Professional Growth Funds


General Information: What are the funds for?

In order to foster curricular and course improvement, the Professional Growth Fund is provided to support faculty activities including participation in research or field-related events, conferences, other professional development activities, or presenting a premier display of one’s work.

These grants are intended to serve as “seed money”. Applications for continued project funding that have already received support will not be granted, unless it is demonstrated that the additional funding is for fundamentally different development a​ctivities. An exception to this will be considered if the applicant’s department/college has also provided substantial additional funding of their own to support further development.

Event / Conference / Professional Development

Professional Growth Funds are allocated for participation in research, an event, conference, or professional development opportunity that leads directly to the improvement of faculty teaching skills or knowledge directly relevant to a faculty member’s teaching responsibilities in current or future courses or programs. Applicants must demonstrate that the experience requires active participation on the part of the recipient.  Acceptable experiences may focus on instructional design, content, or methodology.  In other words, passive presence at short presentations or events that are unrelated to faculty development will not be funded.

Premiere Display

Professional Growth Funds for Premiere Display is intended to help fund the initial presentation of a teaching innovation. The display may take the form of a talk, poster, paper, exhibition, recital or similar performance. For the purposes of this grant, consider “premiere” to indicate an initial presentation of material. To be eligible for funding as a Premiere Display, the presentation must focus on innovations in instructional development. The innovations must be applicable at the collegiate level.

In general, applicants who are seeking funding for a presentation in which there is a focus on research results that do not include a substantial component focusing on recommendations for innovation in instructional development, should consider seeking funding from the Faculty Research and Creative Endeavors (FRCE) committee at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs ​- 774.6777.

Further, funding will not be allocated for additional displays on the same topic unless the applicant clearly demonstrates the majority of the work in the later presentation(s) is new.


All persons on regular appointment and holding faculty rank are eligible to apply for these funds. Fixed term faculty on appointment ½ time or greater is eligible.  Professional and Administrative (P&A) individuals who are teaching on a regular basis are also eligible. Graduate Assistants are not supported by this committee with the limited funds available.

Funding Limits

This fund will provide up to $1,000 per individual per academic year of university reimbursable expenses. Given the limited funds, support at the maximum level is not guaranteed. If an applicant has previously received a Professional Growth Grant, the applicant must have filed an acceptable Final Report detailing how the goals of that grant either were or were not accomplished before a new grant application can be considered.

The committee does not fund Faculty salaries or stipends supplements, office support, or services intended primarily to support the delivery of instruction. Before submitting a request, applicants should explore all available options. The committee may fund the use of assistants if the assistant has specialized skills needed for the experience and if the applicant, themselves, will be actively involved in carrying out the experience.

For Premier Displays eligible expenses include travel, lodging and registration associated with the presentation. Meal expenses are not eligible.

If contributions from all sources exceed 100% of expected expenses, the contribution from this fund will be reduced by the amount in excess.

Proposal Evaluations & Decisions

The application must include sufficient information for the committee to evaluate the quality of the forum for the participation/presentation, and make an informed decision about the request. Proposals that do not follow the guidelines, and/or those which provide inadequate information will be denied.  Applications can only be resubmitted for consideration once.

Funding decisions will be made as follows: early submissions will be reviewed by the committee in November, submissions/resubmissions received from November to the January deadline will be reviewed at the February committee meeting or until all funds have been exhausted. An applicant may apply for funding of any event occurring in the current fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th). The committee is not obliged to fund proposals to support activities that have taken place in a prior fiscal year.

Proposal Submission

All applications are to be submitted via campus mail or em​ail to the CETL secretary (  Please be sure to indicate in your email that the accompanying information and documents are to be coupled with your already submitted proposal.

Recipients of these funds will be re​quired to adhere to the university’s Intellectual Property Rights Policy, which is available from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Foust 251.​

2015-2016 TIMELINE

The 2015-16 Application will be made available during the Fall semester of 2015. Keep on eye on the weekly CETL emails for exactly when.

