Troy University
SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation
3.7.3 The institution provides ongoing professional development of faculty as teachers, scholars, and practitioners. (Faculty development)
X Compliance   Partial Compliance   Non-Compliance


Troy University takes seriously the continuing professional development of its faculty in all aspects of their roles as teachers, scholars, and service-providers. The University has a long history and tradition of providing professional development opportunities for its faculty, reaching back to its earliest days as a teachers’ college.

University Expectations of Professional Development

The University Faculty Handbook makes it clear that professional development is an expectation for all full-time faculty and offers commonly-accepted activities which constitute such development:

3.4.6 Professional Competence and Activities

Each faculty member has an obligation to maintain a high level of professional competence and to keep abreast of the developments in the academic discipline. In addition to research or creative work, other evidence of growth in professional competence includes:

  1. Receipt of awards, grants, or fellowships.
  2. Appointment in a scholarly capacity to state, regional, or national posts.
  3. Active participation in professional organizations.
  4. Reading papers or making presentations before learned societies.
  5. Participation in conferences and institutes.
  6. Postdoctoral education.
  7. Participation in special programs (e.g., writing-across-the-curriculum, technology instruction, distance learning).

The University also incorporates professional development into its expectations of faculty as part of their annual review process and as part of the development of their annual professional plans:

3.4.9 Faculty Evaluation and Professional Development Plan

All faculty members have the right to be evaluated regularly by their department chair or immediate supervisor to assess the progress of their performance and professional growth. Such evaluations will be used to support recommendations regarding tenure, promotion, salary, and retention decisions. The Faculty Professional Development Plan will provide full-time faculty members with the opportunity to define growth and performance objectives in the primary functions of teaching, research, and service and to receive constructive, documented feedback on their progress toward those objectives. Unranked faculty, non-tenured faculty, and tenured faculty below the rank of Professor will be evaluated each year. Tenured faculty holding the rank of Professor will be evaluated every third year, reflecting performance and activities occurring during the period evaluated. Faculty members should contact their respective deans regarding procedures.

Information about faculty development is noted throughout the University and can be found in faculty self-evaluations, professional development plans, supervisor evaluations of faculty, and various studies and reports prepared for specialized programmatic accreditation. An explanation of the University’s annual faculty evaluation procedure is provided.

The University further defines the need for professional development of its faculty in Section 3.9 of the Faculty Handbook. Included in this section are specific materials on the need for ongoing research as a faculty member and the role of consulting as a member of the University:

3.9.6 Professional Growth and Development

It is the essence of the faculty member's position that he/she is considered an expert and competent professional in his/her field. It is incumbent on each faculty member, however, to maintain his/her competence by keeping abreast of the developments in his/her own field and in other fields related to his/her own. There are various ways of maintaining growth and development, and each faculty member must find appropriate ones. Reading current books, monographs, and professional journals are obvious ways of improving. Other possibilities include assisting the library in improving its collection in one’s own field, occasionally teaching courses in another university’s summer session, traveling, and taking post-doctoral or other courses. Research and consulting are yet other avenues for growth, as are securing and administering external grants and contracts. Continued growth and development help keep the faculty member concerned about the vitality of courses and should be evidenced in the content of his/her courses and the quality of his/her teaching. Moreover, the faculty member who is aware of new developments in his/her area is better able to assist colleagues in curriculum development and improvement. Each faculty member is expected to provide current professional development activity documentation for his/her personnel file. Research

Research, as defined in Section 3.4.5, Research and Creative Work, is considered important, and a reasonable amount of time should be devoted to it. Troy University recognizes that in higher education both teaching and research are essential to a vigorous institution and a sound curriculum. However, as a teaching institution, Troy University places greater emphasis on the teaching function than on the research function. Troy University also recognizes that every research investigation does not necessarily result in publishable material. The results of scholarly research can be shared with the academic community not only in writing and publication, but also by oral presentation at professional groups, both on or off campus. Nevertheless, publication, wherever appropriate and possible, is encouraged and recognized. Consulting

There are opportunities for performing consulting work in several fields. Within reasonable limits, this kind of pursuit may provide valuable experience for the faculty member and thereby promote professional growth and development. The work done, however, must be of a professional character commensurate with the individual's capabilities, experience, and status. Insofar as consulting work is most often akin to outside employment, the faculty member is bound by the strictures set forth in Section 3.9.8, Outside Employment and/or Business Interests. One should not expect any reduction in load for engaging in consulting work unless the work is for Troy University, or such arrangements have been previously agreed to in writing by the faculty member, the department chair, the associate dean, the dean, and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

