty development is comprised of those activities which enhance the faculty member’s ability to perform their duties in teaching, research and /or service (as appropriate to their title).  Activities which improve a class, aid in the completion of research or provide information for a service assignment are not necessarily faculty development unless the faculty member gains some skill or knowledge.  For example – going to a national lab to participate in a research project would not be faculty development.  Going to a national lab to learn a research technique that could be brought back to UC for use on future projects would be faculty development. 

Q: Is attending a conference or workshop faculty development?

A: Yes.

Q: Is presenting at a conference faculty development?

A: Yes

Q: Is there a limit on how many faculty development grants I can get? 

A: You are limited to one per year in each category: Discipline-Based Opportunities Fast Track; Hardware, Software and Other Supporting Materials for Faculty Development Fast Track or Disciplinary or Extra-disciplinary Professional Development Opportunities: Full Review.

Q: Why do I need approval from my Unit?

A: Unit approval is required to assure that the unit is aware of the activity, that suitable plans are in place to cover a faculty member’s duties if the activity involves an absence, that the request is consistent with the development goals of both the faculty member and the unit and that the faculty member has approval if the proposal contains a commitment of unit funds.  The unit approval is also there to help curb the rare cases where a faculty member may abuse the system.

Q: How often should the committee meet?

A: The committee should anticipate meeting at least twice or three times per semester.  The applications for the Discipline-Based Opportunities Fast Track Grants cannot precede the event by more than 6 months, so the committee would almost certainly need  to meet more than once a semester in order to give timely consideration to the Fast Track applications. Committees should have some mechanism to review proposals that do not fit into the stated review schedule.

Q: Does the committee have to meet in the summer?

A: It may be necessary, depending on whether or not the committee receives an application for a Fast Track grant during the summer, since  applications for Discipline-Based Opportunities Fast Track Grants cannot precede the event by more than 6 months.  While the committee does not necessarily have to schedule a summer meeting in advance, the committee should be flexible so that it can assemble to consider the Fast Track applications in a timely manner, if the need arises.

Q: Can the committee meet by phone or skype?

A: The committee can choose any meeting method it wishes.  Face-to-face meetings are encouraged, but given that faculty members and administrators often travel and have challenging schedules, a virtual meeting may work best to assure a timely resolution of applications.   

Q: Are there specific deadlines for proposals?

A: The committee can set its own deadlines.

Q: Are there deadlines for spending the money?

A: All money not committed by June 30 is swept back to the Provost’s office.  It is understood that some money may be paid out after July 1 due to normal delays in billing but all committed money should be spent by September 1.

Q: A faculty member wants to attend a conference in July.  How do we approve that?

A: The approval would be done before the conference to allow the faculty member ample time to make reservations.  However, the expenditure would come out of the next year’s FD money.

Q: Can the committee “hold back” some money for future proposals?

A: Faculty Development money is for the entire fiscal year.  Given that Fast Track grant applications cannot precede the event by more than 6 months, it would be wise for the committee to hold back some funding to fund these applications in the Spring and Summer Semesters. 

Q: Can the committee give a priority to certain activities or certain classifications of faculty (e.g. early career faculty)?

A: The committee can establish its own rules within the boundaries of shared governance.  It is up to the committee to balance need, priority and fairness.   Setting priorities is highly suggested, but up to the committee. 

Q: Can the committee consider a faculty member’s previous faculty development funding?

A: The primary consideration should be the quality of the experience for the faculty member, but since there may be more quality applications than there is money to fund them, previous funding may be one of many considerations.  

Q: Does the committee have to distribute the money evenly to faculty members over time?

A: No.  The primary consideration should be the quality of the experience for the faculty member but other factors may need to be considered.  Equity is one possible consideration but not a requirement. 

Q: I applied for and received a FD grant to attend a conference.  The conference was within 6 months of my application, but some of costs did not come due for some time after the conference.  Is this OK?

A: For a Discipline-Based Opportunities Fast Track Grant, the activity must occur within 6 months of the application, but it is understood that there may be some delay in actually paying the costs (e.g. P-Card cycles, delays in foreign transactions, etc.).  As long as the activity is within the 6 month window, the costs may be paid up to two months after the activity.   

Q: I estimated my air fare for the application but when I actually went to book the ticket, the cost had increased.  Can I get the additional money?

A: If you have not exceeded the grant limit and there is money available and the difference in cost is through no fault of your own, the Dean may approve the additional money.  The Dean must notify the committee of the expenditure.   Please note that variance must be through no fault of your own.  For example, if the committee does not act on your application in a timely manner and you miss the early registration period for a conference (when the fees are usually lower), you may be eligible for additional funds.  However, if you are notified of the award in time and miss the early registration deadline through carelessness, you would not be eligible for additional funding.    

Q: I overestimated some costs and have some money left.  Can I use it for another faculty development activity? 

A: No.  You are funded for a specific activity.  Unspent money must be returned under the contract.

Q: I was funded to attend a workshop and had to miss it due to circumstances beyond my control.  The exact, same workshop is offered two months later.  Can I go to that one instead?

A: If it is the exact same material and learning outcomes (presenters can be different) the committee has the option to approve this.

Q: I was funded to attend a conference and had to miss it due to circumstances beyond my control.  There is a similar conference later this year.  Can I go to that one instead?

A: No.  You were funded for a specific activity.  Since even the same conference is not really the same from year to year (different themes, different sessions), attending a different conference would not qualify as the activity which was originally funded. If you miss it, you have to return the money.  

Q: In Article 24, Section III Award Types, the introductory paragraph indicates that funds for these awards are only available to “members of the AAUP Bargaining Unit”.  What does this mean?

A: Members of the AAUP Bargaining Unit are any faculty members represented by AAUP – regardless of if they pay the full dues or not (everyone pays at least partial dues through “Fair Share”.)    If they are covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, they are eligible.

Q: Are faculty with qualified titles eligible for funding?

A: The only eligibility requirement is being a member of the bargaining unit.

Q: Can the committee give unqualified titles a preference over qualified titles?

A: No.  Faculty with qualified titles who are members of the AAUP Bargaining Unit are to be given equal consideration.  However, the committee may consider differences in duties, consistent with unit/college need and the appropriate governance documents.  For example, a unit’s RPT criteria might state that Professor Educators have teaching and service duties, but participation in research is optional.  In such cases, Professor Educators should be given equal consideration for faculty development opportunities involving teaching and service but the committee could decide to assign a lower priority for faculty development opportunities in research.  However, a committee could not adopt a blanket policy which barred Professor Educators from receiving faculty development funds for research activities.

Q: I have asked for faculty development money to attend a conference that I have attended several times before.  I was turned down on the grounds that continued attendance at the same event was not adding to my development.  Can they do that?

A: The burden to show that a particular activity would enhance a faculty member’s development rests solely on the faculty member.   The mere fact that a particular activity qualifies as faculty development does not mean it is appropriate for a particular faculty member or that the faculty member will gain something meaningful from the activity.  The Unit and the committee have the right to turn down a proposal if the faculty member has not demonstrated that the activity will enhance her/his development. 

Q: Can I file a grievance if I am refused? 

A: No; Article 24.9 explicitly states that “[d]ecisions to fund or not fund applications under this Article are not grievable.”

Q: Do all Colleges have to use the same form and submit through the same website?

A: Yes.  This allows the Provost’s Office and AAUP to track them to assure compliance with the collective bargaining agreement.

Q: Who should I contact in my College for a question about the application?

A: Each College has an administrative contact. See the list off of the Faculty Development Award Applications main page (or click here).