Policy Name: Faculty/Academic Staff Professional Enhancement
Date Approved: Approved by the Board of Regents on December 3, 1985
Policy Category: Board of Governors - Employment Terms, Classifications, and Benefits
Policy Number: 2.2.050
Date Last Revised: November 7, 2022
Approval Authority: Board of Governors
Higher education at the University of Central Missouri has to do with the shaping and forming of people into productive members of society. Innovative and sophisticated programs along with attractive physical facilities are simply supportive means to educational ends. In the final analysis we must conclude that it is people who impact people, and faculty/academic staff influence student development more than any other component of the learning process. It follows then that if our ultimate task is the growth of students, and if faculty/academic staff is the dominant force in student development, we must make the development of our instructional staff a part of the central theme in our priorities.
Given the current state of affairs in higher education in Missouri, we must give vigilant attention to creating and maintaining vitality at the University of Central Missouri. It is certainly possible that faculty development and even retraining may occasionally become important. Through careful and cooperative efforts we can find new linkages between our concepts of professional enhancement and our institutional goals, and must do so under the threatening presence and restrictions of diminishing resources. Successful efforts to merge aggressive scholarship with good teaching can only produce good benefits for the university, its staff and its students.
During the past several years, new emphasis has emerged at the University of Central Missouri in support of faculty/academic staff enhancement. It is now time to formalize the activities and to define procedures which will encourage continuation in this direction. Some opportunities already exist at UCM through which faculty/academic staff-professional enhancement occurs. The purpose of this document is to present comprehensive guidelines regarding professional enhancement at UCM.
The UCM plan being proposed is multi-faceted and flexible and is deliberately left with enough open ends so that refinements may be inserted as the needs of faculty/academic staff and the institution are defined. It is not the intent of this document to preclude individual or other corporate plans which are not herein specified.
Accordingly, faculty/academic staff members are also encouraged to apply for grants, fellowships or contracts funded by external agencies (and paid through the institution).
An academic leave is defined as absence from regular academic duties at the University of Central Missouri in excess of two weeks for the purpose of promoting scholarly and/or creative professional enhancement.
Academic leaves are granted to enhance the individual, thereby improving the overall educational environment of the university. The granting of academic leaves will be based on the expectation that the faculty/academic staff member will utilize the period for professional growth and development as related to the individual's UCM academic assignment and goals. Some appropriate goals for academic leaves include: to add knowledge in the academic field, to enhance teaching effectiveness, to broaden fields of competency, and/or to acquire other valuable professional experience. Application for academic leave must be made in writing, by the individual concerned, to the provost through the appropriate offices as listed on the “Request for Academic Leave Sheet.” Any academic leave and the conditions under which it is granted must have the written approval of the provost.
Those eligible for academic leaves are faculty, librarians and professional staff assigned to the division of Academic Affairs.
Typically, each faculty/academic staff member must have served the university for a period of at least two years of full-time service before becoming eligible for any type of academic leave, unless program/university needs dictate otherwise. Before becoming eligible to apply for a second academic leave, recipients of academic leaves are expected to serve the university for at least one year on a full-time basis after completing the leave. With approval, academic leaves may be extended but the total may not exceed two calendar years. University funding for a second year of an extended academic leave would only be considered at the request of the university to meet program needs.
A recipient of an academic leave shall not accept employment for the period of that leave, except in cases where such employment is a part of the leave proposal or is made in order to increase professional competence. A recipient of an academic leave may hold a scholarship, a fellowship or receive other grants. Details of these should be included in the proposal or be approved by the provost if arranged subsequent to the granting of the academic leave.
The university will continue to pay life and disability insurance costs for the faculty/academic staff member and continue to provide health benefit opportunities to the faculty/academic staff member during maximally-funded university academic leaves. A faculty/academic staff member who is awarded a leave of absence with compensation provided for in the contract of employment, and that compensation to be not less than 50 percent of the amount which would have been paid if the member had not been on leave of absence, will be considered as rendering full-time service in terms of retirement consideration. Any such person will retain continued membership in the retirement system, receiving credit for the time spent on leave provided that full contributions are withheld and remitted on the basis of the compensation which would have been paid if the faculty/academic staff member had not been on leave of absence. If a faculty/academic staff member is awarded an unfunded or partially-funded academic leave, the university shall offer that individual the opportunity to make payment to and receive coverage under as many fringe benefits which the faculty/academic staff member would otherwise hold, as is allowed. Arrangements for special consideration must be negotiated prior to the acceptance of academic leave.
