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LSA Professional Development Policy

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 Chief Administrator Steering Committee, the following staff development philosophy was established:

  1. LSA should increase the emphasis on the role the Chief 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 then President Mary Sue Coleman and Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Laurita Thomas, in the 2004 Learning and Professional Development 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 Learning and Professional Development 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. career 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 UM??
  • The staff professional development budget administered by LSA HR covers the cost of select training courses at Learning and Professional Development, ITS, and additional university training providers, for a fundamental set of competencies relevant to many positions. The Chief 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 Chief Administrators should 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 Chief Administrator support is obtained, the department should contact LSA HR to obtain the appropriate short code to use in registering for the course.
  • The staff professional development budget will no longer cover the cost of Learning and Professional Development training sessions where the content significantly overlaps or duplicates sessions offered regularly (and at no cost to participants) within LSA, either in partnership with Learning and Professional Development or with other university units. This includes sessions on work planning, writing staff appraisals, and managing employee performance.
  • LSA HR will work together with Learning and Professional Development to provide LSA specific sessions on frequently taken courses. The staff professional development budget will cover the cost of these special LSA specific sessions, but generally not the cost of taking the courses at another time through Learning and Professional Development. Exceptions to this policy will be considered for special circumstances.
  • The staff professional development 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 full endorsement of the supervisor and Key Administrator.
  • Training sessions related to website development will not be supported by the LSA HR budget given that the options available through LSA Development, Marketing and Communications. 
  • LSA HR will continue to strive to make our supervisors and staff more fully aware of the professional development opportunities available to them through Learning and Professional Development, ITS, CEW, ORSP, 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.

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