Questions and Answers

1. What is professional development?

Professional Development indicates what we, as faculty members, have done to further our knowledge.

The Professional Development Committee (PDC) on campus is charged with the responsibility of verifying professional growth work that has been completed by faculty members so that they can be paid for this further education and advance on the salary pay scale.

Professional Development includes coursework, scholarly and creative works, work experience, and participating in seminars, workshops, and conferences.

2. Who is eligible for salary advancement based on Professional Development?

All adjunct and contract faculty.

3. How can I find out more about Professional Development and Salary Advancement?

Go to the Professional Development Committee (PDC) website on the Mesa College website. There you will find information about what you're entitled to, what you should do to get credit, FAQ, as well as the various PDC forms themselves.

After exploring that site, if you want more detailed information, go to the AFT website. For more information about receiving salary advancement, go to "Contracts," then click "Table of Contents." Click on "Salary," ARTICLE VIII - SALARY, starting with A4.0 SALARY STEP AND CLASS MOVEMENT for information about getting credit for courses taken and for scholarly and creative works.

For information about Sabbatical Leaves in the contract, go to ARTICLE XVIII - PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, starting with 18.2 SABBATICAL LEAVE.

4. What if I still have questions about Professional Development and how to fill out the forms?

If you feel you understand most of the form, fill it out and turn it in earlier than the deadline, so the PDC chair may have some time to look it over and help you with any of the items before it has to go to the committee. If the form is turned in at the last moment so that the PDC chair doesn't have enough time to look it over, it may be tabled for a future meeting.

If you still have specific questions, please contact the current PDC chair, Cynthia Rico by email at crico@sdccd.edu. Please remember that the PDC chair is a faculty member, too, who teaches classes and only has a small amount of release time to run Mesa's PDC. Therefore, it is not possible to have individual meetings with faculty members about their plans. Please read over these FAQs before contacting the PDC Chair.

5. How many lower division units am I allowed to get Professional Development credit for?

Effective July 1, 2003, the greater of six (6) lower division units or two (2) courses is allowed upper division credit for purposes of transfer to a higher classification. Lower division coursework needs prior approval from the appropriate Vice-President. This means that the Professional Development Proposal must be approved before the faculty starts a class or pursues a project. However, the PDP should still be turned in to the PDC first.

Lower division coursework in the disciplines of foreign language or computer related Technologies do not need prior approval.

Effective January 1, 2007, in addition to the six (6) lower division units or two (2) courses provided above, a faculty member is allowed up to six (6) additional lower division units or two (2) additional courses taken after January 1, 2007, in the disciplines of foreign language or computer related technologies.

Lower division coursework may be taken within the San Diego Community College District.

6. Do I need prior approval before I complete Professional Development Work?

Effective April 1, 2003, faculty are not required to receive prior approval before completing work for salary advancement on or after this date. The two exceptions being:

  1. Lower division coursework outside of the disciplines of foreign language and computer science (see #5 for further information on lower division coursework) and
  2. Upper Division/Graduate coursework not related to a faculty members area of assignment

The above do require pre-approval meaning the Professional Development Proposal must be approved before the faculty starts a class. However, the PDP should still be turned in to the PDC first.

Faculty members are encouraged to receive prior approval for everything to ensure that their efforts will qualify.

7. How can I be sure my Professional Development Proposal (PDP) is complete if I want to take coursework?

Double check that all signatures and dates are in place, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it.

If you are turning in a PDP for Academic Units, you must list on the application what school(s) you plan to take the courses at and what the actual course numbers are. You will also need to provide the committee with an official course description. "Official" means that it must be a copy of that whole page in the institution's catalog, copied either from the online site or a hard copy with the headers and footers on it and you circling the courses you intend to take. Please circle in pen because highlighting doesn't show up on the photocopying the PDC has to do for committee members.

Also remember that you can propose that you take any number of classes, even if you're fairly sure you're not going to take them all. If all of these are approved, then you are welcome to take any of these classes whenever they are offered rather than turning in a new PDP every semester.

For lower division work, please see #5.

8. How can I be sure my Professional Development Proposal (PDP) is complete if I want to undertake Scholarly and Creative Works?

