Resources, Policies & Forms

Professional Development Leave


Professional development leave shall be made available to employees who meet the requirements set forth below. Such leaves are granted to increase employee’s value to the University through enhanced opportunities for professional renewal, educational travel study, formal education, research, writing, or other experience of professional value, not as a reward for service.

Types of Professional Development Leave

This year, the University will make available at least one (1) professional development leave at full pay for one (1) semester or its equivalent (for example, leave at half pay for two (2) semesters), for each twenty (20) eligible employees, subject to the conditions set forth below.

Eligibility for Professional Development Leave

Full-time regular (visiting employees are not eligible) employees with three (3) or more years of service shall be eligible for professional development leaves, except those employees who are serving in tenure-earning or tenured positions. An employee who is compensated through a contract or grant may receive a professional development leave only if the contract or grant allows for such leaves and the employee meets all other requirements.

Application and Selection

  1. All applicants will complete the designated Professional Development Leave/Application attached to this document.
  2. Each application for Professional Development Leave will be evaluated by a Professional Development Leave Committee. Each college/unit with applicants for a professional development leave shall establish a committee of peers to evaluate the applications received by that unit. This committee shall be established by the mechanisms stipulated for creating faculty committees via the faculty governance documents of the colleges/units. If no such procedure exists the dean/ accountable officer shall select a committee based on nominations received by the faculty. These committees will evaluate each application based on the following criteria.
    1. Specificity – The applicant should state clearly the nature of the activity for which the leave is requested, what objectives are to be accomplished, how the objectives are to be accomplished, and the professional benefits expected to accrue to the individual and to the unit.
    2. Feasibility – Given the nature of the request as outlined in (a) above, the applicant should explain in detail how this activity practically can be accomplished. For example, questions such as the following should be addressed:
      1. Can the activity be completed during the term of leave, if granted?
      2. Has the funding been secured for any travel (domestic or international), equipment, or supplies, which may be necessary for completion of the proposed activity?
    3. Desirability – Information should be provided to enable the Committee to determine whether completion of this activity would be of value to the professional development of the individual and to the University.
    4. Productivity Improvement – Statements should be included which identify how the proposed activity is expected to improve the productivity of the applicant’s department or function.

  3. No more than one (1) employee in each department/unit need be granted leave at the same time.

Terms of Professional Development Leave

  1. The employee must return to University employment for at least one (1) academic year following the conclusion of such leave. Agreements to the contrary must be reduced to writing prior to participation. Return to the university the salary received during the program may be required in those instances where neither of the above is satisfied.
  2. An employee who fails to spend the time as stated in the application shall reimburse the University for the salary received during such leave.
  3. Employee shall not normally be eligible for a second professional development leave until three (3) years of continuous service are completed following the previous leave.
  4. The employee must provide a brief written report of the employee’s accomplishments during the professional development leave to the President or representative upon return to the University.
  5. Contributions normally made by the University to retirement and Social Security programs shall be continued on a basis proportional to the salary received. University contributions normally made to employee insurance programs and any other employee benefit programs shall be continued during the professional development leave.
  6. Eligible employees shall continue to accrue annual (if eligible) and sick leave on a full-time basis during the professional development leave.
  7. While on leave, an employee shall be permitted to receive funds for travel and living expenses, and other professional development leave-related expenses, from sources other than the University such as fellowships, grants-in-aid, and contracts and grants, to assist in accomplishing the purposes of the professional development leave. Receipt of funds for such purposes shall not result in reduction of the employee’s University salary. Grants for such financial assistance from other sources may, but need not, be administered through the University. If financial assistance is received in the form of salary, the University salary shall normally be reduced by the amount necessary to bring the total income of the professional development leave period to a level comparable to the employee’s current year salary rate. In the event that the employee receives a reduced pay professional development leave, any salary supplement received through USF (e.g., a grant/contract) must be from participation in an activity that facilitates or contributes to the accomplishment of the objectives of the professional development leave. Employment unrelated to the purpose of the professional development leave is governed by the provisions of USF-UFF Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 20 Conflict of Interest and Outside Activity.