Professional Development is the continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to one’s profession, job responsibilities, or work environment. It plays a key role in maintaining trained, informed, and motivated employees, regardless of job classification.
Requirements and Guidelines
Austin Community College encourages its employees to participate in professional development activities and provides a number of resources through which these activities may be completed. The objectives of professional development are to help employees enhance their job skills, obtain job-related knowledge and information, increase productivity and efficiency, and/or prepare for higher-level positions. In the case of faculty members, it also provides an opportunity for classroom skill enhancement and increased knowledge in their specific academic discipline.
Professional development activities may include, but are not limited to, credit and non-credit courses (classroom or online), workshops, seminars, teleconferences, and audio-visual materials, as long as the activity is pre-approved by the individual’s supervisor.
Procedures and Guidelines:
The following are intended to answer questions supervisors and employees may have concerning Administrative Rule # 6.07.002.
- An employee should meet with his or her supervisor to develop a plan of training topics needed for the academic year.
- New employees hired after the beginning of the fiscal year must complete one (1) clock hour of professional development per month of service.
- Employees may use their tuition vouchers to fulfill professional development activities; supervisors may not, however, mandate the the use of vouchers for this purpose.
- Professional development activities may include, but are not limited to, credit and non-credit courses, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, audio-visual materials, grant writing projects, and reading or publishing in journals, as long as the activity is approved by the individual’s supervisor.
- Participation in any professional development activity should not result in overtime pay for staffing table employees.
- Employees, with the approval of their supervisors, may undertake professional development activities during work time. If an educational activity for a professional technical employee is only available after work hours, he or she should meet with his or her supervisor to arrange a schedule adjustment according to the college compensatory time policy for exempt employees (AR#6.10.012).
- Those employed by the College in more than one position should coordinate their professional development requirement with their supervisors.
- If an employee is required to participate in a non-ACC sponsored professional development activity, the department must underwrite the cost of the activity.
- Supervisors will maintain a record of the professional development hours completed by their employees. The Professional Development and Evaluations Programs Office will maintain records for all employees in the Workshop and Event Registration database. In addition, all employees should maintain records of their own professional development activities.
- It is recommended that employees seek prior approval from their supervisor for their activities, because prior approval is required for an activity to count as professional development. After the activity has been completed, employees should submit to their supervisor completion documentation which the supervisor deems appropriate.
- Under no circumstances should an employee with an evaluation of “Good” or better (for faculty) or overall “Meets/Exceeds Requirements” (for staff) be penalized for not following his or her initial professional development plan. The purpose of the professional development plan is for the employee and supervisor to identify areas needing improvement or growth. New opportunities may present themselves, the availability of workshops may change, and/or other events may arise which result in the original plan no longer being the best course of action. Whether or not the professional development plan changes, an individual must still complete the requisite number of hours of professional development.
- It is expected that the supervisor will approve of any reasonable professional development activity that the employee undertakes. Should a situation arise in which the employee and his or her supervisor are unable to agree on what constitutes a reasonable professional development activity, the matter should be taken to the next-level supervisor. The decision of the next-level supervisor is final.
- Failure to meet these requirements will typically be reflected in the employee’s annual evaluation.