Professional Development

The University recognizes that training and development programs improve individual and organizational performance and help the University achieve its overall institutional goals. Employees should develop, with their supervisors, plans to enhance skills and prepare for continually evolving responsibilities in their positions. To reinforce the commitment to professional development and as one of the five university strategic goals, all exempt and nonexempt employee position description will carry a 5 % professional development goal.

Professional Development/Training Classes

Many work related training programs are provided on campus by Employee and Organizational and Development Department and other campus departments. Training programs are posted on the Employee and Organizational Development web site Employees may register for classes online. Since professional development is part of all employees' performance expectations, supervisors should plan for and allow release time from work for training programs determined to be mutually beneficial for employees and the University. Such release time should be granted to employees in a fair and equitable manner, regardless of experience, educational background, or job title. Transcripts of individual participation in programs are available to participants and their supervisors upon request and should be included in the annual performance evaluation discussion. Employee and Organizational Development Department can also assist departments in coordinating in-house departmental training opportunities to meet their specific needs.

Participation in non-VSU sponsored professional development activities is encouraged when departmental funding permits.

Membership in Professional Associations

Only memberships and dues in the name of the University can be paid by the University. This precludes all payment of memberships and dues in the name of individuals.

The University may pay institutional memberships and dues in professional associations provided that they are in the name of the University. Memberships in the name of an individual cannot be paid or reimbursed from any fund source unless one of the following circumstances applies: 

  1. The membership is necessary to fulfill the requirements of a job. A letter of justification detailing the necessity of the membership must accompany any request for payment, or

  2. The sole purpose of the membership is to purchase professional journals at a reduced rate that are not available through the University Libraries.

The membership must include the cost of the journal and be less than the amount that would be paid if the journal was purchased alone. These journals become the property of the University rather than the individual in whose name the membership is made. The journals must pertain to the mission of the department from which payment is made. A letter of justification providing details to show the cost advantage of purchasing the membership must accompany any request for payment.

Educational Opportunities (Credit Classes)/Tuition Assistance Program

Valdosta State University provides eligible faculty and staff members with a program of tuition assistance for job or career related course work. Administered by the Human Resources and Employee Development and the University Registrar's Office, the Tuition Assistance Program identifies criteria for eligibility. With supervisory approval, employees taking credit courses (either though the Tuition Assistance Program or independently) may alter their work schedules to attend classes. However, all non-administrative classified personnel are paid for actual hours worked, and time off to attend classes must be made up or taken without pay. Administrative classified personnel are not paid on a per hour worked basis and may be allowed time off to attend classes so long as work schedules can be arranged to fulfill work commitments. Adjustments in work schedules are subject to approval by an employee's immediate supervisor.

Educational leave:

Regular employees: 

A "regular" employee as defined in Types of Employment may be granted educational leave without pay for periods not to exceed one year at a time for the purpose of professional/career development. The employee must receive administrative approval through his/her department and Human Resources. Such leaves may be granted at the discretion of the University and only when conditions are favorable as determined by management. When leave without pay under this policy is granted, the employee may elect to continue group insurance benefits with institutional participation in premium payments. Upon return from educational leave without pay, the employee shall be entitled to be restored by the unit to the position of employment held when the leave commenced or to an equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Employee Auditing of Classes: 

Employees of an institution of the University System of Georgia may attend classes offered by the same institution without registering as "auditors" and without credit being offered for such attendance. This provision applies to non-credit courses on a space-available basis. It is the responsibility of the employee to secure the approval of his/her supervisor and the instructor of a particular course in order to attend a class as an auditor.