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Academic Professional Development Fund

Earlham College’s Academic Professional Development Fund (PDF) provides grants to teaching faculty for projects undertaken during the academic year or summer months. The purpose of PDF funding is to encourage professional intellectual growth and productivity. Administered by the Office of Academic Affairs, Academic PDF-sponsored activities should be of a research, scholarly or artistic nature and should enhance teaching and learning at Earlham; personal and scholarly professional development; and/or Earlham’s public intellectual profile. They should be directly related to the applicant’s evolving role and duties and should enrich not only the funded individual(s), but also the College as a whole. Toward this end, all grants are subject to approval by the Chief Academic Officer.

A portion of the Professional Development Fund will be set aside annually to support professional activities in curricular teaching and learning by administrative faculty at the College. Examples of such activities might include a work-related course, seminar or conference. Applications should be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office.

In some cases administrative faculty who are undertaking scholarly research projects may apply for an Academic PDF. Feel free to contact the Associate Academic Dean for Faculty for help in discerning whether your project falls into this category.

View charge and membership of the Professional Development Fund Committee.

  • Application cover sheet — (docx) (pdf)
  • Budget Sheet — (xls)

Application Process

To apply for an Academic PDF grant, you must submit an electronic copy of your proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs by the second Monday in February, before the summer or academic year for which you are seeking a grant. Late submissions will not be considered. (Note: Administrative PDF opportunities may extend through the grant year.) You are encouraged to discuss your plans with the Associate Academic Dean or another member of the PDF Committee before you apply.

Proposals should include the following:

  • The application cover sheet — (docx) (pdf)
  • A 1-3 page description of the project you’re proposing including a well-articulated case for its anticipated benefit to you and the College. Specifically, the committee will be looking for a tangible product (presentation, publication, work of art, module in a course, etc.) In addition, if it is tied to improving teaching and learning, to which classes(s) will it apply and what specific content will it add?
  • Clarity in content and form. Committee members are not in a position to judge the validity of your scholarship. They can only judge the cogency of your application. Treat the proposal as you would any grant application to an external funding agency.
  • Sufficient background information and description to permit committee members in other disciplines to understand and perceive the merits of the project.
  • A list of PDFs received in the last 3-5 years, for each PDF a statement of the outcomes and products of the PDF, and a statement of how the current proposal differs from or builds on prior scholarship funded with a PDF.
  • An excel spreadsheet with the amount of funding you’re requesting and your anticipated expenses.  Template

Frequently asked questions

Any member of the Earlham College teaching faculty, non-tenured as well as tenured, may apply for a PDF grant. Administrative faculty who teach courses are eligible to apply for an Academic PDF if their proposed activities are consistent with the purposes stated in these guidelines. Small groups of faculty may apply for a group award. A group application should state the prospective benefit for each member of the group. If the group project is interdisciplinary, a case should be made for the benefits of that feature. The following points should be carefully noted:

  • PDF recipients are expected to remain at Earlham for at least one year after receiving a PDF grant.
  • Persons who choose to leave the college during the year following a grant award may be asked to return funds.
  • If you received a PDF grant in the past, you need to have submitted your final report and receipts in order to be considered for a new grant.
  • People are encouraged to apply for a PDF as a back-up measure against other grant proposals. Should another source of funding come through, please let the Committee know as soon as possible so that money may be reallocated to others.
  • Preference may be given to first-time applicants over persons who have received grants recently.
  • Proposals may be only partially funded.
  • For multi-year projects, renewal of funding is not automatic. A new application must be submitted each year for ongoing support.
  • Priority will be given to funding research that would not be possible without PDF support.
  • The Committee encourages applicants to include students in their projects if possible.
  • All Committee decisions will be final. Please do not ask the Committee to reconsider their decision or review additional material. Make sure your proposal fully informs and persuades.

In the past PDF grants have specifically supported activities representing a new departure in an applicant’s professional and intellectual growth. While the cultivation of new interests may still be supported, current emphasis will be placed on projects integral to the applicant’s teaching and scholarship. Grants will typically fund research and writing beyond the ordinary scope of one’s contractual duties at Earlham, but central to the applicant’s and Earlham’s scholarly vitality.

Examples of projects that may be covered at the discretion of the PDF Committee:

  • Expenses for a research project.
  • Costs for travel research.
  • Important professional conferences not paid for by the annual conference fund.
  • Tuition for courses or workshops that enhance the scholarship, teaching, or other key tasks the applicant performs for the college. For course work extending beyond the grant year, the Committee may partner with an applicant for a percentage of costs not exceeding 50%.
  • Purchase of essential equipment for conducting research or artistic activity if there is no other source of funding.
  • Accompaniment of a May Term or Semester Abroad program if the applicant will play a central role in the conduct of the current program or is formally scheduled to lead that program in the near future.
  • Cost of reading materials for enhancement of teaching and learning or a scholarly undertaking with a specific product.

PDF grants do not cover:

  • Routine course preparation.
  • Stipends while on sabbatical.
  • Stipends for summer reading not associated with a specific research project.
  • Stipends for writing, with possible rare exceptions, such as substantial revision of a manuscript accepted for publication.
  • Payment for third party services, including honorariums.

You may request the cost of expenses (travel fare, food and lodging, books, photocopying etc.). There is no set limit to the amount of expenses you may request; however, funds are limited and requests are becoming increasingly expensive. It’s impossible to fund every proposal, or to support every proposal fully. It would be rare for the Committee to fund an individual project above $10,000 for a single year. Requests not involving international travel typically range from $2,000-$3,000. Projects involving international travel tend to range from $5,000-$7,000. Expenses are not taxable but we require that you keep a careful record and that you submit a full account with receipts at the end of the award period.

In recent years, due to the number of quality applications requesting funding, the PDF committee has elected not to provide stipends. If you believe your proposal would have a stipend as a necessary component, please contact a PDF committee member to discuss.

At the conclusion of your activities, you must submit the following materials to the Academic Dean’s Office.

  • All receipts and documentation to begin the process of reimbursement, up to and not exceeding the approved amount, of the award. Please complete the reimbursement form and submit. It is preferred that one final check be issued.
  • A final report to the committee that describes what you did, the tangible product produced or in process, and demonstrates the benefits of the grant to you and to Earlham. This report is due no later than 60 days after the conclusion of your PDF activity. Future funding will be contingent upon its timely reception.
  • An abstract of approximately 150 words (2 paragraphs) that can be posted on the Earlham website to promote faculty accomplishments. All grantees and the titles of their projects will be posted, along with selected abstracts.

  • Cash advances can be obtained by completing and submitting to the Academic Dean’s Office this form.
  • Upon conclusion of your activities, those receiving cash advances are responsible for returning any unused money, as well as submitting the required material and receipts, as explained above.

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.