Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

According to the CBA, the FDF supports research endeavors that support “a candidate’s request for consideration for promotion or tenure,” and for the enhancement of “professional effectiveness” as defined in the CBA. There are two types of applications: travel (for conferences or research) and non-travel (typically equipment and research assistants). Funds can only be used for the purposes stated in the application.

The FDF committee currently consists of five full-time faculty members representing each field and four representatives of the CAS administration. All applications are reviewed by multiple committee members and then discussed; the committee works on a consensus model. Information about the current committee can be found under “Questions and Feedback” below.

All applications are submitted via the Gnosis system. No hard-copy applications or award letters are used. There are currently two funding cycles, one in the Fall (with an October deadline) and one in Spring (with a February deadline).

The required contents for the different types of applications are found within these guidelines. Faculty are expected to read these instructions carefully and to provide everything requested; failure to do so is likely to result in delays, extra work for everyone, or a denial of the application.

Applicants are welcome to submit more than one application within a cycle, although if there is a budget shortfall not all worthy applications can be funded. Applicants with more than one application are required to rank their applications according to priority order from most to least professionally significant.

Most research funding requests are under $4,000, and most travel requests are under $2000. The FDF Award Committee devotes additional scrutiny to requests above those amounts. Depending on the availability of funds, in some cycles the FDF Committee sets a cap on award amounts per faculty member.

No. With the exception of rare circumstances for first-year faculty members as they get used to the system. Notifications and reminders go out many weeks before the deadline. For the FDF Committee to complete its work we need everyone to submit their applications on time. To avoid complications, please do not wait to submit until the last minute before the online system closes.

Applications are given one of three results: accepted, conditionally accepted, or denied. Award letters are sent shortly after the FDF Committee’s final decisions are made, typically about a month after the submission deadline for that cycle has passed.

  • Faculty whose proposals are accepted are free to use their funds as soon as they have received their award letter.
  • Applications that are conditionally accepted are typically those in which the applicant is awaiting an important piece of information (e.g., whether a paper has been accepted for a conference) or the FDF Committee is requesting additional information. Once the issue is resolved with the FDF Committee co-chairs, the application is accepted.
  • Applications that are denied are not funded. The applicant will receive an email summarizing the FDF Committee’s reasons for the denial. We encourage unsuccessful applicants to talk with the Committee co-chairs and/or their Associate Dean to learn more about the reasons for denial and then, when appropriate, to revise and resubmit for the following funding cycle.

Due to the increasing number and complexity of applications, requests outside of the regular funding cycles will only be considered on a case-by-case basis in true emergencies, such as an unanticipated research opportunity or deadline, or when it’s clear that the FDF Committee made an error in accounting. Faculty can contact the FDF Committee Co-chairs to request emergency out-of-cycle consideration. The co-chairs cannot overturn a denial by the FDF Committee, however, and applicants are encouraged to revise and resubmit denied applications in the following cycle.

Although you are not eligible to apply to the FDF to cover expenditures incurred while on an unpaid leave, you can apply for funds during (or to be used during) a sabbatical. Be sure to indicate in your narrative if you have or intend to also apply to the Sabbatical Support Fund (SSF) and if so the amount of the award received and for which expenses (or the amount and expenses for which you are applying). Travel expenses for sabbatical relocation are not generally covered by the FDF.

You can apply for travel (or equipment) expenses you've already incurred, but only if those expenses were incurred during the same fiscal year as the current FDF cycle. (The fiscal year ends on May 31st, so only expenses incurred in the year before that date can be reimbursed.) Accounting and Business Services will not process reimbursement across fiscal years. Retroactive applications involving expenses from a prior fiscal year will therefore not be considered. Keep in mind, as you decide whether to spend your own money and then apply retroactively for FDF funding, that FDF Awards are not guaranteed. 

You can apply in advance for funds that will be used to cover expenses coming up in the next fiscal year. For instance, if you have a conference in July, you can apply in the Spring FDF cycle; if awarded, the funds will then be there in the upcoming fiscal year for reimbursement for those July expenses. You can also wait until the Fall cycle and apply retroactively for the conference costs. The key is that you will be submitting for reimbursement during the fiscal year in which the costs were incurred.

