Faculty Development Fund

The Faculty Development Fund (FDF) is a contractually negotiated collective benefit available to all members of the University of San Francisco Faculty Association (USFFA). Non-members (for example, part-time faculty, staff, and administrators) are not eligible to apply. The total amount of the fund is determined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). It is then distributed proportionally to each school or college. This document describes the process in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

The Faculty Development Fund (FDF) provides financial support for a multitude of research expenses such as conference travel and research assistant wages. These grants are primarily intended for faculty looking to fund preliminary projects that will lead to applying for funding from outside sources. There are two funding cycles in the College of Arts and Sciences (one in the fall and a one in the spring).

Faculty are responsible for tracking expenditures and their FDF account (FOAP) balances, avoiding overdrawing their account, and returning any unused funds to the collective CAS FDF fund in a timely manner.

There are currently two funding cycles, one in the Fall (typically with an October deadline) and one in Spring (typically with a February deadline). In each cycle, the FDF Committee reviews more than 200 applications in a short period of time. The application form and guidelines are designed to make helps make that process more efficient, and we appreciate your careful reading of and adherence to the guidelines.

The FDF application site for the Spring 2020 cycle has passed. The deadline for Fall 2020 applications will be posted here during the summer.

Scroll down for information regarding COVID-19-related travel cancellations.

The College of Arts & Sciences FDF Committee is opening an additional Spring 2020 mini-cycle for those whose research or professional development has been disrupted by the pandemic. All FT-USFFA members eligible to use FDF during the current and coming academic year are welcome to apply. 

  • We will accept only research applications (RA and Equipment) and teaching enhancement applications from faculty members whose research and teaching enhancement activities are directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications should include the explanation to this effect.
  • We will accept only one application per faculty member. 
  • The requested amount should not exceed more than $1500 for this particular application cycle. 
  • We will apply existing FDF guidelines and CBA clauses. 
  • Deadline is May 1, 2020, strictly enforced. 
  • Should we receive a large number of applications or the requested amount exceeds our limited budget, we will exercise some priority rules similar to what we used in the time of shortfall. For example, we may prioritize applications from junior faculty and/or faculty members who have not received any RA funds in this academic year. 
  • Application review and decision must be made by May 15, 2020 per the agreement between USFFA and University.  Thus, we may not be able to consider the applications with incomplete or inadequate information and supporting documents. 
  • Faculty receiving awards who already have an E-FOAP from a previous FDF will have funds within 5-10 business days; it may take 1-2 weeks longer for faculty who don't yet have an E-FOAP. 

Apply Now

We offer an FDF Workshop each semester, in which we go over the structure and funding of the FDF, walk through the basics of the application process and guidelines, and answer any FDF-related questions you might have. If you were unable to attend, you can view the slides from and video of the most recent workshop.

Please carefully reach and follow the FDF Guidelines found in these pages. 

The Faculty Development Committee encourages questions and comments regarding policies and procedures. Please feel free to contact the co-chairs of the committee, Associate Deans, or faculty representatives.

Committee staff

For questions about Concur, checking account balances, reimbursements, and other financial issues, please contact the CAS Office of Operations.

ARTICLE 34. Faculty Development Fund and Librarian Development Fund

34.1 All Association members may apply and shall be considered for Faculty Development Funds (FDF)/Librarian Development Funds (LDF). Individuals applying for FDF/LDF shall ordinarily outline plans and use of such funds with their Dean in their Academic Career Prospectus (ACP)/Librarian Career Prospectus (LCP).

34.2 A joint college, school or library committee shall be appointed for the purpose of distributing FDF/LDF. The Dean and the Association member may each appoint up to five individuals to serve a three-year term. Awards shall be decided by mutual agreement between parties, and not by a simple majority vote.

34.3 Association members shall formally apply to the committee for FDF/LDF. The application shall include: (i) a signed statement of intent which sets forth the specific objectives and goals to be accomplished through the use of such funds and (ii) the phrase, “Failure to use FDF/LDF for the stated purpose shall obligate the Association member to reimburse the FDF/LDF in full.” FDF/LDF may not be awarded without a signed statement of intent.

34.4 Funds shall be divided between colleges, schools and library based on the number of Association members in each.

34.5 FDF/LDF shall be awarded pursuant to the following criteria listed in order of priority:
(A) for research endeavors which may support a candidate’s request for consideration for promotion or tenure;
(B) to faculty or librarians who wish to enhance professional effectiveness. Awards shall be based on academic merits alone. Ordinarily, preference for FDF/LDF in each college or library for this criterion shall be junior faculty/librarians.

34.6 Upon written request by the Dean or the Association representative on the committee, any Association member who received FDF/LDF funds, shall account in full for the manner in which these funds were used, including specific documentation showing the funds were used for the purposes stated in the application and statement of intent.

34.7 Should a recipient of FDF/LDF funds fail to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the committee that such funds were spent for the stated purposes or that the proposed activity was substantially completed, the recipient shall repay the FDF/LDF all funds in question. No further funds may be awarded to anyone who fails to document the use of FDF/LDF for the duration of this Agreement.

