Career Development Awards


Nature and Purpose

The program of career development awards (formerly semester assignments) is the heart of the University's Faculty Development Awards Program. This is a competitive program designed to encourage scientific inquiry, research, artistic creation, clinical/technical expertise, and innovation in teaching. Each career development award is expected to result in one or more products for dissemination through publication, exhibit, professional performance, or instruction. Faculty members may receive career development awards at regular intervals, provided their proposals are judged worthy of support. It is emphasized that career development awards are awarded in recognition of the faculty member's accomplishments and potential in teaching and research, creative, or clinical activity.

Career development awards are meant primarily to enhance the research and creative scholarship, art, clinical expertise, and instructional activity of faculty members. They also may be directed toward the development of proposals aimed at securing external grants for continued project work. When opportunity permits, career development awards may be combined with outside support so that an extended time period can be devoted to a project. With the approval of the Office of the Provost, colleges may enact college-specific policies to apply conditions and restrictions according to their specific needs and circumstances.

Leaves of absence in which the faculty member’s salary and benefits are paid wholly or in large part by an external agency (e.g., by a Guggenheim Fellowship, as a Visiting Professor by another university, or by a granting agency) are not considered career development awards per se (i.e., application for a career development award is not required). However, if the leave is partially paid by the University, taking such a leave of absence may affect the time to eligibility for a future career development award and also may be subject to the State of Iowa payback requirement. If there is any uncertainty about whether an anticipated leave of absence may or may not fall under the guidelines of the career development award program or affect time to eligibility for a future career development award, the faculty member should contact the Office of the Provost for guidance well in advance of the leave.

Faculty with 9-Month Appointments

Award Period

Career development awards for faculty with 9-month appointments normally support faculty development projects for one semester at full salary or two semesters at half salary. In exceptional circumstances, a two-semester career development award at full salary may be granted.

Eligibility for Initial Award

Full-time faculty members with 9-month appointments who have completed a minimum of 10 semesters of full-time academic service (excluding summer terms) are eligible for an initial one-semester career development award. Flexible load (eg. reduced teaching) assignments may or may not be included in the 10 required semesters at the discretion of the college (see additional eligibility information from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences).

Part-time faculty with 9-month appointments become eligible for a career development award at the level of their appointment upon completion of a minimum of 10 semesters of part-time service. The career development award is then consistent with the percentage of the part-time appointment. For example, a 50% appointment for 10 semesters yields an equivalent one-semester award at 50%. As an option, part-time faculty are eligible for a "regular" career development award when their portions of service equal the minimum requirement for full-time service. For example, 20 semesters of half-time service satisfy the minimum for an initial career development award at equivalent full-time salary.

Eligibility for Subsequent Awards

Following a career development award, 9-month faculty members must complete 10 semesters of full-time service (excluding summer terms) at the University of Iowa to become eligible for a subsequent award. Service typically must be on campus. Eligibility of part-time faculty members for subsequent awards is calculated on a prorated basis as described for initial awards. Subsequent career development awards presume that the faculty member was productive during the previous award period and the intervening years. In exceptional circumstances, a faculty member who has completed 20 semesters of service (excluding summer terms) may apply for a two-semester career development award at full salary.

Faculty with 12-Month Appointments

Award Period

Career development awards for faculty members with 12-month appointments support faculty development projects for up to 1 year.

Eligibility for Initial Award

Twelve-month faculty members who have completed a minimum of 4 years of full-time academic service or the equivalent (i.e., prorated for part-time faculty) are eligible for their first career development award of 4.5 months (i.e., one semester) in length. Alternatively, 12-month faculty members who have completed 8 or 11 years of full-time academic service or the equivalent (i.e., prorated for part-time faculty) are eligible for a career development award of 9 months (i.e., two semesters), or a full 12 months respectively.

Eligibility for Subsequent Awards

Following any career development award, full-time 12-month faculty members must complete a minimum of 4 years of service at the University of Iowa to become eligible for a subsequent semester-length award. Longer award periods have proportionally longer service requirements, following the eligibility requirements described for initial awards. Service typically must be on campus. Eligibility of part-time faculty members for subsequent awards is calculated on a prorated basis as described for initial awards. Subsequent career development awards presume that the faculty member was productive during the previous award period and the intervening years.

