Professional development leave is a period of released time from normal job responsibilities to pursue a project or activities that will significantly enhance the OA's job performance and contributions to the institution. It is a privilege of university employment. It is not a right, nor is it a reward for excellent performance or services rendered.
Eligibility: Officers of Administration must be employed full-time for at least seven (7) years in order to qualify for professional development leave. Those with less than full-time appointments, but greater than half-time, may apply after ten (10) years' employment.
Compensation: Compensation during a professional development leave varies depending on length of leave, direct benefit of project or activity to job, and contribution to the unit, but cannot exceed 60 percent of salary.
Period of Leave: Professional development leave may be approved for up to twelve (12) months and must last a minimum of one month.
Reasons for Leave: Professional development leave may be taken to pursue a project or activity that will enhance the OA's professional expertise and job performance. It is not intended for completion of academic degrees.
Application Process: To apply for a professional development leave, an OA must write a detailed proposal requesting the leave and submit it to his or her immediate supervisor. The proposal should include:
- specifics of timing (dates and duration of the leave);
- project or activities that will be conducted during the leave;
- the expected outcome(s) of the project or activity;
- reporting obligations;
- compensation requested for duration of the leave; and,
- benefit to the position, department, and institution.
The director of human resources is available for advice and consultation on proposals.
Approval Process: If the immediate supervisor approves the proposal, he or she then forwards it to the dean, director or department head for review. At any time, revisions may be discussed with the applicant. Once it is approved at the departmental level, the proposal is forwarded to the appropriate vice president for his or her approval.
Once the request is approved by the vice president, a contract outlining the conditions and expectations of the leave will be prepared and signed by the OA requesting the leave, his or her immediate supervisor or department head, and the vice president. Once this process is complete, the director of human resources is notified.
If the leave is approved, vacation hours earned will accrue and will be pro-rated if the applicant's FTE is less than 1.0; sick leave hours will not accrue regardless of the applicant's FTE.
A request for professional development leave may be denied if the absence will result in the work of the position not being covered, will diminish the quality of departmental services, or if the outcome(s) or benefit(s) to the department or institution do not balance the loss created by the absence.
After the Leave: After the leave is completed, the OA must submit a written report as described in his or her original proposal to either the immediate supervisor or the department head or both. The OA is obligated to remain with the institution at least one full year following the leave.