PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND
Revised Approved by President's Council 3/3/08
Faculty can earn Professional Development Funds (PDF) for a number of reasons, including teaching writing to learn sections, teaching off-campus, etc. Because faculty do not pay taxes on the funds and the money remains a part of the State of Kansas funds, certain policies and rules control the expenditures from the Professional Development Account. These funds are held in a combined account with the Office of Continuing and Graduate Studies. All expenditures are processed through that Office for approval and for accounting purposes.
PDF can be used for items and/or experiences that will assist instructors in performing their assigned appointments at Pittsburg State University. These funds can be used to purchase equipment; supplies; professional memberships; publications; enrollment in higher education degree courses; and travel to professional meetings, conferences, or research assignments. Certain monthly service fees can be refunded from the PDF, but only after the coverage period has passed.
Expenditures from the PDF must follow the State of Kansas and Pittsburg State University purchasing guidelines. The process of purchasing, traveling, or receiving reimbursement is similar to that of an academic department account. The appropriate paperwork, Department Purchase Requisition (DPR), Travel Expense Detail, or Request for Out-of-State Travel (Travel Minute) is routed through the Continuing and Graduate Studies Office for approval by the dean of Continuing and Graduate Studies. The Unit Name and Account number information should remain blank. Included in the description should be the statement: "Professional Development Funds for (Faculty's Full Name) for the classroom use." Requests that have not been approved will be returned to the individual and may be resubmitted through the appeal process.
Many approved items are on state contract, which means the item must be purchased through the University purchasing system. Faculty will not be reimbursed for these types of items that were purchased directly and not through the University. Questions concerning items on state contract should be directed to the Purchasing Department prior to purchase.
Faculty members who have PDF can view their own account on GUS within the Faculty menu. Expenditures are listed as soon as the paperwork has been processed through the Office of Continuing and Graduate Studies even if the product has not been received. Questions concerning transactions should be directed to that office.
Faculty members, upon retiring or leaving University employment, may have the balance in their professional development account transferred to the professional development account for any faculty member or the funds will be transferred to the academic department.
Allowed Purchases from Professional Development Funds for Faculty
I. Electronics and Other Equipment
Equipment items that support teaching and/or research can be purchased. Items that cost over $5,000 will be included in the inventory of the faculty's department, though all equipment is considered the property of the University.
Computers or any related equipment such as printers and scanner must be purchased through the University purchasing system. College technicians can provide additional information about each of the items available for purchase.
Travel to conferences, officer or committee meetings of professional organizations and research investigations are reimbursed using the Travel Request Form and Travel Expense Detail. All policies, procedures, and reimbursements pertaining to travel are outlined at the Travel website www.pittstate.edu/busof/travel.html or in the Employee Travel Expenses Reimbursement Handbook. Printed documentation describing the conference must accompany the travel request and the DPR to pay for conference registration. Travel for research must have a justification letter specifying the research to be completed and the dates and times. Research that is tied to vacations or non-PSU work will take additional justification for approval.
III. Memberships, Publications, etc.
Payment for memberships in professional organizations or for professional publications, periodicals, and books may be purchased using a DPR. Memberships are considered institutional representation, which means if the faculty member would leave the University, the membership would stay at PSU. The statement, "Institutional Membership" and the faculty's campus address must be stated on the DPR.
Educational expenses such as tuition, books and travel expenses associated with formal course work may be paid through PDF. Depending upon current employment status, educational expense reimbursement can be considered taxable. All payments reimbursed by PDF will follow the Education Payment Policy as listed in the Unclassified Handbook.
Prior to submitting an educational expense, faculty must complete and submit a Determination of Tax Status Form, signed by the chair of the department, to Budget and Human Resource Services. After the taxable liability has been determined, the form will be returned to the faculty member to include with the receipts or invoices for reimbursement to be forwarded to Continuing and Graduate Studies.
V. Official Hospitality/Food
Very specific events involving food can be paid. Faculty must provide supporting documents that specify the intent, setting and participants for the function. All payments reimbursed by PDF will follow the Official Hospitality Policy found in Section 5.6 in the Unclassified Handbook.
It is recognized that there may be additional types of expenditures appropriate for the use of Professional Development Funds. The appropriate documentation should accompany the DPR that is forwarded for approval. Faculty members are encouraged to seek prior approval before purchase to insure PDF can be used. Additional documents may be required to insure the purchase meets the guidelines.
VII. Taxable Reimbursement
Some purchases can be reimbursed, but because of tax codes, is considered a taxable reimbursement. Items such as the payment of internet service at home cannot be separated from personal use and so would be considered a taxable reimbursement. Education for some personnel would also be taxed. Taxable reimbursements will appear on the employee's W2 at the end of the fiscal year the reimbursement was made. Prior to reimbursement, faculty will have the choice of receiving the taxable reimbursement or withdrawing the request.
VIII. Items that Cannot be Used for Professional Development
The State of Kansas has certain items that will not be approved for reimbursement. These items include some food and entertainment, gifts, personal items for the office, reimbursement for student expenses, and other items that neither enhance the classroom experience nor provide professional experience for the instructor. Other items for work cannot be separated from personal use and cannot be reimbursed, such as cell phones and/or cell phone plans.
Requests for purchases or reimbursements that have been denied by the Dean of Continuing and Graduate Studies may be resubmitted to the Professional Development Review Committee. The Committee is designated each year by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and is composed of faculty who have earned professional development funds through Continuing and Graduate Studies, a representative from Administration and Campus Life, and the Dean of Continuing and Graduate Studies as a non-voting member.
The faculty requesting the expenditure must request a meeting with the Professional Development Review Committee in writing to the Dean of Continuing and Graduate Studies. The Committee will convene within a week of the request. The faculty member will be given an opportunity to explain how the request will assist him/her in performing his/her PSU assignment.
The committee's decision by ballot is then forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for the final determination of the appeal. The requesting faculty and the Committee will receive the decision of the Vice President in writing within five working days.