Application and Approval Process for All Faculty

  1. Application. See the instructions on the Apply for an Award page.
  2. Criteria. Applications will be evaluated against the General Criteria for Evaluating Faculty Development Activities listed under the General Principles section. Faculty should consult these criteria when preparing their applications.
  3. Departmental and collegiate support and approval. Each application for a career development award must include: (a) a description provided by the DEO of how the academic unit will meet its instructional needs, including graduate student supervision, during the leave period and (b) DEOs’and deans’ signatures to indicate that the applicant meets program eligibility requirements and that application follows the requested format. Proposals that do not follow the requested format will be returned. Application deadlines may not be extended to accommodate proposals that are returned.
  4. Selection. Following collegiate review and evaluation of applications, colleges will recommend career development award recipients to the Provost. Applicants will be notified by the Provost as to whether their proposal was recommended to and approved by the Board of Regents.

Additional Provisions for Career Development Awards

1. Prior service

The Office of the Provost may count service at other colleges or universities toward the required years of service for an initial award. Requests to count such service must be approved by the Provost's Office prior to application for a career development award.

2. Exceptions to service requirement

Exceptions of no more than one semester to the specified required periods of service may be made by the Office of the Provost: (1) to allow a faculty member to coordinate a career development award with grant activities supported by non-University agencies, (2) to accommodate instructional needs of a department, or (3) to allow for other special circumstances. Exceptions must be approved prior to application for the award.

3. Deferrals

A faculty member may request deferral of a career development awards to accommodate unanticipated circumstances, such as extended illness or acceptance of an administrative position in the University. Requests for deferral should be submitted to the Provost's Office with letters from the (a) DEO certifying that the instructional activities and needs of the department will not be impaired by the deferral and (b) Dean, endorsing the request. If the original research proposal is not applicable when the award is actually taken (which is likely if the deferral is for longer than one year), the faculty member must submit a revised research plan before the actual award period, so that the award request and subsequent report, both of which the University must report to the Board of Regents, will be consistent.

4. Payback requirement

A faculty member who accepts a career development award must agree, in accordance with the Iowa Code, to return to regular duties at the University immediately following the award period for a period of service at least twice the length of the award period (prorated for part-time faculty). For example, a 9-month faculty member who accepts a one-semester award must return to the University for two semesters of full-time teaching following the award period. Similarly, a 12-month faculty member who accepts a one-year award must return to the University for 2 years of full-time service. Summer session teaching by 9-month faculty does not count towards this payback service. Time on paid or unpaid leave from University duties by a faculty member does not count toward either this payback or the service requirement for a subsequent award. Any Career Development Award recipient who fails to satisfy this requirement shall repay the University on or before the first day of the semester immediately following the development leave the full amount of his/her compensation and fringes received during the period of the Award.

5.  Required report

A report on the faculty development activity must be submitted to the Provost's Office by each recipient shortly after the end of the award period.  See the Report on an Award page for detailed instructions (including sample abstracts), and note the deadlines for submitting reports.  See also additional reporting information on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences web site.

The Office of the Provost uses these reports in preparing the annual summary of faculty development award activities for the Board of Regents. Board support for the faculty development awards program is essential to its continuance, so timely submission of reports is critically important. Faculty members who fail to provide the required report will have lengthened service requirements for subsequent awards. Faculty members should keep a copy of the report for use with subsequent developmental applications that require information about University-supported activities.

6. Funding

Departments are rarely given supplemental funds to cover instructional needs created by faculty members' acceptance of a career development award. For example, a small department with relatively specialized instruction might receive such funding. This support would not exceed the amount needed to meet the minimum teaching requirements of the unit. Application for such support should be made by the department and endorsed by the dean at or before the time of application. The DEO and dean should make clear to the faculty member and to the Provost whether or not their endorsement of the application is contingent on receipt of supplementary funds.

Recipients of career development awards or their academic units normally meet project needs for equipment, facilities, research assistance, and travel in the same ways that these needs are met for other faculty work. However, special project-related needs occasionally may be satisfied through small amounts of supplemental funds provided by the Office of the Provost, if such needs are adequately justified in writing and presented with the application for a career development award. If requests exceed the small amount of available funding, project quality and the degree to which the project furthers the strategic plan of the University will be primary considerations in allocating funds.