Professional Development Grants

Due to a large number of outstanding proposals, the submission window for Professional Development Grants has closed.

New Professional Development Grants may be proposed beginning during the Fall Semester, 2015

Established in 2012, the grants support the strategic mission of WCU by providing funds for faculty and instructional staff to pursue professional development opportunities in areas such as teaching and learning, scholarship, leadership, certification, accreditation, assessment, and other related areas.

Maximum Award: $1200


The purpose of the professional development funds is to provide tenured, tenure-track, fixed-term, part-time faculty, and instructional staff with the opportunity to pursue opportunities for professional development in areas such as teaching and learning, scholarship, leadership, certification, accreditation, assessment, and other related areas. Funds may be used for courses, workshops, training, testing, and related activities.

Amount of Award:

 Professional development funds are normally limited to a maximum of $1200. Any exceptions require a compelling rationale and promise of extraordinary benefits in relation to total costs. Applicants may receive no more than two professional development grants per fiscal year, including joint applications.

Proposal Format and Review Criteria:

Keep in mind that your proposal will be read by faculty who may not be familiar with terms commonly used in your field. A full, clear explanation is important. Include the following items and please arrange them in the order listed below.

I.  A completed Professional Development Proposal Cover Sheet (click here). Be sure to ask your department head and dean if they can provide any funding and list amounts under "Sources of Support" on the cover sheet. In light of rising travel costs and a fixed budget for this program, financial support from your department and college will strengthen your proposal.

II.  A description of the specific activities to be undertaken. Attach the published brochure or information obtained from the event planners and highlight appropriate activities.

III.  Specific statements of how the proposed activity will contribute to your professional development and supports the mission of your department/discipline, college, and/or university.

  • Awarding of funds is competitive and is done at the discretion of the Professional Development Grants committee. The review committee will consider the following questions in considering proposals for funding:
    1. Will the proposed activity directly and specifically enhance the professional development of the applicant?
    2. Does the proposed activity support the mission of the department/discipline, college of institution?
    3. Does the proposed activity provide for professional development opportunities not currently available at WCU?
    4. Does the proposed activity represent an efficient use of funds?

IV.  Please attach a completed, itemized budget listing using the WCU travel preapproval form [click here for link to WCU Travel page]. If appropriate, please explain and justify any deviations from approved state travel reimbursement rates. Funds may not be used to employ others (such as student workers) or to purchase equipment (such as computers).

V.  Although a letter of support from your department head or dean is not required, such a letter may strengthen your application if it indicates that your department or college places high priority on your proposed activity.

  • The committee will consider the extent to which the applicant's department and/or college support the proposed activity, either with a financial contribution or letters explaining how the activity relates to departmental/college priorities.

You can find a checklist for Professional Development Grants requirements here.

Send one signed copy of your proposal to: Coulter Faculty Commons, 166 Hunter Library and one electronic copy to Annette Parris.

Reporting Procedures

In accepting a Professional Development award, each recipient agrees to submit to the Provost a brief written report (1-3 pp.) within one year after the funded activity. The purpose of this report is to validate the effectiveness of the Professional Development program and to build documentation in support of continued funding for the program.

The report should point out the main benefits of the experience how the activity met the mission of the department, college, or university. If the activity had shortcomings or failed to measure up to your expectations, feel free to comment candidly about any weaknesses.

Please address your report to the Provost and send a copy to the Director of the Coulter Faculty Commons.


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