Double check that all the signatures and dates are in place, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it.

Be sure that the kind of project you want to complete is listed in the AFT contract. Otherwise it can't be considered.

Scholarly or Creative Work can't be considered for work that is a part of your teaching job. This means that developing courses for your department, whether the classes are face-to-face or online, cannot be considered.

Explain the project and rationalize in the proper area on the form why it will help your teaching at Mesa College.

Look in the AFT Contract for the number of units suggested for different kinds of Scholarly and Creative Work.

9. How can I be sure my Professional Development Proposal (PDP) is complete for my Work Experience?

For Work Experience you need to submit both a PDP and a copy of the Work Experience and Internship Proposal, both of which are available on the PDC website. Please be sure that all the signatures and dates are in place on the PDP, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it. Submit a copy of the Work Experience and Internship Proposal. The box at the bottom of the second page of the Work Experience and Internship Proposal will not be completed when you turn in your proposal this is why you submit a copy.

Please Note: Salary credit for Work Experience/Internship is for work done outside of the academic year, so the only hours that count are hours completed during the summer. 30 hours of work=1 semester unit.

10. How can I be sure my Professional Development Proposal (PDP) is complete if I'm proposing to go to conferences or workshops?

Be sure that all the signatures and dates are in place, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it.

If you're planning on going to a conference/workshop/seminar, provide an official advertisement or notice for this conference. The more detailed the better. This flyer should have the dates of the event.

Remember, 30 hours of participation at a conference = 1 semester unit. You may receive twice the credit for those hours you present at the conference. You will need to indicate to the PDC on the Proposal and more specifically on the Report of Completion which hours you presented and which hours you participated. An official advertisement or flyer indicating the dates and times of the conference/seminar is required to be attached to your proposal.

(Please note that an official schedule of the conference/seminar is required to be attached to the Report of Completion that is turned in for these units as is proposal as is a Professional Development Log of Hours Worksheet Form, which can be found on the PDC site. The reason this form is required is that it uses Excel, which will automatically translate the hours you enter into units.)

11. How can I be sure my Report of Completion (Completion) is complete so I can successfully receive academic units for my coursework?

Double check that all the signatures and dates are in place, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it.

Be sure to write on the correct line of the Completion the date of the Professional Development Proposal that goes with the Completion.

If you're requesting units for academic classes, you need to add a sheet to the Completion telling the names of the universities or colleges where you took the classes and the actual course numbers. You also need to supply official transcripts before the committee can grant credits. "Official transcripts" means that the transcripts must be supplied to the committee still sealed. The safest and most timely way to get these is to have the university or college send the transcripts directly to you. Then, without opening them, attach them sealed to the Completion or drop them off still sealed at the Academic Senate office in A117.

12. How can I be sure my Report of Completion (Completion) is complete so I can successfully receive academic units for my Scholarly and Creative Works?

Double check that all the signatures and dates are in place, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it.

Be sure to write on the correct line of the Completion the date of the Professional Development Proposal that goes with the Completion.

When requesting units for a Scholarly or Creative Work, look in the AFT Contract for a suggested number of units to request for specific types of work. There is a link to the contract on the Completion Form.

13. How can I be sure my Report of Completion (Completion) is complete for my Work Experience?

For Work Experience you need to submit both a Report of Completion and the original Work Experience and Internship Proposal, both of which are available on the PDC website. Please be sure that all the signatures and dates are in place on the Completion, including your own, before submitting it to the PDC or we will be unable to consider it. The box at the bottom of page two of the Work Experience and Internship Proposal needs to be complete and have original signatures.

Please Note: Salary credit for Work Experience/Internship is for work done outside of the academic year, so the only hours that count are hours completed during the summer. 30 hours of work=1 semester unit.

14. How can I be sure my Report of Completion (Completion) is complete so I can successfully receive academic units for Conferences and Workshops?

If you're requesting units for a seminar, workshop, or conference, you will need to turn in a copy of the official schedule for the conference with your Report of Completion. In addition, you will need to turn in a Log of Hours with the hours totaled and an amount of units requested. Please use the log worksheet on the PDC website.

