Title: Staff Development
Based on Policy:
5.01 - Staff and Program Development
Office of Primary Responsibility: Vice President for Administrative Services
To describe the types of staff/professional development activities available to employees, the role of the Staff and Professional Development (SPD) Committee, and the process of applying for professional development funding
The college values employees who are current in their practice and job skills and makes every effort to support employees’ professional growth. This is accomplished by providing on-site professional development activities, funding seminars, workshops and training opportunities, and supporting staff members who wish to return to college to further their education.
A standing college committee known as the SPD Committee coordinates professional development activities and administers funds allocated for staff/professional development. The committee is comprised of employees from each of the college’s employment classifications: administrative, faculty, professional, and career service. The chairperson and committee members are appointed annually by the vice president for administrative services. This committee meets monthly (or more frequently as needed) throughout the year for the following purposes:
- Recommend staff/professional development activities and assist in the planning and coordination of such activities as needed
- Review applications for funding
- Develop guidelines and procedures.
Note: SPD procedures will be reviewed annually
Committee meetings will be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
- Staff/professional development activities
- The SPD Committee will develop a schedule of monthly professional development activities for faculty.
- The SPD Committee will plan and coordinate an annual college-wide professional development event.
- The SPD Committee will maintain awareness of professional development opportunities and promote appropriate activities to employees, working closely with the Corporate and Continuing Education Department to develop in-house programs whenever possible.
- SPD funding
All full-time employees of the college who have successfully completed the 90-day probationary period are eligible to receive SPD funding for activities as described below. Exceptions may be granted upon the supervisors' written request to allow probationary employees to participate in special job-related activities.
Part-time employees, dual enrollment instructors, and volunteers may participate in and benefit from funded activities only when participation is requested in writing by the appropriate supervisor documenting the project’s importance to the department, program, accreditation or outside agency approval.
All applications for SPD funds must be submitted, with appropriate signatures, to the SPD Committee chair. Forms listed in the following procedure are available online or from the SPD Committee chair.
- Education grants
Education grants may be awarded to applicants who are enrolled in an approved course or courses.
- Full-time employees seeking a degree or professional certification must have an Educational Program Plan (EPP) approved in advance by their immediate supervisor and administrative supervisor (if immediate supervisor is not an administrator). To be eligible for funding, the EPP must be submitted on an SPD Educational Program Plan form along with a Request for Educational Grant form. Multi-year, long-range educational plans may be proposed, but funding will be on a term-by-term basis and subject to availability of funds.
- Employees who use SPD funds to earn baccalaureate or higher degrees or to complete multi-year, long-range professional development projects must agree to remain at the college for at least two complete fiscal years after the fiscal year in which the program was completed or to return funds under the following guidelines:
- If the employee elects to terminate employment during the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) in which the educational program is completed, then all funds expended by the college during the current fiscal year, as well as those funds expended during the previous two fiscal years shall be returned.
- If the employee elects to terminate employment during the fiscal year immediately following the fiscal year in which the educational program was completed, then all funds expended by the college during the previous two fiscal years shall be returned.
- If the employee elects to terminate employment during the second fiscal year following the year in which the educational program was completed, then all funds expended by the college during the last fiscal year of the educational program shall be returned.
- Expenditures for textbooks used in South Florida State College (SFSC) courses do not require reimbursement as outlined above if they are returned to the library immediately upon course completion.
- All funds due to the college based on the above guidelines shall be repaid prior to the employee receiving a final paycheck.
- Employees are encouraged to apply for funding and enroll in courses which are directly related to their present or future employment at the college. An EPP is not required for such job-related courses, but the Request for Educational Grant form must be submitted to the SPD Committee for consideration. To ensure consideration for funding, employees must apply for SPD funding prior to enrolling in a course.
- Funding will not be approved for courses to be taken at other institutions when equivalent courses are available at SFSC, unless scheduling conflicts make it impossible to complete the needed courses at SFSC. In such cases, the other institution(s) must be accredited a regional accrediting agency.
- Full-time employees may receive up to $1,750 per fiscal year in SPD funding for course related expenses while working on associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, or certificates and $2,500 per fiscal year for graduate and post-graduate degrees. The following guidelines apply for SPD funded course related expenses:
- Application, matriculation, tuition, student activity, health and laboratory fees may be approved for funding.
