Lecturers' Professional Development Funding Program: Background

Lecturers | Professional development

By Michelle Squitieri, Field Representative, UC-AFT Local 1474

This article attempts to clarify the complexities of the Lecturers' Professional Development Funding program, is a collaborative effort between the University administration (which funds and oversees the program), UC-AFT (which bargained for it, ensures compliance with the MOU, and helps publicize it), and the Professional Development Funding Committee (which establishes and revises procedures and allocates the funds, subject to approval by University administrators).

The general requirements for administration of this program are laid out in Article 9 of the lecturers' MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding--also known as the lecturers' contract), which you can find by clicking on the link below:

Unit 18 Lecturers' contract

You should have received a printed copy from your department when you were hired; if you did not, please contact me at msquitieri@sonic.net .

Professional development funding is provided by the University for lecturers because your union bargained with the administration to secure that funding. But although this funding was obtained through the bargaining process by the hard work of the union's bargaining team, it is not union money. PDF grants are funded by the University and are subject to the University's rules and procedures.

The lecturers' MOU requires that each campus allocate $135 for each FTE (full-time equivalent) lecturer position on that campus. (For example, two half-time lecturer positions would equal one FTE for the purposes of this allocation.) The union hopes to increase that amount in future bargaining sessions. Last year, the Berkeley campus received one-time additional funding for professional development grants as a result of a settlement of a grievance over summer sessions pay. Any funds not awarded must be rolled over and can be used for grants in subsequent years.

PDF grants are not awarded by the union but by a Professional Development Funding (PDF) committee in consultation with University administrators. Each year, the union local provides a list of about seven lecturer volunteers to campus administrators who then choose five lecturers from that list to serve on the committee. Committee members are increasingly recruited from the ranks of previous grant winners, but any Unit 18 lecturer may volunteer to serve on the committee.

The PDF committee revises procedures, criteria, and documents for each year's PDF awards in consultation with the administration. The committee works with the union to publicize the grants, but the committee alone evaluates the applications and submits recommendations for awards to the appropriate administrator. The PDF committee is thus a University committee, not a union committee, though it works with union representatives as well as university administrators to implement the MOU requirements for the PDF program.

All Unit 18 lecturers with teaching appointments at the Berkeley campus during the academic year or summer are eligible. Lecturers need not be union members to apply for a grant or to serve on the PDF committee. Joining the union is a good thing to do for many reasons, but it will not affect any lecturer's chances of receiving a PDF grant or of being chosen to serve on the committee.