General University Support of Faculty Professional Development

Troy University supports the professional development of its faculty in a number of general and specific ways. Generally speaking, faculty members are eligible to receive travel assistance from their particular departments to attend conferences related to their academic disciplines. Each department has a travel budget for such expenditures. Department chairs at the four Alabama campuses and site directors at the Global Campus sites make preliminary decisions about how these travel funds will be expended and all such travel requires dean and Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost approval. International travel requires Chancellor’s approval. The Faculty Handbook describes the University’s policy regarding faculty travel for research:

3.10.6 Professional Travel Expenses

Troy University recognizes that members of its faculty are interested in attending meetings of learned or professional societies as a means of keeping abreast of their fields of teaching and research. Professional development is encouraged by the University’s providing financial support for such activities. Funds are budgeted annually by department to support, in accordance with University policy and Alabama law, the professional travel expenses of faculty members. Requests for such funding for professional travel should be submitted to the department chair well in advance of the proposed travel. Faculty members should never request such funding for activities not related to their teaching fields or learned or professional societies. Also, faculty members who request funding for the presentation of a scholarly paper should file a copy of the paper along with the travel request. For in-state travel requests, faculty members are required to submit an Intent-To-Be-Absent Form far enough in advance of the proposed travel that required approvals may be obtained at least three days prior to planned departure. For out-of-state travel requests, faculty members are required to submit the Intent-To-Be-Absent form along with the out-of-state travel request far enough in advance of the proposed travel that required approvals may be obtained at least two weeks prior to planned departure.

Troy University has committed significant institutional monies in support of faculty professional travel. In 2007-2008, $100,000 was available in the Chancellor’s International Initiative fund to support faculty proposals for traveling internationally and establishing study abroad opportunities for University students. The Faculty Development Committee had a budget of almost $90,000 to provide smaller, stateside grants for faculty to participate in professional conferences (see section below). Additionally, each academic department has a travel budget that varies by role and scope of the particular department. The combined totals of these departmental travel budgets were over $400,000. Approximately $600,000 was committed by the University for faculty members to travel for purposes of professional development in 2007-2008.

Faculty members are also eligible for reduced teaching loads in order to pursue research projects, as described in the Faculty Handbook: Reduced Teaching Load for Research Support

Any full-time faculty member engaged in a significant research project may request a reduction in teaching load. Such a request should be submitted in writing to the department chair during the first week of the academic term preceding the academic term in which the reduction would begin, if granted. The department chair will evaluate the research proposal and the ability of the department to maintain its course offerings. The recommendations of the department chair, associate dean and the dean will be carefully weighed with the performance of the faculty member when the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost renders the final decision.

Faculty members are also eligible to receive tuition assistance to pursue additional coursework and degrees as part of their professional development:


Full-time employees are eligible for tuition assistance in accordance with the Troy University Tuition Assistance Policy. Employees, their spouses, and eligible dependents may qualify for a reduction of normal tuition cost under the policy. The University Tuition Assistance Policy is available on the University Web site. Employees must make up any work time missed while taking a course during business hours.

(2006 Troy University Staff Handbook, page 22)

Individual colleges and local campuses are also actively engaged in activities that promote faculty development. For example, faculty members on each campus have access to computers, the Internet, software, and numerous library databases to pursue their research and development needs. An example of faculty development at the college level would be the Sorrell College of Business that sponsors an annual research symposium to encourage business faculty to actively participate in scholarly activities and the sharing of ideas.

Specific University Support of Faculty Professional Development

Specific University support for professional development is offered in several ways. The Faculty Development Committee assists faculty in efforts related to teaching or research through several types of grants and sabbaticals. The role of the Faculty Development Committee and its relationship to the professional development of the faculty is described in the University’s Faculty Handbook:

3.10.7 Faculty Development

Troy University encourages the professional development of the faculty and provides varied assistance to eligible faculty members through the Faculty Development Committee. Financial Support

Troy University makes financial assistance for research available through the Faculty Development Committee. Please refer to the publication, Standing Committees of Troy University, for more information.

The Faculty Development Committee provides four major types of grants:

  1. Paper and Reprint Grants (for research or curriculum development to benefit the classroom)
  2. Paper Presentation Grants (to present papers at conferences)
  3. Research Grants (for research during the school year)
  4. Summer Research Grants (for research during the summer).

Sample response letters to grant applicants are provided.

During fall 2006 and spring 2007, the Faculty Development Committee approved grants totaling $67,651. 2006-2007grant records and 2007-2008 grant records are provided.

