Professional Development Assignment

Professional Development Assignment (PDA) is an academic sabbatical, an intellectual retreat that gives faculty members the opportunity to renew themselves. Academic sabbaticals are mutually beneficial for the College and the faculty. We believe that providing our students with knowledgeable and engaged professors means allowing the faculty member to engage more deeply in research and creative activity, refresh their perspectives and advance professionally.

To be considered, you must submit a proposal to the CCFA Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. To submit, download the form, then contact the Associate Dean's administrative secretary, Grace Neeley, to set up a PDA application folder for you. When your application is complete with your signature from the chair, scan and upload to your PDA folder in OneDrive, along with supporting documentation.

For more information about PDA, contact:
Dr. Ryan Fisher
CCFA Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Due Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Purpose: To encourage faculty members to continue their professional growth as artists, scholars, and teachers.


  • To encourage in-depth artistic and scholarly activities;
  • To upgrade the national visibility of the faculty of the College of Communication and Fine Arts;
  • To develop faculty expertise and innovation in instruction.

Proposal Format

The proposal should include:

  • Application for PDA
  • A description of the nature and scope of the project to be undertaken during the leave time; its relationship to the departmental mission; its relation to university and CCFA objectives for PDA's; and its benefits to the faculty member, department/school, and college;
  • A current curriculum vitae (University CV or standard academic CV)
  • Letter from Department Chair/Director
  • Supporting documentation (as appropriate)


  • Faculty members may apply for a PDA for one semester, at full pay, or for one academic year, at half pay;
  • All tenured faculty members are eligible to submit proposals for Professional Development Assignments;
  • Faculty members who have received a previous development leave under this program may apply again after seven years have elapsed since approval of the prior leave. A faculty member may apply after only five years provided he/she proposes to spend a full year on the Assignment, at one half pay. In rare instances, exceptions may be granted by the provost;
  • A faculty member who is awarded an assignment must agree to remain at the University for at least one full year after the assignment is completed;
  • Faculty member receiving awards must submit a report of activities to the dean's office no later than three months after their PDA.

Evaluation Process and Criteria

  • The deadline for submission of proposals occurs in the fall semester and is announced at the annual Fall Faculty Meeting;
  • Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by the CCFA Council for Graduate Studies. Faculty members who are themselves applying for a PDA do not participate in the evaluation. Another member of his/her department is appointed by the chair to participate in the review process;
  • The College Council ranks the proposals for a semester at full pay. These rankings and a summary of the discussion are submitted to the Dean as recommendations. Proposals for a full year at half pay are not ranked, but are forwarded to the Dean with the committee's comments. It is up to the Dean and department chair/school director to determine whether it is possible to grant the leave based on its merits as well as budgetary and staffing considerations;
  • First priority will be given to proposals that advance the faculty member's creative work, traditional or engaged scholarship, and/or teaching and that show clear potential to enhance the faculty member's contribution to the mission and values of the department or school, the College of Communication and Fine Arts, and the University;
  • Priority will be given to proposals that clearly specify the plan for work during the leave period;
  • Priority will be given to faculty members who have not received a previous Assignment. At the same time, those who have received an earlier Assignment are encouraged to apply and those with strong proposals will be supported when possible.