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Professional Development Fund Grant allows professors to enhance teaching

EN Photo / Rachel Iacovone

Faculty members at FGCU have the opportunity to apply for the Professional Development Fund Grant to travel, study, write and participate in research.

The PDFG, which is given to professors through the Faculty Senate, grants up to $1,500 a semester to each faculty member that applies. The 2016-2017 PDFG budget is the same as the 2015-2016 budget, $120,000.

“In the past years, PDFG also got additional budget support from the Office of the Provost, as it turned out there were very high demands from faculty,” former PDFG committee chair Masami Sugimori said in an email. “This may or may not be the case this coming year.”

In addition to the possibility of more funding, there has been discussion of how to allocate the annual budget to fall and spring semesters, “considering that every year more applications for larger amounts of funding are submitted in Spring than in Fall,” said Sugimori.

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The PDFG committee proposed to add a clause to the current PDFG Guidelines document that states, “PDFG’s annual budget is distributed to each review period according to the fall/spring ratio of the previous three years’ funding requests. For 2016-17, the distribution is set to be 41 percent for fall and 59 percent for spring.”

If the Faculty Senate approves this proposed clause, this change will take effect this academic year.

Grant money can be used for attending workshops, conferences and seminars. Only full-time faculty members are eligible for the grant.

According to the PDFG page on the Faculty Senate’s website, there are three criteria used to evaluate applications – significance and/or university, unit or department benefit, scholarly benefit and teaching benefit.

The annual academic period for the 2016-2017 school year constitutes July 1, 2016 through August 31 2017. Applicants may only submit one application per review period in both fall and spring, but may submit an application in each review period in the funding cycle.

Applications are to be submitted in PDF format only to the committee via the online application form available on their website. The application for the 2016-2017 school year will be open from Saturday Oct. 1 at midnight to Monday Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

According to the PDFG page on the Faculty Senate’s website, “professional development funding priority will be for activities that contribute to progress toward promotion, or activities that directly support the mission of FGCU, the applicant’s college, and/or the applicant’s respective division, program or department.”

Major changes were made to the application review criteria and scoring system, along with funding caps for each applicant. The committee also began collecting “activity reports” from faculty members who have already received grant money. The committee will be analyzing the reports given to further improve the system for future applicants.

“PDFG underwent a system revision in fall 2015 designed to better assist faculty’s professional development, enhance inclusiveness for a variety of qualified professional activities, and accommodate the increasing funding demands and support as many qualified professional activities as possible,” Sugimori said.

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