Professional Development Policy

Academic Faculty
1000 Employee Development
Policy Number

Human Resources Manual

Policies, Guidelines and Reference Material
Statutory Authority
  • ORS 351.070


The university supports both career-related and job-related professional development activities. It is expected that employees and supervisors mutually agree to discuss professional development issues and opportunities. Deans or department heads may support an employee’s request to participate in a professional development activity by approving flexible or alternate work schedules, leave without pay, leave at full or part pay, full or part payment of fees and expenses, and temporary or part-time reassignment in another department provided that:

  • The employee is in a regular status appointment, and
  • The employee’s performance is satisfactory.

University Approved or Required Professional Development. When an employee is required to attend a development program, the time spent in attendance shall be counted as time worked, and the full fees and related costs, i.e., materials, travel and per diem, etc. shall be paid by the department.

Continuing education courses for the maintenance of state licenses that are a requirement of the employee’s position are not automatically considered professional development and do not necessarily qualify for fee reimbursement.

Elective Professional Development. When an employee requests time off to attend an elected non-university supported training or professional development program, the time spent in attendance shall be counted as time off or non-compensable, and not subject to reimbursement i.e., materials, travel and per diem, etc. and paid by the employee.


An employee who wishes to request professional development leave shall develop a written plan for approval by the supervisor, dean or department head. Upon approval, a regular status employee whose performance is satisfactory or better is eligible to use accrued paid leave balances. The supervisor, dean or department head shall approve the leave subject to scheduling, staffing and budget considerations.

Professional Development Leave Plan. For professional development leave requests, the employee and supervisor, dean or department head develops a mutually agreed-upon, written plan that addresses the following:

  • A description of the activity or activities to be undertaken by the employee during the leave period.
  • The requested period of time for the activity.
  • The relation of the activity to the employee’s current job responsibilities.
  • How the activity may assist the employee’s transition into career-related positions at OSU.
  • The quality of the particular training activity as compared to similar activities, and/or an assessment of the reliability of the institution, organization, or other sponsor providing the training.
  • The relation of the activity to the department’s mission and goals.
  • The impact, if any, on employee workload and the workload of colleagues within the department.

The copy of the approved professional development leave plan is placed in the employee’s supervisory file.


Professional development is an allowable expense that can be paid from university funds as long as it meets the provisions of this policy. Seminars, workshops, and conferences are the most common activities that incur costs. (Under certain circumstances, college level or similar course fees may qualify for reimbursement.)

To qualify for reimbursement from university funds, professional development courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be approved by the employee’s manager or supervisor.
  • Have a primary business purpose that clearly benefits and supports the fulfillment of OSU’s mission and objectives.
  • Include supporting documentation that describes how and why the training will benefit OSU and the associated unit.
  • Be comprised of coursework that is consistent with the duties of the employee’s position description.

College level courses may qualify for reimbursement if they meet additional criteria as follows:

  • Be approved by a department head, dean or director.
  • Be independent of a degree or certificate program the employee is pursuing for personal development. (Qualification is determined course by course and not on a full field of study.)

Form to Request Reimbursement. Professional Development Request for Expense Reimbursement

Additional Reference:

IRS Publication 15-B “Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits”: Educational Assistance

Forms and Guidelines: