FACULTY SENATE


Senate Document Number     4506S


Date of Senate Approval      04/13/06  





- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Statement of Faculty Senate Action:


FWDC 10:         Proposal to Revise the Policy on Professional Development Leave

(formerly Off-Campus Scholarly Assignment) (Revision of SD5404S)

(Faculty Handbook 4.1.4)



Effective: Fall 2006



Delete Section 4.1.4 of the Faculty Handbook and Replace with the following: Purpose

Professional development leaves are a means by which UNCA supports continued professional growth for its faculty. Such assignments provide institutional encouragement and support to the faculty in developing, maintaining, and broadening academic and instructional competencies that are valued by the individual faculty member, his or her academic program, and by the university. Given the importance of professional development projects to faculty renewal/professional growth, Chairs should work with their faculty and their program area AVC to develop long-term plans for distributing this resource across all eligible faculty. For the purpose of clarity, the word “Chair” refers to either a department Chair or Program Director as appropriate.


Because of normal budgetary limitations, it is assumed that approximately 3% of the total full-time faculty may be allocated professional development assignments in any given year. Faculty are encouraged to continue seeking private or federal grant support for fellowships to support additional faculty development and travel.


The Provost will insure that minorities and women are not disadvantaged by the established process Eligibility

All full-time teaching faculty members who have served at UNCA for a minimum of four years are eligible; however, members with tenure will be given preference. No faculty member will normally be eligible to receive a professional development assignment more than once every six years. Exceptions may be negotiated for extraordinary opportunities which may arise. Procedures for Application, Approval, and Accountability



Chairs should be involved in all phases of developing a professional development assignment proposal. Interested faculty members should initiate the process by discussing a proposed project with their Chair. Projects should be written as proposals that include a detailed statement of the activity that the applicant expects to undertake.


A professional development assignment may be granted for up to one full year. The university will support the recipient with either one semester at full salary or two semesters at one-half salary. Health insurance and retirement benefit coverage varies with the conditions of the professional development assignment. Specifics should be developed in consultation with the Office of Human Resources.


Most departments will be able to adjust offerings and assignments to accommodate professional development without significantly complicating student programs. However, Chairs are encouraged to meet with their AVC to discuss the need for adjunct faculty to support a professional development assignment.


Most faculty elect to count this time toward promotion and tenure.  However, an applicant may consult with the Chair, tenured faculty, and/or the program area AVC and elect to exclude time (stop the clock).  The written proposal should indicate the manner in which the applicant wishes the time to be counted.


The faculty member and Chair are strongly encouraged to review the description of "leaves of absence" in Section 14.2 and to consult with the Provost to differentiate such leaves from "professional development assignments."


Before submitting the application, the faculty member must circulate a draft proposal to the chair/program director and tenured faculty.  These individuals may provide feedback regarding the benefits to the applicant’s professional development and/or advice about strengthening the proposal. A final version must be evaluated by the Department or Program area assembled tenured faculty prior to its submission to the program area AVC.



Applications for professional development assignments are evaluated once each academic year.  To be considered for a fall, spring, or full-year assignment, application must be made by October 1st of the preceding academic year.


Applications are submitted to the appropriate AVC. A completed application should include

* A proposal for the professional development project.

* A letter from the department chair, indicating the department support/nonsupport and any anticipated resource implications generated by the assignment (e.g. need for adjunct faculty).


The AVC reads the complete application, adds a letter of support/nonsupport, and forwards the packet to the faculty review committee. (Note: All letters must be copied to the applicant.)



The program area AVC forwards the completed application and AVC letter to the faculty committee for review. The committee will be composed of the two members of University Research Council (URC) and two members of the University Teaching Council (UTC). Individuals chosen will be members who are beginning the second year of their 2-year terms. The committee ranks the proposals based on the following unprioritized criteria:

* feasibility of project (including likelihood of outside funding, if applicable)

* potential to contribute to faculty renewal/professional growth

* prior leave awarded to faculty member

* productive use of prior leaves (if applicable)

* resource implications for home department


The committee transmits its ranked list with supporting comments/suggestions for improvement to the Provost no later than the end of November.



The Provost will communicate his or her decisions in writing to the faculty members by January 15, with a copy to their department chairs and AVCs. If the Provost approves of the professional development leave, a contract for such an assignment will be prepared which will designate the specific conditions and dates for the professional development assignment. Where the off-campus assignment requires institutional nomination or approval of the applicant, the Office of the Provost will be responsible for expediting the process to meet external agency requirements and deadlines. The contract will also require the faculty member to guarantee as one of the conditions for the assignment that he or she will return to full-time teaching at UNCA for a minimum of one full academic year following the professional development assignment. The Provost has the discretion to defer a successfully reviewed Professional Development Leave for up to one year, following Chair/Program Director and program area AVC consultation, without the faculty member resubmitting a proposal. The Board of Trustees of UNCA must grant final approval for all professional development assignments.


A proposed negative decision must be accompanied by brief but specific reasons for rejecting the application and will include feedback on improving the current proposal, if appropriate,  in order to enhance the likelihood of acceptance in the future. Proposals may be resubmitted the following October.



Upon completion of a professional development assignment, the recipient must prepare a brief written report describing all professional activities during the period of the assignment, and provide an evaluation of accomplishments. The report is submitted to the department chair, who adds evaluative comments and sends these to the Director of Teaching and Learning, program area AVC and the Provost.


NOTE: Chairs/Program Directors who wish to apply for professional development assignments should initiate the process with the program area AVC, but should otherwise follow the procedures outlined above. In addition, Chairs/Program Directors are also asked to submit the name(s) of available interim replacements.



The change will provide greater clarification to the Off-Campus Scholarly Assignment Policy. It also provides for faculty input in the review/evaluation process.