The Faculty Development Committee is a University standing committee and is comprised of appointed and elected faculty members from throughout the University. Faculty Development Committee agendas demonstrate the work of the committee. The following table shows the number of grants during Fall 2006-Spring 2007 that were awarded by college.

Faculty Development Grants by College 2006-2007


Number of Faculty Grants

Arts and Sciences




Communication and Fine Arts




Health and Human Services


The University also supports faculty sabbaticals as a means of providing ongoing professional development for its teacher-scholars. The Faculty Handbook notes the significance of such sabbaticals and places the responsibility for approving sabbaticals with the Faculty Development Committee, thus ensuring a faculty-owned, peer-approved process: Sabbatical Leave

Troy University, recognizing the necessity for faculty members to acquire new experiences to enrich their teaching or to secure uninterrupted time for research and writing, supports the principle of sabbatical leave. The University desires to encourage professional growth and increased competency and productivity among faculty members by subsidizing significant research, creative work, or a program which is judged to be of equivalent value, such as some other program of study, or an organized experiential program, or an exchange of teaching responsibilities with a faculty member at another college or university. Sabbatical leaves are administered by the Faculty Development Committee.

The Faculty Development Committee has recommended two to three faculty members per year for sabbaticals in the academic years 2006-2008. Information regarding the existence of grants for faculty development is typically emailed to faculty by the chair of the Faculty Development Committee.

A number of additional faculty development opportunities are provided to Troy University faculty through Blackboard, the University’s online course management system. These Blackboard development opportunities are administered through the University’s eCampus. As a result, more than 1,000 faculty members throughout Troy University are Blackboard proficient. Blackboard training is offered on a regular basis. Further, in fall 2007, Troy University initiated use of a new Content Management System in Blackboard. A number of training sessions were provided for faculty to enhance their development related to the use of this new Content Management System. Eight training sessions were provided through an eCampus Colloquium with approximately 15 faculty members participating in each session. Additional training sessions were provided on campus sites. The following table provides a breakdown of faculty participation in these training sessions for each campus location:

Faculty Participation in Content Management System Training Fall 2007


Number of Faculty





University College-Ft. Benning


Phenix City




Communications regarding Blackboard training are sent to University faculty via e-mail and faculty members are also directed to the eCampus web site. for additional information.

In addition, eCampus facilitated three faculty development events with major text book publishers, Pearson Education, Thomson Education and McGraw Hill, covering the availability of resources and methods for enhancing the quality of online instruction. These sessions, held on the Montgomery campus, were attended by 40 individuals. eCampus also holds an annual colloquium which is devoted to issues of distance education and learning technologies. The 2008 eCampus colloquium was held on the Dothan campus The agenda for the conference featured University faculty presentations as well as presenters from outside the University.

In addition to the University opportunities for professional development, Global Campus faculty in leadership roles have the opportunity to participate in an annual leadership conference. In 2007, the conference was held in Atlanta and its theme was Managing Change—Creating a Future. The keynote speaker was Dr. J.J. Johnson of the Change Management Learning Center – Prosci.

For faculty members who are interested in developing study abroad programs as well as participating in these programs, in 2007, the University developed the Chancellor’s International Initiative (CII), a major funding source for faculty travel abroad opportunities. This program is coordinated by the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies; faculty proposals for funding support involve the review of their chairs, associate deans (where appropriate), deans, the Associate Vice Chancellor for International Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Global Campus, the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost. Global Campus faculty proposals are also reviewed by their regional directors. The Chancellor has the final approval of all requests for CII support. Information regarding funding opportunities through the CII is disseminated by the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies. In the academic year 2007-08, twenty-three faculty members traveled abroad with support of the Chancellor’s International Initiative:

Chancellor’s International Initiative Travel 2007-2008



Arts and Sciences

Costa Rica, Italy (2), Korea, Poland, Russia, Spain


Argentina, Brazil, Chile, England, Russia

Communication and Fine Arts

China, England, Sweden


Czech Republic, Malaysia, Korea

Health and Human Services

Australia, England, Honduras

Faculty members also receive strong encouragement and support in their pursuit of sponsored funding through grant opportunities. The Office of Sponsored Programs works regularly with faculty from throughout the University, including those in Global Campus, to develop, write and manage funded projects. Information about sponsored funding opportunities is regularly disseminated to the University faculty by the Director of Sponsored Programs through emails. Interested faculty are also directed to the Office of Sponsored Programs Web site. Since 2005, faculty members have developed and submitted grant proposals in excess of $60,000,000.