Travel and equipment expenses are handled through reimbursements, which are processed through Concur; faculty are responsible for submitting receipts and using the account number listed in their award letter. Reimbursement requests should be submitted and within 10 days of the date of the expense. Research assistant payments are made from the faculty member’s FDF research account; faculty are responsible for tracking student work hours and approving time sheets, using the account number listed in their award letter. For further details, see Post-Award FAQ.

Please watch this video demonstrating the Balance Query process.

Please see the Tracking Tools in the Post-Award FAQ below for FDF award tracking sheets and Research Assistant tracking sheets.

Please make sure you understand the deadlines for using funds in O FOAPs and E FOAPs (and for returning to the CAS pool funds you discover you won't be using). This information is attached to your award letter, and also addressed in the Post-Award FAQ section. You can also consult this chart summarizing deadlines.

This may occur if you have a summer conference and are paying for airfare and conference registration during this fiscal year (on or before May 31) but pay the rest of the costs after this fiscal year ends (after May 31).  If this is the case, please apply for funding in the current fiscal year, so that funds are in your account for the awarded purpose. If you receive the award, submit one Concur expense report during the current fiscal year for the first set of expenses (incurred on or before May 31) and a second Concur expense report for the second set of expenses when the travel is complete (incurred after May 31).

The reason you’re asked to enter a budget in two places is because they serve different purposes. The one in gnosis is used to auto-generate award letters and to document the award amounts for the processing of reimbursement requests; the one in the proposal narrative is used in the committee review, since you can add explanations and annotations there that you cannot on the gnosis application page.

We understand your confusion. The system was created, and agreed to between the University and the USFFA, as the most sensible way to keep clear track of spending, not leave unused funds sitting indefinitely, discourage stockpiling of funds, and clarify end dates of funding. You can find more detailed explanations in other FAQs, but here are the basics.

Every time you receive a Faculty Development Fund (FDF) award, it goes into an account. In Banner, these are referred to as FOAPs (acronym for Fund, Organization, Account, Program, but just think of this as a synonym for "my FDF account").

You have two FOAPs (accounts), depending on when you received an award, each with its own number specific to you and which is yours from here on out. When you receive an award in an academic year ending in an odd number, it goes into your O FOAP. When you receive an award in an academic year ending in an even number, it goes into your E FOAP. You can see your FOAP (account) numbers by logging into the FDF gnosis  application site, clicking on the semester and year of your award, and looking toward the top of the screen. These personal account numbers don't change from year to year. You just have two of them.

The funds in these accounts expire in mid-August of the academic year after you received the award; at that point, your account will remain open but the balance will go to zero. (It's like having airline points that expire after a certain date.) See the FAQ on expirations, or your award letter, for more detail.

Expenses for which you received an award must be billed to the FOAP (account) that goes along with that award (as described above).

Just as with a bank account, when an account balance is getting low you need to stop spending from that account. That means you need to periodically check your account balances in Banner Finance. You'll probably have to remind yourself which account is which (O FOAP or E FOAP) and how long you have to use those funds. We have various resources on these pages you can use to check and track account balances; we strongly recommend using these as a guide, since many people find Banner Finance non-intuitive. 

Travel Application FAQ

Either is fine, as long as your reimbursement request will be made within the same fiscal year as the travel takes place. (The fiscal year ends on May 31st.) Since there is no guarantee you will receive FDF funding, most people prefer to apply before the trip; since submitting retroactively allows you to provide a more accurate budget, some people prefer to apply after the trip. Please keep in mind that Accounting and Business Services is unable to process reimbursements for expenses incurred in a previous fiscal year, and therefore applications that involve such expenses cannot be considered.

No. Although you can apply retroactively if you like, it's best to apply in the Spring cycle for summer (or early fall) travel that will take place beyond May 31st (the end of the current fiscal year). That way, if you receive the awards, funds will be in your account for use in the next fiscal year.

