2009 Professional Development Policy Update

In 2004, the Training and Development Subcommittee of the LSA HR Council reviewed LSA professional development policies to identify and recommend clearer training priorities for staff. The College also charged the committee with determining ways to make more efficient use of a limited professional development budget. With the support of the HR Council and Key Administrator Steering Committee, the following staff development philosophy was established:

  1. LSA should increase the emphasis on the role the Key Ad and supervisor play both in aligning professional development requests with key areas of responsibility in the staff member’s work plan as well as establishing agreed upon professional development goals for the year. As stated by President Mary Sue Coleman, and Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Laurita Thomas, in the 2004 HRD course catalogue “The best leaders understand the need for continuous learning to help staff keep pace with a rapidly changing work environment; and they support learning that improves performance in the current job and builds human potential for the next challenge.” Management support of the professional development of our staff should include providing release work time for employees to participate in training programs, designating a percentage of time in the work plan for professional development, and most importantly identifying with the staff member, areas for growth as well as a related training and development plan for achieving them.
  2. Work plans should include a specific professional development plan for each employee, agreed upon by the supervisor and the employee, which directly relates to an employee’s key areas of responsibility.
  3. All supervisor work plans should contain a key area of responsibility that evaluates their support of professional development for their staff members.
  4. LSA should focus its resources on supporting professional development sessions that are most relevant to job duties and also emphasize support for courses offered within LSA as well as custom courses developed for the college in collaboration with HRD and other providers. LSA should reduce central support for courses that duplicate services provided in this manner.
  5. Supervisors should use the following questions to evaluate professional development requests:
    • What is the purpose or goal for taking this specific training class (e.g. personal growth, skill development, departmental expectations, and support to a faculty member)?
    • How does a course relate to an employee’s work plan or professional growth for the year?
    • Is this course or a course with similar content offered within LSA?
    • Is this course or a course with similar content offered free of charge elsewhere at the U-M?
  • The central budget  covers the cost of select training courses at HRD, ITCS, DRDA and additional university training providers, for the core set of highly utilized and job relevant courses. The Key Administrator and supervisor will be responsible for ensuring that these course requests are directly relevant to the staff member’s current work plan. Supervisors and Key Administrators will be expected to include professional development in every staff member’s work plan. Priorities for professional development should relate to the key areas of responsibility in the work plan. Once supervisor and Key Administrator support is obtained, the department should contact LSA HR to obtain the appropriate short code to use in registering for the course.
  • The central LSA HR budget will no longer cover the cost of HRD training sessions where the content significantly overlaps or duplicates sessions offered regularly (and at no cost to participants) within LSA, either in partnership with HRD or with other university units. This includes sessions on work planning, writing staff appraisals and managing employee performance.
  • LSA HR will work together with HRD to provide LSA specific sessions on several of the most frequently taken courses. The LSA HR central budget will cover the cost of these special LSA specific sessions, but generally not the cost of taking the courses at another time through HRD.  Exceptions to this policy will be considered for special circumstances.
  • The central LSA HR budget will no longer cover the cost of training sessions where the content significantly overlaps sessions offered free of charge through FASAP, the Work/Life Resource Center, Fidelity, TIAA-CREF or elsewhere in the U-M community; such sessions can be scheduled on request by a unit, a group of units, or through the LSA HR office if significant interest exists. Exceptions will be considered for special circumstances.
  • Funding for training opportunities that fall outside the LSA funding parameters may be provided either by the employee’s department or by the employee themselves. Special requests may be made to LSA HR for funding or cost-sharing of these courses with a specific professional development plan related to the employee’s current position. These requests must have the strong endorsement of the supervisor and the Key Administrator.
  • Training sessions related to website development will not be supported by the LSA HR budget given that there are numerous free training options available that generally meet the needs of most units. These include C-Tools for teaching, Sitemaker for research or personal websites, and LSA Marketing and Communications for departments’ websites using the Vignette CMS system. The Faculty Exploratory is also an excellent resource for units. Units are expected to direct faculty and staff to appropriate resources for creating websites for various uses.
  • LSA HR will continue to strive to make our supervisors and staff more fully aware of the professional development opportunities available to them through HRD, ITCS, and other university offered training sessions. We will also work to further disseminate information about our policies on tuition support and customized unit training. LSA will rely on our supervisors to play a strong role in determining the appropriateness of the training for our staff members.
  • LSA HR will continue to strive to make our supervisors and staff more fully aware of the professional development opportunities available to them through HRD, ITCS, and other university offered training sessions. We will also work to further disseminate information about our policies on tuition support and customized unit training. LSA will rely on our supervisors to play the primary role in determining the appropriateness of the training for our staff members.

If you have questions about these changes or the policy in general, please speak with your unit’s designated contact in LSA HR.


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