Recipients of academic leaves will return to the university with at least the academic rank/salary existing at the time the leave began, unless agreements to the contrary are arranged in advance. The effects of the various types of academic leave on salary, promotion and tenure considerations are presented in the sections of this document describing the respective leaves. Recipients of university-funded academic leaves are expected to return to the University of Central Missouri and serve for at least one academic year for each year or partial year of leave following the completion of the leave. Recipients of academic leave for the academic year must advise the provost by March 1, (during their year of leave) of their intention to return or not to return for the following academic year. Recipients who receive UCM funding for academic leave but fail to complete the expected full-time service following completion of leave must repay the university the amount of UCM's support in proportion to the amount of time remaining in the term of required service.
Decisions regarding academic leave requests will be based on the strength of application materials submitted, the availability of funds, the length of time since previous receipt of academic leave, the ability with which the department can cope during the absence of a staff member, the needs of the university and how well the leave proposal matches the goals of the academic leave program. Certain leaves may be designated to meet specific needs of the university.
The following types of academic leaves are identified at the University of Central Missouri: study leaves, research leaves, exchange and other professional enhancement leaves, and sabbatical leaves. Specific information on each is outlined below:
Study leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff to assist in the formal plan of academic study deemed desirable by both the university and the individual to work toward the completion of an appropriate terminal degree, to broaden fields of competency, to add to knowledge in the academic field, or for purposes of retraining (i.e., to prepare for a career change to meet particular individual and/or university needs). Remuneration for a UCM funded academic year study leave is computed by multiplying eight percent of the previous academic years salary times the number of years of full-time service at the University of Central Missouri since the receipt of the last funded study leave, research leave, or sabbatical leave, not to exceed one-half of the previous academic year's salary. The amount of funded summer study leave is not to exceed one-half of the summer salary which would be earned if employed full-time in the summer. In instances where study leaves are granted primarily to meet university needs, funding may exceed the above-mentioned limits. Leaves shorter than three months will be considered for funding on a proportional basis. Normally, study leave time will not count as fulfilling any portion of the probationary period of full-time service before tenure is granted. If requested by the applicant and recommended by the department chair and the college dean, the Professional Enhancement Committee may deem it appropriate to forward a recommendation that time spent on study leave can be applied toward the minimum time limits for consideration for promotion -- agreements and understandings of this nature must be clarified at the time the study leave is approved. Time spent on study leaves requested by the university, and designated by the university for purposes of retraining to meet university needs, will count toward seniority and the minimum time limits for consideration for promotion.
Research leaves are granted to faculty/academic staff for non-thesis research in the academic area (or related areas) of the individual. The research proposals will be evaluated based on their potential for adding to the knowledge in a particular academic field. Funds for research leaves may be granted by the University of Central Missouri or by an outside agency such as a government, business or philanthropic organization. Research leaves funded by UCM will be reviewed by the Research Council through an open invitation to submit proposals as funds are available. All proposals for research leaves should be submitted to the Research Counsel by October 15. Recommendations for research leaves from the Research Council will be processed through the Professional Enhancement Committee as are other leave requests. Proposals for research leaves funded by UCM and unfunded research leaves should include a need statement, project design, goals/objectives, time/work schedule, evaluation component and a line-item budget. If funding is sought through an outside agency, the applicant should submit a proper proposal to the appropriate agency. If requested by the applicant and recommended by the department chair and the college dean, the Professional Enhancement Committee may deem it appropriate to forward a recommendation that time spent on research leaves can be applied toward the minimum time limits for consideration for tenure and/or promotion -- agreements and understandings of this nature must be clarified at the time the research leave is approved.
A. General It is recommended that a Professional Enhancement Committee sharing responsibility with the Center for Teaching and Learning be established. It will be the responsibility of this committee to promote professional growth of the faculty/academic staff at UCM. The committee will recommend policy to the provost and oversee the selection, supervision and evaluation of activities covered in this document (see Section B for further discussion of the committee's functions). Additionally, this committee will actively support general teaching improvement and coordinate the various activities listed below and such other activities as may be initiated and approved later. The Center for Teaching and Learning will provide staff and operational support for the Professional Enhancement Committee as the need arises.
B. Structure and Responsibilities of Professional Enhancement Committee
A university-wide faculty/academic staff professional travel fund has been established, under the administration of the provost, to encourage active faculty/academic staff participation in professional meetings.
This component of the faculty travel program is intended to encourage faculty/academic staff to present a paper, to be a program panelist, to present a performance, to chair a session or panel, to complete legislative office functions of a professional organization, to be a critic, juror, commentator or discussant. Such requests normally will not be for activities of more than two weeks duration.
Evidence of official notification should accompany application forms. It is assumed that the applicant will have applied for departmental and college funds before making application for this supplemental travel funding. The Professional Enhancement Committee will rank these requests and make recommendations to the provost.
