Chapter 26 – Educational Opportunities
It is a policy of the University to encourage and assist staff members in developing their work skills and to assist them in the achievement of their career aspirations. To that end, staff members are encouraged to participate in educational and developmental programs, conferences, and workshops held on or off campus that relate to the service rendered to the University by the participant. University staff are also encouraged to register for academic courses, with or without credit, that are work-related and advance the organizational efforts of the University. To this end, supervisors are asked to broadly define "work-related" course work to include the attainment of undergraduate degrees through the Tuition Assistance Program and the UI Health Care Tuition Reimbursement Program. Staff members may also participate in programs such as conferences or workshops that do not relate specifically to their work assignments but which will contribute to their overall educational and professional development.
In all cases, a prime requirement for participation in University-sanctioned educational and developmental programs is that the participation will not interfere with the staff member's ability to carry out regular duties. Individual units, at their discretion, may require an individual to obtain departmental approval prior to attending Learning and Development offerings.
Orientation (University welcome and employee benefits) sessions are offered to new hires at The University of Iowa. Invitations to New Faculty and Staff Orientation and UI Health Care Orientation are sent to employees who:
- Have regular status.
- Work at least 50 percent time.
For more information on New Faculty and Staff Orientation and UI Health Care Orientation, see https://hr.uiowa.edu/learn/orientation.
Information about upcoming offerings is also available through Learning and Development's Listserv, at Employee Self Service, or through the Learning and Development website at https://hr.uiowa.edu/learn.
Participation is governed by the following guidelines:
- Approved offerings are available to staff throughout the University, but enrollment in any given offering is limited by the work needs of the college, department, or unit. If demand for a specific offering is high, consideration will be given to repeating the offering.
- Offerings may be provided on or off campus, and the University may contract with outside agencies to provide additional workshops as well. The fee to participants or their departments, if any, will be indicated when the offerings are announced.
- Staff who participate in work-related offerings are considered to be in work status during such participation and are not required to make up time. Approval to attend Learning and Development offerings may be required by individual units at their discretion.
It is strongly recommended that individual colleges, departments, and/or units develop an educational plan for the benefit of their employees' continuous learning and to meet the needs of a changing work environment. These plans may include outcome measures that are tied to the performance of the individual as well as the strategic initiatives of the department or unit.
University staff may participate in non-credit offerings such as conferences, short courses, or workshops, which are not work related if such participation will contribute to their overall educational and professional development. Such offerings may be provided on or off campus. The following guidelines apply:
- Participation in the offering does not interfere with the performance of regular duties.
- If offerings occur during regular work hours, a supervisor's approval may be needed.
Human Resources and University of Iowa Staff Council sponsor the Tuition Assistance Program.
Tuition Assistance Program. All eligible faculty and staff may apply for University support for course work that the employing member's department certifies is work related. This course work can be completed at either The University of Iowa or at other accredited universities or colleges. University employees who meet the eligibility requirements and are working on undergraduate degrees will be considered to meet the work-related eligibility requirement. For eligibility requirements and information on how to access the online application form located at Employee Self Service, visit https://hr.uiowa.edu/tuition.
All faculty and staff with a 50 percent or greater permanent appointment are eligible to audit (i.e., register for zero semester hours for) one University of Iowa course per session without being assessed tuition and mandatory fees for that course, subject to the following:
- The applicant is auditing the course to enhance professional development in his or her current position.
- The applicant must be admitted to the University either in a degree program or as a nondegree student.
- The applicant must receive permission to audit the course from the instructor.
- The applicant must receive permission from his or her departmental executive officer. Faculty also must receive permission from the college dean or associate dean.
- The applicant will be responsible for any course-specific fees.
- Courses are not repeatable.
The application form is available at https://registrar.uiowa.edu/faculty-and-staff-application-audit-one-course-tuition-and-fees-waived.
A staff or faculty member who holds a professional license and must participate in training and/or educational programs to maintain such license may participate in accordance with the requirements of local, state, and/or federal law. A licensee may participate during regular working hours without using paid leave when the employing department requests the employee to participate in the educational or training program for University employment related purposes.
Faculty or staff must use paid leave to attend educational programs for professional licensing requirements when the above conditions are not met. Participation in any educational or training program for licensing purposes must be in accordance with the general requirements of this section.
- Professional Development Award. Staff may be eligible to receive free admission to a fee-required Learning and Development-sponsored offering through the Professional Development Award drawing. Staff members employed in a regular appointment, 50 percent time or greater are sent an email notification twice a year.
- Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship Award Program. This is an award that University of Iowa staff may use to help defray costs of regional, national, or international meetings or workshops, training opportunities on and off-campus, and/or work-release time to prepare publications. Specific award guidelines available through Learning and Development's website include:
- All professional and scientific and merit staff members who hold a regular appointment of 50 percent or greater and have been employed for two or more years at the University (with no breaks in employment) by the application deadline are eligible for the Mary Jo Small Staff Fellowship.
- Selection for the awards will be based upon documentation of recognized contributions that support the University's mission and goals.
See also the Learning and Development website at https://hr.uiowa.edu/learn/mary-jo-small-staff-fellowship-award.