Professional Development and Training Policy

Policy Number: 
Reason for Policy: 

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for administering professional development and training at the University of Oregon.

Entities Affected by this Policy: 

Faculty and Staff

Responsible Office: 

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of Human Resources at 541-346-3159.

Enactment & Revision History: 

21 March 1985 - The initial training policy was issued

03 June 1992 – Policy revised

11 October 2000 – Policy revised

2009 - The Organizational Development and Training Steering Committee revised the current policy in to make it more inclusive of the types of professional development that teaching faculty and research faculty undertake. It also was revised to provide more clear guidelines and delineation of responsibility for professional development and training at the UO.

19 March 2012 - Addendum A: Guidelines for Administration of Release Time added

06 June 2013 - Exclusions and Special Situations section updated due to a major change at OUS.



Employees and Supervisors: For purposes of this policy the term “employees” includes all officers of administration, officers of instruction, officers of research, and classified staff. The term “supervisors” includes all employee’s whose job encompasses supervisory duties, including academic program directors, department heads, and deans.
Professional Development and Training: Professional development and training is defined as learning undertaken by employees to maintain and advance their skills, knowledge and competencies, specifically as they relate and add value to the job and workplace. It is a dynamic process and may be achieved not only through participation in formal coursework but also through professional experience, collaboration, mentoring, participation in activities of professional organizations, and independent study and research.

Policy Statement:

The University of Oregon recognizes the importance of encouraging and supporting employees in professional development activities that are related to their employment. It extends to work related professional development opportunities including, but not exclusive to, the sabbatical leave policy, reduced tuition fee rates, eLearning, employee workshops, courses, classes, and professional conferences.
Responsibility for professional training and development extends to all levels of the organization:

  • The university is responsible for identifying, creating, and providing opportunities for professional development and training to enhance and build the capacity, skills, excellence, and professionalism of employees to enable them to contribute effectively and creatively to the University’s mission.
  • Supervisors are responsible for assessing and communicating professional development and training needs of individual employees in their direct reporting line, identifying and actively encouraging and supporting appropriate learning experiences. Supervisors have the final approval for funding and providing time for professional development and training opportunities.
  • Individual employees are responsible for assessing their job related skills and knowledge, for maintaining a high level of performance throughout their university employment, and for seeking approval for appropriate professional development and training opportunities in consultation with their supervisors.
  • Professional development and training opportunities should be available to all employees:
  • Supervisors need to plan for and allow appropriate professional development and training activities that occur as part of work time.
  • Professional development and training activities that require time away from the employee’s workplace must be approved by the supervisor.

Professional development and training activities outside of and in addition to regular work hours for non-exempt employees require written approval in advance if the activities are to be considered as regular work for overtime compensation.

Exclusions and Special Situations:

OUS Fiscal Policy 70.400 re: Licenses-Occupational-Fee Payment states:

Each public university (including the Chancellor's Office) within the Oregon University System is responsible for establishing policies and procedures for authorizing and approving reimbursement for occupational licenses, including any related guidelines or other criteria the public university deems appropriate.
UO guidelines for these expenditures are available on the Business Affairs website: As currently defined:

Professional Licenses and Certifications

  • As with all university expenditures, payment for a professional license or certification must have a valid, documented business purpose. The VP/Dean/Director/Department Head is best suited to make that determination for his/her area of responsibility.
  • The professional license or certification must be applicable to the employee’s current position.
  • UO will not pay for a standard Oregon Driver License (Class C). UO will pay for a Class A, B, or C Commercial Driver License if required for the employee’s current position. This requirement must be documented in the employee’s current Position Description.
  • In order to maintain relevance and applicability to university purposes, the time period covered by the professional license or certification should be limited (e.g., one or two years).
  • Payment for the professional license or certification may not be processed from grant/contract Funds without specific authorization from Sponsored Projects Services.


The responsibility of implementing this policy extends to the following:

  • University leadership and administration (the Executive Leadership Team): University leadership is responsible for identifying and communicating priorities and goals as well as relevant developments and trends affecting the university.
  • Heads of academic and administrative units: Deans, directors, and department heads are responsible for assisting unit heads and supervisors in adopting flexible strategies which promote participation in professional developmental/training activities.
  • Supervisors: Supervisors are responsible for working with their employees to identify needs and for creating a professional development and training plan that will benefit the unit as well as the individual.
  • Employees: Employees are responsible for engaging in the development of plans in partnership with their supervisor(s), and for participating in the designated learning experiences.
  • Director of UO Organizational Development and Training: Organizational Development and Training in Human Resources is responsible for administering this policy including annual reports.
  • Training and development advisory committees (ODT Steering Committee, CSTDAC, OA Council): The training and development advisory committees are responsible for advocating for their constituent groups in collaboration with the Director of ODT to integrate efforts and optimize resources.

While the particular engagement in professional training and development varies widely between groups of employees and also individual employees, the following areas of knowledge and skill development should be considered relevant to the success of university employees and the institution's educational mission and initiatives:

1. Learning directly related to optimal job performance

a. business skills, including financial stewardship, human resource management and strategic leadership; knowledge of university policies, procedures, mission or governance structures;
b. communication skills, including basic skills, conflict management and resolution, negotiation and facilitation;
c. team communications and/or team building skills;
d. research funding and grant administration knowledge and skills;
e. knowledge and skills related to acting as a member of an ethnically and culturally diverse student body and workforce in an inclusive and respectful manner;
f. knowledge and skills in recognizing and responding effectively to discrimination and harassment;
g. knowledge and skills in the uses of technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the university's business and/or educational practices.

2. Maintaining and developing professional expertise

Funding sources
The funding sources for professional development opportunities vary depending on the activity. Funding for sabbatical leaves, for example, is based on the funding source of the employee's payroll in the years preceding the sabbatical and is typically borne by the employing unit. Other UO based professional development and training is offered at no cost to the employing department, where possible. For those professional development and training experiences that do require a fee, the following funding resources are available for consideration by the supervisor and/or employee.

  1. University funding for credit courses: Staff fee privileges ( This benefit offers university classes at reduced tuition and is available to eligible employees in positions of half-time or greater (not including temporary classified employees, graduate assistants, and student employees).
  2. Department funding: Department funding may be used for the cost of learning experiences, assuming the activity will benefit operational efficiency or effectiveness or is otherwise in line with the guidelines in this policy. Funding is at the discretion of the supervisor and is based on department budget capacity.
  3. The Professional Development Opportunity Fund: Employees/departments may apply for partial funding of learning activities through the Employee Benefit Fund. Guidelines for the Employee Benefit Fund can be found at
Original Source: 
UO Policy Statement