The following criteria will be used as a guideline for authorizing an equitable distribution of the fund:
A. A faculty/academic staff member who attends a meeting or conference to present a paper, participate on a panel, present a musical or dramatic performance, exhibit original works of art, or otherwise present original scholarly or creative endeavors, may apply for money from this fund to assist in covering expenses. The amount granted for any given meeting or conference will not exceed $500. Faculty/academic staff members who meet this criterion shall be given first priority in the allocation of money from the fund.
B. A faculty/academic staff member who attends a meeting or conference as an officer or delegate of the sponsoring association at the level at which the meeting is being held (as, for instance, a national officer or delegate to a national meeting, or as an international delegate or officer to an international meeting) may apply for money from this fund to assist in covering travel expenses. The amount granted for any given meeting or conference will not exceed $500. Faculty/academic staff members meeting this criterion shall be given second priority in the allocation of money from the fund.
C. A faculty/academic staff member who attends a meeting or conference to serve as a session or panel chair, as a commentator or discussant, as a critic or juror, or as a program participant in a similar capacity, may apply for money from this fund to assist in covering travel expenses. The amount granted for any given meeting or conference will not exceed $300. Faculty/academic staff members who meet this criterion shall be given third priority in the allocation of money from the fund.
D. Only faculty/academic staff members who meet at least one of the three criteria listed above shall be eligible to receive money from this fund.
E. Normally, faculty/academic staff members will not receive more than $500 from this fund to travel to any given meeting, even if he/she meets more than one of the three criteria.
F. Normally, faculty/academic staff members will not receive more than $500 from this fund during the course of an academic year.
G. Any application for money from this fund must be approved by the faculty/academic staff member’s department chair, college dean or other appropriate supervisor.
There are occasions when a faculty/academic staff member and the university would be well served by this person's attendance at a special educational event. In addition, it is frequently very helpful for faculty/academic staff who aspire to publish in the journal of a particular organization, or to make a presentation at a meeting of that organization, to first attend a meeting of the organization. This fund is established to respond to the kinds of needs described in the preceding examples. Because this fund is designed to meet variable needs, the criteria for qualification and selection are by necessity less definitive. Thus, the actual process for selection of recipients is left much to the Professional Enhancement Committee as it views the faculty and program needs in each case. The following criteria will be used as guidelines for authorizing distribution of this fund:
A. A faculty/academic staff member who wishes to attend a conference or workshop to develop new skills or prepare for publication/presentation with a specific organization may qualify for resources from this fund.
B. The level of appropriateness to the department of the new skill will be a major factor in consideration of these resource awards.
C. The specificity of the plan to utilize this new skill and the potential for success in accomplishing related goals will also be a factor in consideration of these awards.
D. The maximum level of award per faculty per year from this fund is $500.
E. This fund is targeted at stimulating faculty into new areas of activity. Thus, as an example, faculty who have not given a presentation to a professional meeting would be considered before faculty who already have had that experience.
F. Any application for money from this fund must be approved by the faculty/academic staff members department chair, college dean or other appropriate supervisor. Included with the application must be a careful plan and supporting data which best builds the case for the request.
In order to plan for a fair and consistent distribution of all faculty/academic staff travel funds, the following guidelines and procedures will be utilized by the Professional Enhancement Committee and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs:
A. Faculty will be invited to submit requests for professional travel anticipated between July 1 and December 1 by June 1 or for professional travel anticipated between January 1 and June 30 by December 1. The Professional Enhancement Committee will maintain a very small contingency fund with which the committee can at least consider some support for unplanned situations of importance.
B. In the event the total amount requested exceeds the amount available in any of the funds, money generally will be allocated in a proportionate manner as determined by the best professional judgment of the Professional Enhancement Committee. In this event relative expense of the meeting, funding available from other sources and importance of the meeting to the university will be among factors considered in making this judgment.
C. Applicants should submit requests using forms available in the dean's office.
D. Department chairs and college deans will assume the responsibility for verifying supporting documentation submitted regarding the level of priority suggested for each request.
E. Applicants, department chairs and deans will be informed regarding the maximum amount authorized from this fund.
F. Applicants have the responsibility of notifying the Office of the Provost (via department chairs and deans) whenever significant changes or cancellation of travel plans occur (in this way it will be possible to reallocate unused funds).
G. Recipients of grants from this fund should request reimbursement for actual costs (not to exceed the amount authorized) following completion of the trip. A “Travel Expense Voucher” form (with copies of receipts) must be routed to the Office of the Provost via the offices of the appropriate department chair and dean within 10 days after return from the professional meeting or conference.