Support for Faculty Professional Development Activities


While ongoing professional development activities are part of the normal expectations of faculty, this document provides a mechanism by which the College and its academic units can provide support (in the form of course releases, funds to attend seminars, etc.) for faculty to engage in relatively major professional development activities that will significantly enhance their teaching and/or research capabilities.


The following policies apply to the granting of support for faculty professional development activities:

  1. Subject to budget constraints and other considerations described in this document, the College will provide administrative course releases and/or funds for faculty to engage in activities that will enhance their skills with respect to research methodology or teaching methodology.
  2. Academic units of the College are expected to provide support for faculty to engage in activities that will enhance/update their knowledge of the content of a particular subject area.

    Such support may be provided from the following sources:

    (a) In the normal teaching load assignment process, a faculty member may be assigned a lower teaching load than would otherwise be assigned. This would not reduce the average teaching load requirement for faculty in the academic unit.

    (b) Funds from the academic unit’s operating budget, indirect cost recoveries from externally funded projects in the academic unit, and GSU Foundation funds belonging to the academic unit may be used to support faculty development activities in accordance with policies and restrictions governing the use of each of these types of funds.

    Note: Hereafter, time off from teaching is referred to as “course releases” regardless of the administrative source of the support.
  3. Over the long run, the support provided by each academic unit for professional development of its faculty should approximately match the support for professional development provided by the College for faculty in that unit.
  4. Normally, course releases for professional development will not be available in the summer quarter. However, professional development activities may be undertaken during the summer quarter for which course releases are granted during quarters of the academic year. Also, funds to attend seminars or to support other professional development activities may be available during the summer quarter.
  5. When course releases are provided for faculty to audit courses, the ratio of courses audited to course releases granted should be approximately two-to-one.
  6. In preparing a request for support of activities to develop skills with respect to teaching methodology or research methodology, faculty should consult with the chair of the RCB Faculty Development Committee for guidance on resources that are available.
  7. Grades and other evaluative feedback that faculty might receive in various professional development activities (such as in auditing a class) will be reported to the faculty member only. The faculty member may, at his or her discretion, share that information with administrators.
  8. Faculty receiving support for professional development will be required to submit a written report on the activities actually undertaken and their expected value to the academic unit and the College.


Faculty seeking support to engage in professional development activities should put their request in a memorandum addressed to the head of their academic unit. If the request involves one or more course releases, the memorandum must be submitted by March 1 preceding the academic year in which the first course release is requested.

The request should describe:

  1. The objective of the professional development activity and how it relates to the goals of the faculty member, as well as to the needs/goals of the academic unit.
  2. The specific professional development activity(s) which the faculty member intends to undertake.
  3. A schedule for when the activity(s) will be begun and completed.
  4. The number of course releases requested, if any, and the quarter(s) in which they are requested. The amount of funds requested, if any, and the quarter(s) in which the funds will be required.

The head of the academic unit will evaluate the merits of the request as well as the impact of providing any requested course releases on the ability of the unit to accomplish its teaching, research, and service mission. If the head of the academic unit judges that the request does not merit support, he or she will inform the faculty member in writing of that decision.

If the head of the academic unit judges that the request merits support, he or she will then determine:

  1. when the requested support can be provided, given workload and other considerations within the unit, and
  2. whether the requested support should be provided by the College or by the academic unit (based on the above policies).

If the requested support should be provided by the College, the head of the academic unit will forward the request to the Dean with a cover memorandum indicating the unit head’s support for the request. In evaluating the request, the Dean may ask for input from relevant sources, including the Faculty Development Committee, the coordinator of the doctoral QRM sequence, and the instructor for BA 920.

If the requested support should be provided by the academic unit, the head of the unit must determine how to provide the support using one of the sources identified above. The unit head should inform the Dean of the support provided by the unit for development of its faculty.

Regardless of the source of support for professional development, the faculty member will submit a written report to the head of his or her academic unit within three months after completion of the quarter in which the support is received. The report should describe the professional development activities actually undertaken and specifically how these activities are expected to enhance the faculty member’s future contributions to the academic unit and College. The report will be forwarded to the Dean.

(Recommended by the Executive Committee 5/93 and Faculty Affairs Committee 7/93)