Prince Sultan University PSU
Policy Management System
Professional Development Policy

Policy Code: TL0011
Policy Name: Professional Development Policy
Handler: Teaching and Learning Center
Date Created: 15 August 2020
Date of Current Review: 15 August 2020
Approved by: University Council
Date of Approval:


Faculty professional development is a crucial factor for the success of PSU Academic Programs and an important prerequisite for raising the quality of teaching and learning. Faculty members are required to keep abreast of the developments in their fields and effectively apply, when relevant, the latest technologies and approaches to deliver the knowledge they attain. They need to be well-rounded in maintaining competence in the following areas within their specific areas of specialization: teaching, research, professional practice, and quality assurance measures. Most international universities and higher education institutions recognize the vital importance of faculty professional development in view of the rapid developments in all fields and the rising competition in all areas of education; not only that but faculty professional development plans are now an important prerequisite for accrediting academic programs. In recognition of these facts, PSU seeks to provide a framework and a conducive environment through which faculty members can develop and promote their capabilities and keep abreast of developments in their fields of specialization.


The main purpose of this document is to describe PSU’s Professional Development Policy in the context of the current regulations and guidelines and to ensure that the faculty members:

  • Remain current and keep abreast of developments in their fields of specialization.
  • Identify and develop their potential.
  • Improve their performance in all areas of competencies related to their jobs.
  • Increase job satisfaction.
  • Improve the performance of students.
  • Improve their self-confidence, motivation, and initiative.
  • Respond positively to change and uncertainty.


This policy applies to all faculty members at PSU regardless of academic rank.


The TLQF emphasizes “continuous improvement,” which requires that faculty members remain current and up to date regarding their fields and the required T&L skills. The quality assessment improvement cycle will not be complete without continuous support for the professional development for faculty members in all skill areas relating to Teaching and Learning. PSU requires its faculty members to be active in their professional development in their specific fields.


  1. Professional development is a shared responsibility between the faculty member, college, and university.
  2. The faculty member is responsible for identifying his/her development needs and preparing an annual professional development plan.
  3. The college/department is responsible for assessing the performance of the faculty member and providing guidance and directions regarding his professional development plan.
  4. The faculty development plan should be revised and approved by the respective committees, department, and college.
  5. The university is responsible, depending on the conditions prevailing at the respective time, for making appropriate efforts to provide the time and financial support necessary to implement faculty professional development plans.
  6. Professional development starts at entry to the university. Each department is required to prepare an orientation program for new faculty in coordination with the college administration and institutional level offices and departments.
  7. Professional development is an ongoing activity. Faculty members at all levels are expected to engage in continuing professional development.
  8. Faculty professional development can take place on-job or off-job.
  9. On-site training includes training sessions provided by the university, experience gained by doing the job, interaction with peers, and colleagues regarding such experience, plus constructive reviews and feedback provided by supervisors.
  10. Off-site training includes attending conferences, participating in courses, exchange visits, study leaves, etc...

In-house Professional Development programs

  1. Whenever possible, the TLC should invite experts to organize on-campus professional development programs in areas of common interest to faculty members.
  2. Colleges can arrange for the same regarding faculty specialization areas in collaboration with the TLC.
  3. Each department should nominate attendees for these programs based on needs and priorities.
  4. The Higher Education in Teaching and Learning Certificate Program.
  5. New Faculty Orientation
  6. The Course Design Institute
  7. The Assessment Series
  8. New Faculty series of workshops
  9. New Academic Leader Orientation
  10. PSU’s Faculty sharing their expertise

Time and Financial Support:

  1. Time spent on professional development should be counted as on-job time.
  2. Based on approved faculty development plans, the university should provide support for professional development leaves, which include sabbatical leaves, partial leaves, and reduced load leaves.
  3. Sabbatical leaves are one-year leaves supported by a detailed professional development plan (see below).
  4. Partial leaves are one-semester or less and are treated the same way as sabbatical leaves (see professional development programs below).
  5. Exchange visits are subject to the agreements signed with the partner institution.

Professional Development Allowance:

  1. Eligible faculty members should be allocated an annual professional development allowance.
  2. This allowance must be spent on activities related to the faculty PD endeavors, and may consist of:
    1. Membership fees for professional associations.
    2. Subscriptions to professional and/or learned journals and other similar professional publications that will support their growth as an educator and researcher that are not available in the current library database.
    3. Computer software and supplies used or consumed in the performance of the faculty member's duties as a scholar and teacher.
    4. Travel allowance, including transportation, food, accommodation, and registration fees for the member to attend reputable conferences, research visits, or workshops.
  3. To qualify for the professional development allowance, a faculty member should prepare and submit a professional development plan at least 3 months prior to the event, preferably at the beginning of the academic year. The professional development plan should be approved by the respective Councils, Chairs, and Deans.
  4. All items purchased in support of this plan will become the property of the university and will be available for the use of the individual faculty member for professional development activities as long as he is associated with the university.
  5. Eligible expenses must be supported by original receipts or invoices in accordance with the University's rules and regulations.
  6. It is the individual faculty member's responsibility to ensure that the expenses charged against his/her Professional Development Allowance account are legitimate costs incurred for his/her professional development.

Sabbatical Leaves:

  1. A sabbatical leave is approved release time for a faculty member so that he/she can engage in research, writing, or any other activity that may contribute to his professional development at PSU.
  2. The duration of a sabbatical leave can be up to 12 months.
  3. Anybody holding the rank of a faculty member is considered eligible to request a sabbatical leave after completing at least five full-time years of service at PSU.
  4. The awarding of a sabbatical leave is not automatic and depends on the merits of the case and the conditions prevailing at the university and the respective academic unit at the time.
  5. Sabbatical leave applications should be supported by a detailed work plan showing planned activities and expected outcomes.
  6. Applications for Sabbatical Leaves and work plans should be approved by the department and college council before raising them to the University Administration.
  7. A faculty member on a Sabbatical leave receives full salary compensation for the whole period.
  8. At the end of the sabbatical leave, the faculty should submit a detailed report showing the activities and achievements during the sabbatical leave.
  9. The submitted report should be reviewed and accepted by the respective academic unit.

Professional Development Program (Proposed):

  1. The Professional Development Program (PDP) is a more flexible alternative to sabbatical leaves
  2. The eligibility and duration of a PDP leave are given in the table below:
    PDP Leave Duration Eligibility Condition
    Up to 4 months of full pay leave 4 years of service at PSU
    Up to 6 months of full Pay 6 years of service at PSU
  3. Participation in the PDP is not automatic and depends on the merits of the request, the needs of the department, and the conditions prevailing in the university and respective academic units.
  4. PDP applications and work should be supported by a detailed plan showing activities and expected outcomes.
  5. PDP applications should be approved by the department and college councils before being raised to the university administration.
  6. Faculty members participating in the PDP should devote their full energy to the purpose of the program, as indicated by their submitted plans.
  7. Faculty members participating in the PDP must return to PSU for a period at least twice that of the PDP leave in case of full payment, or at least spend equal time to the PDP leave in case of half-pay.