The University recognizes such efforts with an annual sponsored programs luncheon; by University policy, professional development for faculty is measured by submission as well as securing of grant proposals. As part of the assistance provided by the Office of Sponsored Programs, faculty are provided the opportunity to participate in free training sessions designed to educate them in the policies, procedures, and processes of grant writing. These training sessions are lead by individuals external to the University; internal training is typically offered in a one-on-one environment between the faculty member and the sponsored programs staff. Sixteen training sessions were offered to University faculty, at their various home locations, between January and July 2008:

  • Highlight Literacy and U.S. Competitiveness “Competitive Learning in a Global Economy”-October 15, 2007
  • Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Education Program-October 25, 2007
  • Find out what NEA funds are available for your campus-November 15, 2007
  • Tips for Writing Successful Proposals-December 6, 2007
  • NEH Digital Challenge Grants "How to fund your digital humanities projects", February 14, 2008
  • NSF Math and Science Partnership - February 29, 2008
  • Train the Trainer-Writing Pre-proposals & White Papers-March 27, 2008
  • Institutional Review Board Workshop-March 27, 2008
  • FIPSE-Comprehensive Program-Friday, April 4, 2008
  • NSF Workshop (on site workshop hosted by NSF)-April 8, 2008
  • Introduction to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-April 24, 2008
  • Institutional Review Board Workshop - May 7, 2008
  • Basic Overview Session - IES - May 13, 2008
  • Grant Writing Workshop - IES - May 20, 2008
  • Grant Writing Basics - Grantstation - May 25, 2008
  • Application Process Session - IES - June 3, 2008
  • Writing a Letter of Inquiry - Grantstation - June 11, 2008
  • Grant Writing Basics – Grantstation –June 17, 2008
  • Developing a Powerful Statement of Need – Grantstation – July 23, 2008
  • Grantseeking During a Recession: How to Broaden Your Grant Support – Grantstation – July 29, 2008

Assessment and Review of Professional Development Opportunities and Activities

Faculty members are assessed annually in their professional development activities through their supervisor’s evaluation. These evaluations include review by the faculty member’s specific college dean (copies are available upon request).

Faculty members who are candidates for tenure and/or promotion are also assessed on their professional development activities. As part of the University Review Committee’s annual post-review meeting, each aspect of the tenure and promotion process is evaluated, including professional development opportunities and activities. The Faculty Development Committee chair meets regularly with the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies who serves as the Provost’s liaison with the committee. The Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies reviews faculty proposals at the chair’s request and assists with budget management issues and any other committee concerns, as demonstrated in the April, 2006 agenda.

The Chancellor’s International Initiative budget is reviewed annually, and the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost and Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies provide regular informal reports to the Chancellor regarding the activities generated by the monies in this initiative. In fall 2008, the Chancellor’s International Initiative will undergo an extensive review, including an external audit by a member of the International Committee of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). eCampus activities including Blackboard are regularly reviewed by the Vice Chancellor of Global Campus.

The Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and the activities of the Office of Sponsored Programs are regularly reviewed by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Relations. Faculty members who receive sabbaticals are required to complete a formal report of their activities while away from the University. Faculty members who travel as part of the Chancellor’s International Initiative monies also complete a less formal report of their activities; this report is communicated to the Associate Provost/Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

In summary, the University engages in continuous professional development opportunities for its faculty and further engages in ongoing assessment, formally and informally, about this professional development environment. Troy University has a long-standing tradition of encouraging, recognizing, and providing professional development in its faculty members at each of their campuses and sites.

Additional information regarding faculty professional development is available as part of Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1 of this compliance report. Specific examples of college annual reports containing professional development activities (and submitted as part of the University’s planning activities) are provided for the Library and the College of Communication and Fine Arts.

Troy University is in compliance with this Comprehensive Standard.


Supporting Documentation Location
Academic Operating Procedures
Application for Travel Approval
Business Research Symposium
Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1
eCampus 2008 Colloquium Agenda
eCampus Blackboard System Training Methods Assessment
eCampus Colloquium
eCampus Faculty Area
Faculty Development Committee
Faculty Development Committee Agendas
Faculty Development Information Report, College of Communication and Fine Arts
Faculty Development Information Report, Library
Faculty Grant Proposals 2005-2008
Faculty Handbook, 2008 Edition
Grant Records, 2006-2007
Grant Records, 2007-2008
Leadership Conference 2007 Memo
Office of Sponsored Programs
Pilot Template for Annual Faculty Evaluation Plan
Sabbatical Criteria
Sample Response Letters to Grant Applicants
Staff Handbook
Tuition Assistance
University Review Committee


Last Updated: 09/03/2008