Professional Development

Why it Matters

Donnelly’s Professional Development Program is intended to enable faculty, staff and administrators to better serve students by increasing knowledge and skills and to progress professionally in individual disciplines. The program also seeks to foster an atmosphere wherein learning is valued and shared among colleagues. Donnelly College will provide resources necessary to support a commitment to ongoing professional development.

All faculty – full -time, part-time, and adjunct – are eligible to participate in the program. Program participation is voluntary, but funding preference will be given to those who have developed an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both individual development and career advancement. Professional development encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from formal coursework to conferences and webinars, to informal learning opportunities situated in professional or pedagogical practice.

Committee Charter

Purpose: The purpose of the Professional Development Committee at Donnelly College is to promote and enable the ongoing development of faculty by:

  • Creating and promoting opportunities for in-house development
  • Disseminating information about external opportunities
  • Overseeing processes for requesting and using funds for these activities
  • Remaining in touch with the professional development needs of the faculty and helping connect faculty with resources to meet those needs

Chairperson: Committee members will elect a full-time faculty member as chair-elect by a majority vote, for a term of one year. During the subsequent year, the chair-elect will assume the role of committee chair. In the event that the chair-elect cannot fulfill the responsibilities of the chair, the incoming chair-elect becomes the chair, and special election may be held for a new chair-elect. Elections will take place each year before the end of the spring semester.

Membership: Membership is open to any faculty interested in learning about and promoting Professional Development at Donnelly College.

Meeting Schedule: Minimum three meetings per semester.

Accountability: Regarding communication, the PD Committee reports activities and opportunities as a standing agenda item at all Faculty Senate meetings. Regarding administration, the committee works with the VPAA to see that PD needs are met and to oversee fund usage.

Communication Processes and Timelines: The committee ensures that

  • Opportunities for in-house/local/national/online professional development, including deadlines for IDPs and research release opportunities, are regularly shared.
  • Faculty are annually updated regarding the funds in their personal professional development accounts.
  • All forms and processes regarding professional development (including how to request funds and time out of the office) are clear and readily available to all faculty.

Requirements at Donnelly College

Every full-time faculty member is required to fill out an Individual Development Plan (IDP) at least once per academic year. Deadlines are October 1 and March 1. The IDP lists your plans and aspirations for Professional Development activities for the year.

Because professional development varies so much from field-to-field, you should speak with your immediate supervisor about what types of activities are appropriate to your field, rank and ambitions.

Participating in Professional Development

Professional development varies enormously from field to field, and includes any activity that enhances or aids individuals in performing their duties in any teaching, research or service capacity at Donnelly College. 

Professional development activities may include but are not limited to the following:

Professional Organization Activities

  • Membership and participation
  • Attending, organizing or presenting at conferences, seminars, or workshops
  • Meeting professional licensure and/ or continuing education requirements
  • Research or consulting for professional organizations

Authoring and/or reviewing professional articles

  • Research, Scholarship, and Service Activities
  • Conducting basic research
  • Conducting applied research
  • Community organization participation and service
  • College service activities organization and participation

Professional Collaboration

  • Improvement and Enhancement of Teaching and Pedagogy
  • Developing instructional objectives and materials
  • Planning and developing new courses
  • Improving teaching styles and strategies
  • Understanding learning styles
  • Developing effective tests
  • Developing grading techniques
  • Preventing academic dishonesty
  • Improving classroom management
  • Promoting critical thinking
  • Developing collaborative learning techniques
  • Teaching inclusivity
  • Course/curriculum development
  • Providing and receiving feedback
  • Teaching a variety of courses

Teaching and Technology Activities

  • Course management efforts (Moodle)
  • Designing/adapting courses for online delivery
  • Using computer hardware related to online teaching
  • Using computer software related to online teaching
  • Determining ways to assess online student progress
  • Selecting appropriate online teaching and learning methods
  • Conducting online discussions
  • Using blogs, wikis, and social networking in teaching
  • Developing and publishing podcasts

Here are some additional resources, divided by field:

Individuals with questions about what counts as professional development should contact the current Chair of the Professional Development Committee.


Applying & Using Professional Development Funds

  1. Fill out an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and submit it to immediate supervisor. The IDP deadline is March 1 (all full-time faculty are required to submit an IDP by that deadline).
  2. Fill out a Travel Request Form; the form should be signed by your immediate supervisor, who should then submit to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
                   a. To apply for advance funds to cover travel and conference registration, please indicate this on the Travel Request Form, then complete a Purchase Order (PO). Your immediate supervisor should initial the PO, which will then be submitted to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. 
  3. While traveling, the applicant should save all receipts. 
  4. Upon return, the applicant must complete a Travel Reimbursement Form and submit a final PO and for all the expenses incurred (again, initialed by immediate supervisor and signed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. If an advance was received prior to travel, the amount of the advance is deducted from the total receipts on this final PO.) Form, PO and receipts should be submitted within 30 business days.  
  5. Submit the Record of Professional Development to immediate supervisor within 30 business days. 

    Questions? Problems? Please feel free to contact the Business Office or the current Chair of the Professional Development Committee. Every full-time faculty members receives $750 at the beginning of each academic year for professional development. The maximum allowance allowed in each full-time faculty professional development account is $2,250.

Adjunct Faculty can request professional development funds by completing the steps below:

  1. Fill out a Professional Development Funds Request Form and submit it to your Department Chairperson.
  2. Once approved, please follow the same process for full-time faculty listed above (steps 2-5).


Donnelly College’s Professional Development Committee fosters an environment of faculty, staff and administrator commitment to professional development. The Committee works to aid faculty, staff and administrators to meet the needs of Donnelly’s students, to improve employee knowledge in their fields and to identify and provide in the case of professional needs.  To help ensure effectiveness in our respective positions with current knowledge and skills, the Committee provides clear faculty professional development expectations and provides an understanding of the resources available to meet expectations.

The committee strives to provide knowledge of “industry standards” with respect to academic professional development and provides faculty in particular with opportunities and access to opportunities critical to achieve rank and promotions in accordance with the Rank and Promotions committee requirements.

Those interested in serving on the Professional Development Committee should contact the current Chair of the Committee or their immediate supervisor for more information.