Policies and Procedures

Review Policy: 4.08 Professional Development Assignment


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

4.08 Professional Development Assignment

Leaves of Absence

  1. The Board shall grant leaves of absence with full or partial compensation to staff members to undertake approved programs of study, research, or other professional activity which, in the judgment of the Board, will contribute to the improvement of the institutions. Any staff member granted such leave shall agree either to return to the institution granting such leave for a period of not less than two years or to repay to the state of Iowa such compensation as [the staff member] shall have received during such leave. (Code 262.9 [14])
  2. Requests for leaves of absence for personnel covered by Section 2.1.1.C. shall be submitted to the Board by the institutional executives for approval.
  3. Requests for leaves of absence for personnel covered by Section 2.1.1.D, including retired and emeritus faculty and staff, may be granted by the institutional executives and reported in the Register of Personnel Changes, except that professional development leaves shall be submitted to the Board by the institutional executives for approval.
  4. Each request for a professional development leave shall contain information as to the length of service of the individual and an estimate of additional net budgetary support necessary to finance all leaves.
  5. Each institution shall submit a yearly evaluation and report or discussion and costs regarding research assignments and professional development leaves. (Board of Regents Minutes July 14-15, 1966, p. 19; February 9-10, 1967, p. 372; March 14-15, 1968, p. 352; February 14-15, 1974, p. 538-539)

Regents' Policy Manual 2.1.4.R

Leaves of absence are granted for one academic year dependent upon departmental needs and policies. Under special circumstances, such leaves may be extended for one academic year. Leaves of absence are available to non-tenured faculty members.

University Faculty Senate, 1972-1973

TheUniversitymaygrantpaidorunpaidleavesofuptoone(1)calendaryeartocarryoutresearch/scholarly work/creativework,and/oreducationalactivitiessupportedundergrants,contracts,fellowships,or Universityresearchawards.TheUniversity,atitsdiscretion,mayrenewsucha leave.

 Faculty HandbookSubdivision 8.32

Leaves of absence require approval by the Department Head, Dean of the College (if appropriate), Provost and Executive Vice-President (or appropriate vice-president), and the President.

For a more extended discussion of professional development assignments leaves, the section with that heading should be consulted.

Professional Development Leave Assignment

A Professional Development Assignment (“PDA”)is a paid semester or academic year assignment awarded to a Faculty Member to undertake approved programs of study, research, or other professional activity. 

I. Purpose

Professional development assignments leaves of absence(hereinafter abbreviated as P.D.ALvs.) are for the purpose of encouraging professional growth and increased competence of the professional staff which will contribute to the improvement of the University of Northern Iowa. The assignments leaves may be granted for advanced study at the pre-doctoral or post-doctoral levels, for research, and for other creative work.

II. Eligibility

TenuredFacultyMembersareeligibletoapplyforaProfessionalDevelopmentAssignment. Probationary faculty after a successful third-year review are eligible to apply for professional development assignments. Priority shall be given to tenured faculty.

Except in unusual circumstances, only faculty members who are tenured at the time they file their application and who hold at least a master's degree and who have in the past demonstrated a desire for professional growth and improvement will be eligible.

III. Conditions

The staff member on assignment leave must return to his/her position, in accordance with Iowa law, or repay the full amount of compensation received while on assignment leave.

At the end of his/her assignment leave, the staff member shall make a report to the Vice-President and Provost and the Professional Development Leave Committee summarizing briefly his/her success in fulfilling his/her proposed program.

The number of leaves assignments authorized annually will be as many as staffing and appropriations permit, but the total number shall not exceed 8 percent of the tenured faculty for any single academic year.

IV. Compensation and Benefits

Compensation during the assignment leave period may not exceed one-half of the staff member's full salary for the 9-month academic year. The assignments leaves will ordinarily take the form of: a one-semester assignment leave with full salary for that semester; a two-semester assignment leave with one-half salary for the academic year.

One-Semester Professional Development  Assignments Leaves:

A faculty member on a one-semester Professional Development Assignment Leave is a full-time employee of the University and is subject to existing policies on consulting and extra compensation.

Two-Semester Professional Development  Assignments Leaves:

Faculty members on a two-semester Professional Development Assignment Leave at half-pay shall not earn total wages in excess of 100 percent of their UNI salary adjusted for cost of living in the location where they shall reside. They are considered full-time employees of the University and are subject to existing policies on consulting and extra compensation.

Faculty members who receive assignments leaves in order to pursue a terminal degree, whether for one or two semesters, may accept additional compensation in the form of grants or assistantships, provided these do the not interfere with the expected progress toward their degree as outlined in their original proposal.