- Consumable texts, workbooks, and other course-required supplies may be approved for funding.
- Textbooks may be purchased with SPD or other college funds, but will remain college property. Textbooks purchased with SPD funds must be turned in to the library upon completion of a course. Appropriate forms for facilitating textbook purchases are included in the education grant approval packet.
- For SFSC courses, the employee must first check the library inventory for availability of textbooks. If available, the employee may borrow the textbook until completion of the course, then return it to the library. If not available, the employee may secure the textbook through the College Bookstore where it will be charged to the SPD fund.
- For courses other than those offered by SFSC, the employee may purchase textbooks and receive reimbursement from the SPD fund. Requests for reimbursement should be made to the SPD Chair. Such textbooks must also be turned in to the library upon completion of the course.
- At the discretion of the SPD chair, textbooks purchased with SPD funds that are maintained in the library’s inventory may be checked out on a long-term basis. Requests for long-term loans will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to maximize the value and use of the textbook.
- Travel and per diem expenses related to SPD funded courses will not be reimbursed.
- SPD funds will not be approved to pay for educational expenses during the same academic year in which the applicant is awarded SFSC or SFSC Foundation, Inc. managed scholarship(s) or grants-in-aid (including funds from federal sources) which equal or exceed the costs of the educational grant application. Employees who later receive scholarship(s) or grants-in-aid for SPD funded educational programs will be required to reimburse SPD in the amount funded up to the cost of the educational grant expenses.
- Funding of approved course expenses, as defined in "e" above, will be provided as follows:
- For courses taken at SFSC, an approved Request for Educational Grant form must be submitted to the Cashier's Office after course registration and to the College Bookstore when acquiring approved materials. Expenses may be charged directly to the SPD account.
- Fees for courses taken at educational institutions other than SFSC may be paid by SPD funds through one of the following arrangements:
- Employee shall provide the SPD Chair with an invoice from the institution the employee is attending stating the actual cost of the course. The invoice is approved for direct payment to the institution that the student will be attending.
- Employee shall provide proof of payment of the educational costs to the chair of the SPD Committee. Upon receiving the required documentation, the SPD chair will approve reimbursement for the employee.
- To be eligible for SPD funding, employees must successfully complete all courses by earning a grade of C or better for undergraduate courses, a grade of B or better for graduate courses, or by providing other evidence of satisfactory course completion. Withdrawal from any course, registering under audit status, or receiving an incomplete grade is not considered successful completion. Employees who do not successfully complete courses must reimburse the college for all funds received for those courses.
- Employees repeating a course previously funded by SPD will not be eligible for additional SPD funds for the repeat.
- Employees on approved professional leave, with or without pay, are eligible with proper approval to receive SPD funding for course work.
- Approval of an EPP by a supervisor or of an educational grant by the SPD Committee does not represent an authorized change in the employee's current or future employment, title or position at the college.
- It is the responsibility of each employee to obtain approval in advance from supervisory and administrative staff for necessary work schedule modifications on a term-by-term basis to participate in professional development activities, courses or programs.
- It is expected that course work will be taken at times other than during the employee’s normal work day. If no other alternative is available, a supervisor may approve a revised work schedule for the employee. However, all required work hours must be completed each week and departmental needs must be met.
- Seminars, conferences, workshops, industry training, professional meetings and other staff development activities
SPD funds may be awarded to employees to participate in seminars, conferences, workshops, industry training, professional meetings and other activities that contribute to the professional development of the individual and benefit the college. (Note: departmental funds may be available for such purposes and should be pursued prior to requesting SPD funds.)
- Funding of activities which update or upgrade professional competencies will be considered by the SPD Committee on an individual or group basis. The SPD Funding Request for Seminars, Conferences, Workshops, and Meetings form must be submitted to the committee along with a copy of the agenda (if available). Travel-related expenses, registrations, and materials are eligible for consideration under the following guidelines:
All travel costs will be paid in accordance with college policies and procedures.
Out-of-state travel will only be approved in special circumstances where the applicant can document the need to engage in the travel, document that no other college funds are available to finance the travel, and obtain written administrative approval.
Travel outside the contiguous United States requires documentation of the direct contribution and benefit of the travel and requires the approval of the president of the college.