For instance: 

  • If your activities happen before May 31, 2020 (the end of the current fiscal year), apply to FDF in Spring 2020 cycle.
  • If your activities happen after May 31, 2020, you can apply to FDF either in Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 cycle

Yes, if you are requesting more than $250 for California travel, more than $500 for other domestic travel, or more the $750 for international travel. The Committee needs to see evidence that faculty members are selecting economical fares; if they are not, the Committee may fund only part of the airfare. The best way to provide this is to get and save multiple price quotes when you book the flight. If you neglected to do that, please provide information from Fare Detective on the average airfare for the time period of purchase.

Please submit one application containing your entire itinerary. It is essential that you explain in your application each part of the trip, its professional significance, and its relative priority; please provide any needed details in the itemized budget. You should also include a contingency plan (or Plan B) in the event that the FDF Committee denies or finds issues with one part of the application, including the costs of the trips if taken individually.

You must fill out a Request to Be Absent form prior to your travel. Both the department chair and the appropriate Associate Dean must sign this form. Failure to complete this form for FDF-related travel may endanger your future FDF travel applications.

Since priority is given to those who have a specific role at a conference beyond attendee, this is a reasonable concern. One option is to wait and apply retroactively. Another is to apply by the deadline and indicate when you expect to hear about your paper; cases like these often receive a conditional acceptance pending the acceptance of a paper. You can then update the FDF Committee when you’ve heard from the conference organizers. It is also a good idea to include in your statement of objectives any other professional reasons you plan on attending the conference beyond the presentation of a paper.

The FDF Committee doesn’t evaluate on the basis of travel warnings or unstable conditions in travel destinations. However, the list of faculty destinations is shared with the Center for Global Education and final discretion as to whether university funds can be used to travel to a particular country rests with the Provost. You may also want to contact the Center for Global Education in advance of your application to check on the status of your desired destination.

No, the FDF cannot cover the costs of canceled trips. When this happens, faculty typically arrange any refunds or credits and absorbs any additional non-refundable costs. Although we are not allowed to treat travel insurance as a reimbursable item, many faculty members purchase travel insurance in order reduce the financial loss of an unforeseeable cancellation.

Research and Equipment Application FAQ

FDF awards are made to individual faculty members. However, in cases of collaborative research projects, you should prepare a joint application that describes the overall project and includes a clear division of labor and costs for each member of the team. Each faculty member can then submit this same application, tailored to their own individual tasks, portion of the budget, and relation to their own research trajectory.

You can’t hire USF students, faculty, or staff as independent contractors. Use USFWorks to post a student position. Visit the Supervisor Instructions page for more information (login required).

Rarely but occasionally a faculty member cannot find a student qualified to take on the duties necessary for their research to proceed, and under strict conditions may hire an RA outside of USF. This is not encouraged. To do so, you must first demonstrate that you have tried but could not find a USF student who can adequately assist in your research; this includes advertising the position at USF. You will also need to explain in your application how you comply with the legal requirement of equal opportunity in hiring (how you would advertise the position, what selection criteria you would use, and so on). In addition, a non-USF assistant must be paid a higher benefits rate (currently 28% as opposed to 12% for USF students), and will need to work with the Payroll Department to hire and pay a non-USF affiliate (a different process than standard student hiring).

No. USF must pay vendors or individuals providing services directly; do not pay them out of your own pocket, as you will not be able to get reimbursed. The vendor should prepare an invoice and receive payment directly from the University. Your department's program assistant is trained in processing these types of payment and can assist. 

Post-Award FAQ

All of your award funds, both research and travel, go into an account referred to as a FOAP. If your award was made in an odd numbered fiscal year (e.g., Academic Year 2018-19) the funds go into an O FOAP (“O” for “odd”); if your award was made in an even numbered fiscal year (e.g., Academic Year 2019-20) the funds go into an E FOAP. You’ll have an individual O FOAP number and an individual E FOAP number, which you can find at any time by going to the FDF gnosis site, clicking on the award year and semester, and looking at the top of your screen.

If you'd like to check the balance in your FOAP, follow the instructions in this balance query demonstration video.

