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 FDF provides financial support for a multitude of research expenses such as conference travel and research assistant wages, including endeavors that enhance the applicant's professional effectiveness. Research grants are primarily intended for faculty looking to fund work that will lead to applying for funding from external sources.

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. Information and resources are found in the FAQ.

There are typically 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 250 applications in a short period of time. The application form, guidelines, and FAQ are designed to help make that process more efficient, and we appreciate your careful reading of and adherence to the guidelines. We strongly encourage faculty to apply before the last day applications are due, in case you encounter technical glitches or unforeseen personal circumstances.

The Fall 2024 FDF applications will be due October 8th and an announcement will be sent out when the application portal is open.

The Spring 2025 FDF applications will be due February 11th. 

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Travel Application Guidelines

Research and Equipment Application Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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. The workshop will be held via Zoom on September 13, 2023, 3:30-4:15pm. Please sign up here.

If you were unable to attend, you can view the slides from the most recent workshop.

Please carefully read 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.

Faculty Development Fund Committee Bylaws

The College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Development Fund Committee reviews applications for the Faculty Development Fund (henceforth FDF) and collectively makes a decision for awards in a manner articulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (henceforth CBA). The committee also maintains, and can revise by Committee consensus decision, the guidelines by which they navigate their decisions over the FDF award distribution.


The FDF Committee has ten members per the CBA. Membership includes faculty representatives from the arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The Dean appoints up to five members, one of whom can be a faculty member and four of whom are administration delegates, and the USFFA appoints five members. One member from each group is appointed as co-chair; an administrative co-chair is appointed by the Dean, and a faculty co-chair is designated by the existing faculty members of the Committee or, if necessary, appointed by the Dean. Whenever possible, the faculty co-chair for the Committee shall be a former or existing member of the FDF Committee who is familiar with the guidelines, procedures and University’s accounting rules. The faculty co-chair represents the CAS faculty on FDF-related issues within the USFFA as needed. Faculty co-chairs serve terms of up to three years, which can be renewed by FDF Committee decision.

Up to four non-voting members, Program Assistant(s) and Business Manager(s) from the Dean’s Office, also attend Committee meetings.

The standard term for elected or appointed faculty serving on the Curriculum Committee is normally three years. Exceptions for shorter or staggered terms can be made at the discretion of the Committee co-chairs in consultation with the Committee.


Co-chairs determine the time and place of meetings, and develop and make available meeting agendas and materials for meetings. Decisions are reached by consensus or by majority vote of members present. The Dean’s Office program assistant records the decisions and discussions made during the meetings for a record. Typically, the FDF Committee meets twice during an academic year. However, when the deliberation of award distribution takes longer than usual or the discussion of guideline revisions is needed, the co-chairs may call for additional meetings. 

Co-chairs are empowered by the Committee members to oversee the faculty’s FDF accounts and to make off-cycle decisions regarding adjusted use of funds within an award (for the awarded purpose) and emergency awards, as described in the FDF Guidelines. The faculty co-chair is expected to collaborate with the USFFA and its relevant bodies whenever it is called upon for such a service. 


Full-time faculty members are expected to adhere to the College’s FDF application processes outlined on the Faculty Development Fund pages. (Per CBA and addendum agreement with the University, each academic unit can locally govern the procedures of FDF award distribution and management so long as such procedures do not deviate from the CBA and addendum agreements.) The Committee members use the FDF guidelines to recommend their decision for all applications in the College. Each committee member is typically assigned a subset of applications to review (typically 30-60, depending on the number of applications in a given cycle). Committee members typically receive 80-90% of assigned applications in their representative area and 10-20% in other areas. The Committee draws on each faculty and administrators’ knowledge in their areas to make an informed and objective decision on each application.

Faculty members of the FDF committee who have submitted an application for funding is not assigned their own application for review, nor are they assigned the applications of their spouses or partners. In addition, faculty members of the FDF committee are not assigned applications in which they serve as a collaborator on the project submitted for funding. 

In cases in which the applications of a faculty member on the committee, or their spouses or partners, require discussion before the full committee, the faculty member recuses themselves from the discussion and decision regarding their own applications and those of their spouse or partner. Similarly, should a faculty member serve as a collaborator on a project under discussion, the faculty member recuses themselves from the discussion and decision.

After discussion, the Committee either approves or rejects submitted applications; final decisions may also be conditional on the provision of additional documents or clarification from the applicant.  “Approve” sends the approval letter to the applicants. “Reject” returns the applications to the faculty originator. Depending on the reasons for the rejection, an applicant may be invited to revise and resubmit their application; when the originator completes the revisions and resubmission to satisfy the standards set by the Committee, the Committee co-chairs make the final decision.

Approved by FDF Committee: November 6, 2020; additions approved December 5, 2022
Approved by USFFA: Arts Council, February 22, 2021; COSEC, March 15, 2021; additions approved December 13, 2022
Approved by CAS Dean’s Office: March 17, 2021 (by AD Gamson on behalf of the Dean’s Office); additions approved December 15, 2022