34.8 An Association member shall submit any dispute concerning this Article in writing to the President of the Association or designee and the Provost or designee for final resolution within ten days of the time the dispute arose. If the dispute is not submitted in writing and within ten (10) days, the University or the Association shall have no obligation to respond, and the decision of the committee shall be final.

34.9 The parties shall not defend individuals who use funds for other than the stated purposes.

34.10 In academic year 2016-2017, the funds provided by the University for distribution shall be $1,573,262.00.

34.11 In subsequent academic years, the University shall divide the 2016-2017 distribution by the number of 2016-2017 Association faculty and librarian lines. The University shall increase the dividend by the Consumer Price Index and then multiply it by the number of the subsequent year’s Association faculty and librarians. The University shall place the resulting amount in the fund.

34.12 Unused funds at the end of the academic year shall be reallocated to the main FDF pool for reallocation the following academic year per the formula in Article 34.4.

34.13 Unused funds in the academic year 2016-2017, shall be divided equally and reallocated in three (3) equal installments (2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

34.14 The provision of faculty development funds shall not be extended automatically and shall be subject to reopened negotiations.

COVID-19 travel information

As COVID-19 spreads domestically and globally, we understand that some planned trips supported by FDF travel awards may be cancelled, delayed, interrupted and postponed. The University administration has issued general travel guidelines about USF-funded domestic and international travel: “USF travelers planning conference travel or other business trips, internationally or domestically, are strongly recommended to reconsider their travel for the months of March and April 2020 if the travel is not essential to a key administrative or operational function or not in direct support of the university’s teaching and research mission.” We would like to help you navigate how this may impact your FDF-supported travel.

Briefly: Should your FDF-funded travel be cancelled or delayed indefinitely, or should you decide not to travel due to health risks, please know that you may use your FDF award to cover any associated cancellation costs. Of course, please seek full refunds whenever possible, but cancellation costs due to the COVID-19 situation will be covered by your FDF award. Cancelling your trip will have no impact on your future FDF applications. However, please return the unused portion of your travel award back to us (i.e. a refunded portion of travel arrangement, ground transportation, per diem, other exception cost if you requested). Please see our FAQ below, and contact FDF co-chairs Hwaji Shin and Joshua Gamson if you have further questions. Please also refer to the following FAQ and our responses, as they may answer your questions. (Updated March 17, 2020.)

Q: Cancellations: The conference/workshop I was planning to attend has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns OR I want to postpone or cancel my trip because I am concerned about COVID-19 infection due to health (or other) concerns. I have already made travel arrangements and received the FDF travel award for it. What should I do?

A: Please cancel your travel arrangements immediately and seek full or partial refund. Once you have done so, please contact us with: the FDF award letter or number, the amount that was not refunded, and the total amount you are therefore returning to the CAS FDF pool. Contact: Ella FrazerHwaji ShinJosh Gamson and Sharon Li.

Q: Fees: I have tried to cancel my travel arrangements and seek a refund, but was unable to avoid cancellation fees or other non-refundable costs. Can I use my FDF award for the portion that wasn’t refunded?

A: Yes. Please make a concerted effort to get cancellation fees waived, but if you have to cancel FDF-funded plans due to COVID-19 you can use your FDF award to cover cancellation fees. If this is the case, please contact us to return the unused portion of your travel award back to CAS (i.e. a refunded portion of travel arrangement, ground transportation, per diem, other exception cost if you requested).

Q: Airline cancellations: I bought a non-refundable plan ticket and now that trip has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The airline won't refund the full price, but instead offers a credit towards future travel. What should I do?

A: If you receive a credit, those funds are now yours. Unfortunately, USF can't reimburse anyone for goods or services that were not rendered. You have a few options: 1) Hold onto the credit for personal travel. If you change the ticket within the current fiscal year (before June 1), you can submit a Concur expense report for the change fee amount. Contact us about this so that you have documentation to submit with your Concur report. If you use the credit after the end of the fiscal year and are charged a change fee, please check in with us to see if FDF can cover it -- this is contingent on the University's approval. 2) Return the FDF award for this round and use the airline credit for future FDF-funded travel, if awarded, within the timeline set by the airline. (Most airlines have extended that timeline to 24 months.) Since the credit now belongs to you and you're using it for the purchase, proceed in your application, budget and reimbursement as you normally would. Include any change fee in the budget with a brief explanation. 3) If you purchased the ticket with a USF purchasing card (i.e., if USF paid for the ticket), please contact us for guidance.

Q: Postponements: I received an FDF award to attend a conference/workshop that has now been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. What should I do?

A: If your conference organizer suggests that they may host the same conference later when it is safe to do so, you have a few options. We support either option.

  • You can keep the travel award that you received and use it for the original purpose when you can before the award expires.
  • You may return the current travel award before this coming August (8/15/2020) and reapply for the award in an upcoming cycle. Contact us to arrange for the return of funds.

Q: Future applications: I have other applications that I plan to submit in upcoming FDF cycles. Does my cancellation of this travel award negatively impact my future application? 

A: No. In fact, when faculty return unused funds back to our CAS unit pool we are able to use that portion toward our future awards. This greatly helps us to support more applications in future cycles. Thus, we encourage you to return any portion of unused travel awards by contacting us.