Yes. The funds can be used until the end of the fiscal year after the award was made, so you have roughly 15-20 months to use them; after that, your balance in that FOAP (account) goes back to zero. Note: The accounts themselves don't expire, and your account numbers remain the same; it's only the funds within them that have an expiration date.

In other words, if you received an award in either Fall 2018 or Spring 2019, you have until August 15, 2020 to use the funds, after which your O FOAP balance will go back to zero. If you received an award in either Fall 2019 or Spring 2020, those funds will be available until August 15, 2021; after that, your E FOAP balance will go back to zero. If you then receive an award in either Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, those funds will be available until August 15, 2022, after which your O FOAP balance will go back to zero; and so on. For a handy calendar showing these expiration dates, see the explanation and chart attached to your award letter.

For travel and equipment reimbursements, you submit an expense report in Concur. Accounting and Business Services provides instructions and a tutorial. You’ll need: a copy of your award letter; the Fund number (your individual FDF number found on the gnosis site, 28XXXX), the Charging Organization (211042), and Program Code (1200). Be sure that you are selecting the individual Fund number that matches the project for which the award was made.

A note on meal reimbursements: The expense type to use for food is Meal Allotment 716430. No receipts are required. Instead, attach the FDF award letter, which shows the amount awarded for meals, in the meal receipt area.

Be sure to keep track of your expenditures so that you don’t overspend. Faculty are expected to process their own reimbursements; program assistants have been trained on this and can provide assistance, but processing awards for all faculty is outside of the scope of their job. Travel reimbursement requests should be submitted within 10 days of the date of the completion of travel. Retroactive travel reimbursement requests should be submitted as soon as possible after the relevant FDF Award is made.

All reimbursement requests must be within the same fiscal year as the travel took place; the fiscal year ends on May 31st, so only expenses incurred in the year before that date can be reimbursed. Requests for reimbursement for expenses in a previous fiscal year will be denied by Accounting and Business Services. 

No, but the CAS Office of Operations can help you purchase airline tickets without using a personal credit card using a “ghost P-card." Please contact Sharon Li (pli7@usfca.edu) or Daniel Dao (ddao@usfca.edu) for details.

For expenses incurred overseas/in another currency, please include original receipts (or quotes) in the country’s currency with an expense report completed in US dollars. When converting to US dollars for international travel, the University requires that receipts be converted on the day of the expense or final bill. Please go online to one of the converters and be sure to include the exact date of conversions (and not the current day’s date). Each conversion for each receipt must have a printed copy of the conversion from the online converter submitted with the receipt.

For research assistants, you must post a job listing. Once you’ve identified an RA, you process their hire through Workday. Your program assistant should be able to help you with this. Be sure their payments are set up from the FOAP (O FOAP or E FOAP) that matches the project for which the award was made. Be sure to keep track of your expenditures so that you don’t overspend. 

Yes. Hilltop Shop purchases should be completed by June 15th.

Reimbursement is typically by direct deposit into your bank account. If you have not set this up, please download a reimbursement direct deposit form and email the competed form to ap@usfca.edu. Note that this form is different from the direct deposit form for salary.

No. There is no mechanism for automatic notifications when your funds are getting low and faculty are responsible for keeping track of their expenditures and account balances. (You might think of it as similar to managing a personal budget and bank account.) Please track your expenditures and check your balance regularly to avoid overdrawing your account, and contact the Office of Operations if you have questions. If you have an RA and funds are getting low, you must alert them to stop their work.

We encourage you to thoughtfully estimate your financial needs and return any extra funds if it turns out you will not be using them. If you realize that you’ve asked for more funding for a project than you will actually spend, or if the circumstances for a project change, please contact the FDF co-chairs to return the funds by August 15th of the award year; if you do so, that money will return to the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) FDF pool for disbursement in a future cycle. After that date, any balance in that account will be rebalanced and redistributed across all the academic units by the University after the award expires.

Faculty are accountable for overspending. You can learn to check your account balance by watching this balance query demonstration video. Information on overspending policy is coming soon.

