Professional Development Program (PDP) - Operational Policy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professional Development Program (PDP) - Operational Policy

1. Purpose of policy

This Policy defines the purposes, characteristics and conditions of the University’s Professional Development Program (PDP).

2. Policy scope and application

This policy applies to all ongoing and fixed-term staff of the University.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 Principles

PDP provides opportunities for staff to broaden their experience and further develop their scholarship, teaching and research skills and professional knowledge by working collaboratively and in a sustained manner with scholars, teachers, researchers and professionals outside the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). Through PDP, staff are able to undertake a significant project that is not normally available through other means within the University.

From the University’s perspective, PDP is a means by which the performance and achievement of staff can be recognised and rewarded, a significant investment in staff and career development can be made, and strategic and productive partnerships can be developed. Also, the implementation and outcomes of PDP contribute to the achievement of University, School and Cost Centre strategic goals.

PDP is not a means by which staff are released from teaching in order to focus on research, study and other activities locally. Such release can be negotiated through Performance Planning and Review (PPR) processes and achieved through annual work allocation and workforce planning processes within the School or work area.

4.2 Eligibility to apply

4.2.1 Full-time and fractional (0.5 fractional appointment and above) staff with a minimum of three years’ continuous service with USC at the closing date for applications, are eligible to apply for PDP. The exceptions are:

(a) Executive staff, Heads of Schools and Directors are not eligible to apply for PDP.

(b) Fixed-term staff are not eligible to apply for PDP unless there is sufficient time remaining in their current fixed-term appointment to ensure a return to the University from PDP for a period not less than the period of absence. PDP will not extend the term of the fixed-term appointment.

4.2.2 Staff are eligible to reapply for PDP after three years’ continuous service from the end of the last PDP.

4.3 Duration

The duration of PDP is normally between four (4) and six (6) months.

4.4 Location of PDP

4.4.1 PDP must be undertaken in an organisation other than USC, for example, in another Australian or overseas university or in industry or in another relevant organisation. Fundamental characteristics of PDP are:

(a) working collaboratively and in a sustained manner with scholars, teachers, researchers or professionals outside USC; and

(b) broadening participants’ experience by enabling them to immerse themselves in a different environment/s and organisational culture/s.

4.4.2 Applicants are encouraged to undertake PDP at partner universities.

4.5 Leave

4.5.1 PDP is deemed to include the pro rata amount of annual leave due and to be inclusive of University holidays occurring during the PDP. Public holidays declared for the location in which PDP is undertaken are deemed to be included in the PDP.

4.5.2 A staff member may take more than the pro rata amount of annual leave with the approval of their supervisor and Head of School/Cost Centre Manager (CCM), on condition that reporting requirements can be met in a timely manner.

4.6 Approval of PDP

4.6.1 Recommendations to approve PDP are based on:

(a) the applicant’s performance and achievements;

(b) the quality and potential benefits of the proposed Program;

(c) the degree to which the proposed Program furthers the achievement of the strategic goals of the University.

4.6.2 The PDP Committee evaluates applications and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor and President.

4.6.3 The Vice-Chancellor and President can approve or not approve any recommendation made by the PDP Committee.

4.7 Conditions of approval

4.7.1 As a staff member of, and an ambassador for, the University, the staff member is obligated to adhere to all relevant State and Federal legislation, University policies and procedures, and the Staff Code of Conduct, and those of the host institution, while undertaking PDP.

4.7.2 Approval is made on the condition that the staff member resumes full normal duties at the University on completion of the PDP and to continue in those duties for a period not less than the duration of the PDP.

4.7.3 If the staff member does not comply with this requirement, repayment of salary and financial assistance received during the PDP, or a proportion of them, are recouped by the University.

4.7.4 If for any reason the staff member needs to vary or amend the approved PDP, the Head of School/CCM is to be advised as soon as possible. Changes that affect the objectives, purpose, budget and/or outcomes must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), via the Head of School/CCM.

4.7.5 Failure to abide by these conditions can result in cancellation of approval.

4.8 Reporting

4.8.1 Satisfactory reporting is a significant contractual component of PDP. On return from PDP, the staff member is required to provide the Head of School/CCM with:

(a) a completed travel diary; and

(b) a comprehensive report on the implementation and outcomes of the PDP.

4.8.2 A copy of the PDP report is also sent to the Director, Human Resources.

4.8.3 The staff member is also required to make a presentation to at least one relevant University community.

5. Authorities/Responsibilities

The following authorities/responsibilities are delegated under this policy:

Activity University Officer/Committee
Chair PDP Committee   Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)  
Make recommendations to Vice-Chancellor and President on behalf of the PDP Committee   Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)  
Approve recommendations for approval of PDP applications   Vice-Chancellor and President  
Advise applicants of outcomes of application for PDP   Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)