Know Your Contract – Professional Development Funds

30 May Know Your Contract – Professional Development Funds


  • All faculty are contractually entitled to PD funds: $600 for NTT | $900 for TT
  • All faculty may also be eligible for an additional $600 for conference travel w/pre-approval
  • Funds are in addition to, not in place of, funds provided by your college or department
  • This entry refers to Articles VI.A.1.c and VI.A.1.d of the NTT and TT faculty contracts


UIC United Faculty members overwhelmingly favored negotiating for greater professional development funding in our latest contract. Now that the new contract has been signed, we can happily report that we’ve delivered on this expectation. We are also aware, however, that the new provisions have raised new questions among members and administrators.

In an effort to give faculty greater clarity, we’ve sought to answer some of the most common questions and misunderstandings. If you have further questions, or specific concerns about the implementation of these contractual rights, contact us ASAP at  

Who Gets Professional Development Funds?
Every full-time faculty member in our bargaining unit, regardless of whether you are tenured, tenure-track, or non tenure-track, is contractually guaranteed professional development funds. You cannot be denied these funds on the basis of tenure status.

How Much Funding Am I Entitled To?
NTT faculty are entitled to $600 per year, and TT faculty are entitled to $900 per year. This has not changed from the last contract. However, all faculty may be entitled to an additional $600 per year specifically for travel to professional conferences and meetings.

What Can I Use My Funding For?
The base funds ($600 for NTT/$900 for TT) can be used for expenses related to research and/or teaching-related professional development, which should be outlined by your own department or college bylaws and policies. Typically, this money should be made available for conference registration and related travel expenses, professional associations and memberships, and subscriptions to relevant academic journals. Other uses may be approved by your department, so it’s safest to check your department guidelines or confirm with your department’s Executive Officer for pre-approval if you are uncertain that an expense will be covered.

The additional $600 won in the new contract is available to all faculty, but its use is restricted to paying for travel related to professional conferences and meetings, and requires pre-approval by your department’s Executive Officer (usually a Head/Chair) for use. Acceptance of an academic paper into a conference is not required for use of these funds.

When Can I Use These Funds/Can Funds Be Applied Retroactively?
Typically, funds can be used any time, and are renewed at the beginning of the contract year, August 16th. It is, however, advisable to apply for reimbursement/pre-approval of funds prior to the end of the university’s fiscal year, June 30th.

Since our new contract is retroactive back to August 16th, 2018, faculty are entitled to apply PD funds to past expenses in some cases. You should be able to apply your base funds ($600 NTT/$900 TT) to eligible expenses retroactively to that date. The additional $600 for conference travel, however, are unlikely to be applicable retroactively, as they would have had to be pre-approved before the money was spent. You may still take advantage of all funds in their full amounts for new expenses moving forward this year.

Can I Seek Additional Funding From My Department/Division/College?
Yes, all funding pursuant to your contractual rights are provided in addition to any funds provided by your department/college, and should not be used as a replacement for said funds. Therefore,  you may seek other funding as offered by your department to supplement these funds to which you are contractually entitled.

Are Funds Accrued Over Time Or Prorated Based On When They Are Used?
No, the amount you are entitled to is not accrued over time, nor can it be prorated by your department. You are entitled to use the full amount of funding for the year, at any time during that contract year, for eligible expenses. This includes funds applied retroactively for the 2018-2019 academic year. As explained above, however, the additional $600 for professional conference/meeting travel is unlikely to be made available retroactively, as it requires pre-approval, but you may use it in its full amount moving forward.

Can I Carry Over Funds From One Year To The Next
No, professional development funds are use-them-or-lose-them. You must spend them before the end of the contract year, August 16th.  

Where Can I Find This Information In My Contract
Contractual rights to professional development funds are described in both non-tenure track and tenure track contracts, which can be viewed on our website. Specific references to these rights are found in articles VI.A.1.c and VI.A.1.d.ii of both contracts. For your convenience, we’ve reproduced them below:

c. Professional Expense Reimbursements
Funds will be allocated each year of this Agreement so that each bargaining unit member shall receive up to $600 (NTT) or $900 (TT) for expenses related only to research and/or teaching-related professional development, to be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. In the event that a bargaining unit member has an opportunity to travel for professional meetings/conferences, specific to their employment duties, then they may be eligible for an additional $600. Pre-approval for the additional funding must be obtained from the Unit Executive Officer prior to the event and, if approved, will be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. These funds supplement departmental professional development budgets, if any, rather than replace them.

d. Retroactivity
(ii) The increase to professional development expense reimbursement funds, as referenced above, shall apply retroactively only to expenses already incurred during the 2018-19 academic year up to the date this Agreement is executed.


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