An official schedule of the conference/seminar is required to be attached to this proposal as is a Professional Development Log of Hours Worksheet Form, which can be found on the PDC site. The reason this form is required is that it uses Excel, which will automatically translate the hours you enter into units using the formulas 30 hours of attendance = 1 semester unit, 15 hours of presentation = 1 semester unit. If the conference/workshop lasts over a series of days, please subtotal the log of hours for each day, then add a log of hours for the entire conference.

Also, remember 30 hours equals 1 semester unit. If you're a presenter for a segment of the conference, indicate which hours you were, and you're allowed twice the hours for that time.

If the conference lasts longer than 1 day, please do a total for each of the days and then a total for the entire conference.

Also remember when tallying up hours for conferences and workshops that you are allowed to count mealtime hours. In addition, you don't need to attend every single session of the conference in order to be able to count the hours for the entire day. It is assumed that faculty members are networking with other experts in their fields at all times at the conference.

15. How will I know whether Mesa's Professional Development Committee has approved my Proposal or Completion?

After the PDC has approved your Proposal or Completion, the PDC chair will sign and date the attached signature page. The PDC chair will send a copy of the approved paperwork to the faculty member for record keeping at the same time the originals are sent on to the VPI, President and then Human Resources.

Faculty members should read the "comments" section under the PDC Chair's signature. This is where faculty members will be notified of any important messages connected with the approval.

16. Is it true that I can only receive a certain number of Scholarly and Creative Works units to advance through each class on the salary scale?

Yes and no. You may only use 7.5 units per class on the salary scale. The rest of that salary class needs to be made up of other types of units.

However, that doesn't mean that if you receive more than 7.5 Scholarly for Creative Works during this time period you can't use all of them. Go ahead and apply for the units, and if approved, they will be "banked" by Human Resources at the District. Then you may use them toward the next class on the salary scale when you are working to complete units for that salary class.

17. May I use more than 7.5 units per salary class of credit towards Seminars and Workshops?

Yes. You may complete entire salary classes on the pay scale based on units from conferences, seminars, and/or workshops

18. How can I be sure I've filled out my Sabbatical Leave Application most effectively?

Double check that everything has been filled in on the application and that you have received all the correct signatures and dates on the form.

Completely review all comments about Sabbatical Leaves on the Professional Development Committee site and in the AFT Contract under "Professional Development."

Look through the file of successful past Sabbatical Leave Applications that have been compiled in the Mesa College Academic Senate Office in A117. The names have been removed to keep these anonymous. You may take notes about the sample applications, but you may not make copies of them.

On page 2 of the application, the best thing to do is to label each section you're responding to so that the committee can be sure that you answered all categories. Please be sure to number the pages of your application so that the PDC can tell whether there is a page missing.

Remember that any member of the Professional Development Committee can answer questions about Sabbatical Leave Applications and also read through your application and make suggestions.

19. Where should I send or deliver all official transcripts and paperwork that needs to go to the committee?

The safest way to get a set of your official transcripts to the PDC is to have them sent to you. Do not open them, but deliver them to the PDC still sealed. If they are opened, they are no longer considered "Official" and as per our contract, the District is unable to accept them.

It's best to hand deliver all Professional Development paperwork to the Senate office in A117 to assure it arrives before the deadline because the PDC cannot consider work that comes in after the deadline, even if gets delayed in the school mail. Sabbatical applications, especially, should never go through school mail. Never send PDC work to a member of the committee by name (including the PDC chair) because it will go to that person's department mailbox even if it has "PDC" written on it, and it may therefore be delayed. The school does not allow faculty members to have more than one mailbox. All paperwork that does go through school mail should be addressed to PDC-Academic Senate, Rm A117. The mailbox in the door of this office (the senate office) is very safe to leave things in because no one can go in there without a key.

20. Who should I contact about my salary placement or how many units I've earned?

These matters should be discussed with the Human Resources office. The PDC does not keep records on this information.

21. How many separate items/activities can be put on a single Proposal and/or Completion?

For ease of processing, please limit the number of separate activities on each proposal to five.