- Pre-service and in-service activities may be considered for funding. Proposals for these activities must be submitted by the appropriate supervisor or coordinator. An evaluation component must be planned and the activities must be consistent with current institutional goals and objectives. Funds may be approved to pay for consultants, travel, materials, equipment rentals and related costs.
- Employees may participate in an approved professional development program in cooperation with a business, industry or professional organization that is designed to improve technical knowledge and skills. In such back-to-industry programs, there must be an agreement or learning contract, including itemized training costs, between the participating parties approved by the appropriate administrator.
- Employees participating in seminars, conferences, workshops, industry training, meetings and other professional development activities may be asked to share information with colleagues in a format and at a time agreed to by the supervisor.
- Funding will not be considered for a program or activity when the same program or activity is offered by SFSC, unless scheduling conflicts make it impossible to participate in the SFSC activity.
Multiple requests for the same professional meeting should be submitted as a single SPD request.
- General provisions
- To ensure consideration for funding, applications including requested documentation must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the monthly SPD Committee meeting and approved prior to the beginning of any activity.
- It is the responsibility of the employee to submit the completed application to the immediate supervisor for approval and to have all necessary forms properly completed and signed. In the case of an application submitted by multiple parties, the application must be submitted for recommendation to all of the appropriate supervisors whose employees are affected by the proposed activity.
- The SPD Committee chair has the authority to act on behalf of the committee for all educational grant requests when an approved EPP is on file. Decisions made will be summarized and presented at subsequent committee meetings.
- Each application will be reviewed on its individual merit. The committee encourages departmental financial support of applicant's requests for funding, and will give additional consideration to applications which indicate funding from multiple (other) sources.
- An employee of the college who is 100 percent funded through a contract with the college to carry out the purposes of the contracting agency shall not be eligible for SPD funding.
- An applicant must provide documentation to the SPD Committee that no grant funds are available to fund the professional development activity before consideration can be given to SPD funding.
- All expenditures, final reports, and evaluations shall be completed within 60 days of activity completion. (Requests for payment made more than 60 days after the end of the project or activity will require committee approval.)
- Periodic checks will be made by the SPD chair and supervisory personnel to determine the progress in an approved educational activity. Any concerns should be discussed with the designated vice president. If insufficient progress is being made or if the funds allocated have been too generous or insufficient, funds allocated may be appropriately adjusted.
- Approved SPD funds not obligated by the agreed upon ending date shall revert back to the general SPD fund, unless an extension is approved by the SPD Committee.
- Once approved, all activities and expenditures must be consistent with the original application. Variations in excess of $100 or 10 percent of the approved application (whichever is greater) must be requested in writing and be approved by the SPD Committee prior to implementation.
- Any materials or equipment purchased with SPD funds are the property of the college.
- If a multiple year activity is proposed, allocation of funds must be approved each fiscal year, together with an annual evaluation and progress report.
- SPD funds may be used to fund only those portions of an approved project which are not being funded by another public source.
- All payments to employees or consultants for services rendered are subject to applicable deductions.
- Employees who are approved for travel must submit travel expense requests for reimbursement according to college policies and procedures.
- The president may approve reallocation of SPD funds.
- Right to appeal for waiver
Guidelines established by the SPD Committee may be appealed. The appeal process involves:
- Completing an SPD Appeal for Waiver form and obtaining all necessary signatures.
- Submitting the form to the SPD chair for presentation to the SPD Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
- Responding to the appellant by the chair of the SPD Committee of the committee's decision within one week of the scheduled meeting.
- The following responses are possible:
- Approval of the appeal
- Approval of the appeal as revised/amended
- Appeal tabled for further research/review
- Appeal denied
- Guidelines for evaluating requests for SPD funds
Stated college priorities and the following guidelines will be used when reviewing applications for funding:
- The degree to which the planned outcomes directly support the institutional vision, mission, and core values
- The degree to which the planned outcomes are related to the program, departmental and division goals and objectives
- The degree of positive impact upon the college (immediate and long-range) of the planned outcomes, especially in relation to its projected cost
- The degree to which the planned outcomes are educationally sound, measurable and achievable
- The degree to which the planned outcomes will enhance employee job performance and skills
- The degree to which funds are available
History: Last Revised: 12/1/09
Revised: 2/6/02, 6/1/05, 12/1/09