According to the CBA, “Failure to use FDF for the stated purpose shall obligate the Association member to reimburse the FDF in full.” If funds are not needed for the purpose for which they are awarded, the faculty member should notify the FDF Co-chairs that the funds can be returned to the FDF. However, within a particular project and with approval from the CAS Office of Operations, fund usage may be adjusted (e.g., less money spent on hotel and more on airfare) as long as this does not lead to exceeding the original award amount.

We cannot make post-award adjustments except in extraordinary circumstances. You can request to distribute the amounts spent within your award amount (for the awarded project) but we do not change the total amount awarded after the award has been made.

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

Checking FDF Award Balances in Banner Finance

You can check your balance, broken down by types of expenditures, at any time through Self-Service Banner by going to myUSF and clicking on Employee Self Service. To check your account balance, you’ll need your individual FDF number (28XXXX) and the Organization number (211042).

This demonstration video shows you how to check balances in Self Service Banner.

Here are the basic instructions:

  1. Log into myUSF and click on Employee Self-Service.
  2. Click on the Finance tab. If you don't see a Finance tab, contact Sharon Li (pli7@usfca.edu) or Daniel Dao (ddao@usfca.edu).
  3. Select Budget Queries.
  4. Select Budget Status by Account then click on Create Query.
  5. Check only the following boxes: Total Available Budget; Year to Date; Encumbrances; Reservations; and Available Balance.
  6. Select the correct fiscal year (Academic Year 2018-19 is Fiscal Year 2019, AY 2019-20 is FY 2020, and so on), and enter the Fund code of your FDF (28XXXX) and organization code (211042). Fiscal Period should be 14, Comparison Fiscal year should be None, Comparison Fiscal period should be none, Chart of Accounts should be S, and everything else should be left blank.
  7. View the Results page. Your available balance will be on the bottom right.

Keep in mind that the balance shown may not reflect recent charges and will not show you the balance of any particular award (since all awards, travel and research, go into a single FOAP based on the fiscal year in which you received them). You may also want to use our handy FDF Award Tracking Sheet, see instructions on this page.

FDF Award Tracking Sheet and Instructions

The FDF Tracking Sheet is an Excel template which you can use to keep track of your FDF award spending. You can track expenditures and remaining funds in your O-FOAP and your E-FOAP; track by award type (travel or research/equipment) and expenditure type; and track totals in both of your FOAPs. The form, which you can adapt as needed, calculates your remaining balances based on your manual entry of awarded amounts and expenditures.

FDF AWARD TRACKING SHEET

  1. On the travel sheet(s), enter the specific amounts from your FDF award letter in column B (“Awarded amount”). Use the Travel O sheet for travel awards that went into your O-FOAP and the Travel E sheet for travel awards that went into your E-FOAP.
  2. On the travel sheet(s), enter actual expenses in column C (“Actual expense”) when you’ve completed your travel and submitted those expenses for reimbursement via Concur.
  3. You will see the remaining amount in each category, and the total remaining from that award, in column D (“Amount remaining”).
  1. On the research sheet(s), enter the specific amounts by expense type from your FDF award letter in column B (“Awarded amount”). Use the Research O sheet for research/equipment awards that went into your O-FOAP and the Research E sheet for research/equipment awards that went into your E-FOAP.
  2. On the research sheet(s), enter actual expenses in column C (“Actual expense”). Enter equipment expenses after you’ve made purchases and submitted those expenses for reimbursement via Concur. You can use the separate RA Timesheet (available on the FDF web page) to track RA hours and calculate RA pay expenditures.
  3. You will see the remaining amount in each category, and the total remaining from that award, in column D (“Amount remaining”).

Important notes

  • The FOAP TOTALS page will automatically summarize the totals for a quick look at your balances.
  • This tracking sheet is for your own accounting purposes, to assist you in keeping track and in avoiding overdrawing your FOAP(s). The official amounts are in Banner Finance, and you should regular run a budget query there to make sure that the amounts correspond. (For instructions on budget queries, watch the instructional video on the FDF webpage; contact Sharon Li at pli7@usfca.edu if you need assistance.)