If the degree is being pursued at the University of Northern Iowa, faculty members on Professional Development Assignments Leaves may not receive Graduate Assistant Stipends or Tuition Scholarships from this university.

Consequences for Failure to Adhere to the Policy on Extra Compensation:

Faculty members who do not adhere to the policies on consulting and for extra compensation during a Professional Development Assignment Leave will be ineligible for subsequent Professional Development Assignments Leaves or Summer Fellowships.

Violations may obligate the faculty member to pay the University an amount up to all salaries and benefits received during the period of the  assignment leave.

University contributions to regular retirement, group insurance, and Social Security benefits, where applicable, are to continue while the faculty member is on assignment leave. The contributions of both the faculty member and the university are to continue on the same basis as with full salary.

V. Interview with Committee

Senate action (Minutes 1022, March 22, 1971) provided that applicants for the P.D.ALv. be granted an interview with the Committee if requested.

VI. Administration of the Program

The authorization of P.D.ALvs. will be dealt with by the university as an integral part of the total process of recruitment, orientation, assignment, promotion and compensation of staff. Hence, the P.D.ALv. program will be administered by the Executive Vice-President and Provostfor Academic Affairs or designee (serving as chair)through the usual departmental and college channels, with the assistance of a special P.D.ALv. committee whose responsibility it shall be to make recommendations to the Vice-President and Provost concerning the acceptability of proposals submitted by staff members desiring leave and the priority among acceptable proposals for any given semester or academic year. The composition of the Committee shall be as follows (Senate Minutes No. 1008): (1) Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provostor his designee, non-votingChair; (2) one member of the instructional faculty from each undergraduate college selected by the membersof theCollege Senate; (3) one member of the faculty who does not have a college affiliation appointed by the Vice-President and Provost. Members will serve three-year staggered terms. None of the members (selected by the college) may succeed him/herself more than once.

A faculty member desiring a P.D.ALv. will submit an electronic application form, describing his/her proposed program of study or research and carrying the comments of his/her department head, to the College Dean of his/her College who will refer it to the Vice-President and Provost. All applications will be referred to the P.D.ALv. committee for analysis and recommendation. Before the leave assignmentis finally authorized it must have been recommended by the P.D.ALv. committee and approved by the Department Head, College Dean. Vice-President and Provost, President, and State Board of Regents.

A report will be made periodically to the Board of Regents, state of Iowa concerning assignments leaves granted and programs carried out during the leave.

Procedure For Handling Professional Development Assignments Leaves

  1. Applicants submit the electronic application form found on the UNI Graduate Collegewebpage.The electronic application form requires approval from the department head, college dean and the Office of the Graduate College.
  2. The committee reviews the applications as they are received over a period of several weeks. The committee may request additional information from applicants if they feel the statements on the application forms are incomplete or unclear. The Vice-President and Provost, non-voting chairman of the committee, also seeks to gather any additional information the committee members may wish.
  3. Voting members of the committee acting independently rate each application in one of three categories.
  4. Category I--proposals which seem to deserve support as soon as possible.
  5. Category II--proposalswhich may deserve support but some processes/merits are undefined.
  6. Category III--proposals that should not be supported.
  7. The committee then rank orders all proposals based on the numerical ratings above and discusses until it reaches a consensus.

The number of assignments leaves granted is ultimately decided by the Provost based on the ability of the university to sustain the cost associated with the assignments leaves. The incremental cost to the university, of course, is the net cost of replacement since it is a paid leave program for faculty members.

  1. The Professional Development Assignment Leave Committee "makes its recommendations to the Vice-President and Provost concerning the acceptability of proposals submitted by faculty staffmembers desiring assignments leave and their priority among acceptable proposals for any semester, or academic year." (Section 6 of Policy approved by Faculty Senate and Board of Regents.)
  2. The Vice-President and Provost consults department heads and deans concerning the necessity of replacement of applicants. The Office of the Vice President and Provost informs the chairman of the committee how far down the list of recommended candidates the funds available will allow for allocation us to go. The number of replacements needed determines the commitment of funds of the university to support the program.
  3. The list of recommended grantees is taken to the Board of Regents alongwith a report that describes each a description of the project to be undertaken which the faculty member proposes to undertake. When the Board approves the assignments leaves, the grantees are notified faculty members are so informed. Those who have not been approved for assignments leave are also notified informed and their applications are returned to them. (Applicants are informally notified of the recommendations sent to the Board of Regents approximately ten days before the Board meeting. Each applicant is formally notified by letter from his or her college dean after Board action.)

 The members of the Professional Development Assignment Leave Committee review their procedures every year and make changes which are designed to make the selection process as equitable as possible.

Policy 4.08: Professional Development Red Line Version

Vice President and Provost


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Review Policy: 4.08 Professional Development Assignment