RA Hours: USFWorks, Tracking Sheet and Instructions

USFWorks

You can check your RA expenditures on USFWorks at any time; your program assistant should be able to help with this. This, along with periodic checks of your FOAP balance, should allow you to recognize when you are running out of funds. At that point, your RA will need to stop work right away; or, if you have received funds in your other FOAP to continue the research, you will need to use Workday to change the payment arrangement to that other FOAP.

APPROVING RA TIMESHEETS

USF Payroll is no longer auto-approving timesheets. This means that hourly employees and students will not be paid if their managers do not approve their hours at the end of each pay period. If you have hired a Research Assistant, you are their manager and are responsible for approving timesheets. 

Payroll recommends that all managers set a calendar reminder to run the USFWorks "team time review" on the 15th and last day of the month to ensure that their direct reports have submitted their time, and again run the report on the 16th and 1st of each month to approve time entered. To do this: On your USFWorks home page, click the Team Time worklet --> Actions --> Review Time.

If a delay in payment to the next pay period causes hardship to the employee, a special check request should be submitted to Gale Bettencourt (gbettencourt@usfca.edu), Director of Payroll Services, for approval by Dom Daher. 

RA HOURS TRACKING SHEET

The FDF RA Timesheet is an Excel file template which will calculate expenditures, including the cost of benefits, and your remaining balance based on your manual entry of billed RA hours. We recommend faculty use a separate sheet for each individual RA award.

RA HOURS TRACKING SHEET

How to Use

  1. Enter your RA award amount for your designated in cell D3 (“TOTAL AWARD”).
  2. Enter the total RA hours corresponding to your FDF RA award in cell D4 (“Total RA HRS).
  3. Modify the content of the RA TABLE (in cells Q7-18, R 7-18, and S7-18) for your own needs.
    • Change the default names (Elias, Alex, David etc.) by typing in your RA’s actual name(s).
    • Change your RA’s level (type either U for undergraduate RA and G for Graduate RA) and pay rate (Undergraduate RA = $15, Graduate RA = $16).
    • These changes will be automatically reflected on the RA timesheet.
    • Note: You can change the names and rates as needed. The default sheet has 10 research assistants added already. If an eleventh RA is need, you can click the next cell below the last name and start typing. This will create a new row that will work with the rest of the spreadsheet. Fill in the name, level and rate.
  4. Enter Pay Period (Column A). Simply type a number at the pay period (Column A) and a new row will be created.
  5. Have your RA fill out Columns B, C, E and F (Name, Date, Start Time and End time) to indicate when they started and completed their work assignment.
    • When these areas are filled, this sheet will automatically calculate the remaining balance (see Column K).
    • If you overspend your award, the figure in Column K will turn from Black to Red. This means you have run out of your funds and are now overspending your award. Your RA should immediately stop working for you to avoid further overdrawing of your account.
  6. Column L can be used by either faculty or the RA to describe the type of assignment that the RA is required to do for that date.
  7. Column M should be completed by the RA to report to the faculty what kind of progress he/she made for each assignment.
  8. Note section (Column N) is there for both parties (RA and faculty) to write comments as needed.
  9. Share your FDF RA timesheet with your assistant.
  10. Monitor the timesheet. Sharing the timesheet via shared drive such as Dropbox, Google Drive or One Drive allows you to receive a notification every time your RA makes changes on the timesheet.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • This timesheet does not replace the Workday timesheet. Make sure your RA submits the correct number of hours via Workday. Every time your RA submits their hours via Workday, you should run a budget query via Banner finance to make sure that the hours correspond to those entered in this Excel sheet. (For instructions on budget queries, watch the instructional video on the FDF webpage; contact Sharon Li at pli7@usfca.edu if you need assistance.) If there is discrepancy, your RA most likely entered the wrong number of hours via Workday. Contact Payroll if you have any questions regarding the hours billed.
  • If your balance is less than 20% of your original award, you should calculate the number of remaining hours left and make sure you do not overspend your original award.
  • You are legally obligated to pay your assistant within 10 days of their service regardless of your balance. You are legally prohibited from paying your assistant directly with your own private money.