January 25, 2016 :: Latest applications can be submitted to CETL
June 12, 2016 :: Funds must be spent and receipts submitted to CETL
Late applications WILL NOT considered after the January deadline.​

Application Instructions​

Fill out the application at the end of this document (please read ALL instructions first).

Supporting Documents:

For participating in events, provide an explanation (250 word limit) that describes the focus and significance of the proposed experience. The explanation must communicate the essence and significance of the experience in terms understandable to the public at large. Applicants must clearly show that the proposed activity is above and beyond normal expectations for faculty and/or for curricular/instructional development activities.

It is the responsibility of applicants to document how the proposed experience will lead directly to the improvement of faculty teaching or the acquisition and/or improvement of skills or knowledge directly relevant to a faculty member’s teaching responsibilities in current or future courses or programs. If the experience involves a workshop, conference, seminar, or course, applicants must also demonstrate that it has a particular, unique quality that will assure active participation.

For Premiere Display: Provide an explanation (about 250 words) that describes the presentation. The explanation should communicate the substance of the premiere display in sufficient detail that its significance is readily apparent. Be sure to include how the presentation meets the criteria of a premiere display.

If there is some question as to the possible overlap of the presentation with a previous talk or publication (e.g. similar title or abstract), the applicant MUST describe in detail how the proposal under consideration is, in nature, a “premiere” (initial) display.  Be sure the explanation section also describes the innovation(s) presented.


For participating in events, describe the relationship of the experience to the departmental or university curriculum or to your teaching or your colleagues.  Provide specific information on how completion of the experience will enhance any or all of the above.

For premiere display, provide information explaining the significance of the conference. The applicant must clearly document the type and significance of the conference (including whether it is international, national, or regional) at which he or she will be presenting. An applicant requesting funding for a non-conference meeting must demonstrate clearly that the event is as significant as a regional or national conference. Applicants in the arts must explain the significance of the show, concert, or other presentation forum.

Abstract (for premiere display only): 

Submit a copy of the abstract submitted to the conference organizers, or a copy of the abstract as it appears in the conference program.  

Participation / Presentation: 

Email as an attachment proof of your participation/presentation (e.g., a letter of acceptance or an actual page from the program.)  Other forms of notification are acceptable (e.g., email, facsimile, etc.)  Submit this additional documentation to the secretary of CETL (​) in Park Library 413.

For premiere display, the CMU presenter must be listed on the program. When presenters of the display come from more than one institution, the CMU presenter must clearly demonstrate her/his significant involvement in the project. Projects that do not indicate the name of Central Michigan University clearly as part of the premiere display will not be funded. No more than one CMU presenter will be funded for a single premiere display.  


Fill out your expected expenditures in the online application form.  Should your expenses change after attending the conference/event, notate those changes on your travel reimbursement voucher and the information will be taken into consideration.  Items for which CMU Travel Reimbursement can be applied include - event fees, hotel rates and transportation costs. If you have not yet attended the event, provide estimates for items that you cannot yet document (it may be possible to get estimates from the internet).  Original receipts will be required when submitting your CMU Travel Reimbursement Voucher to CETL.  Further, whenever possible, economies realized by group travel should be utilized.  

  • Note: If any honorarium or other payment is being made to an applicant for a presentation/event for which funding is being sought, the applicant must subtract this amount from the total budget.
  • Note: Actual funding from these funds depends on available funds and committee vote.

For premiere display, it is not necessary to submit an entire conference brochure.  In addition, usually only one faculty member will be supported to present a given premiere display.

Publication and Research Record for the Last Five Years:

  • Publication Record:  Email a copy of the applicant’s publication record and presentation (paper/ recital/ performance/ exhibit) record for the last five years, including full citations. If there have been no publications/presentations, please indicate this in an email.
  • Grant Record: Include any funds received through internal and external grants.  A major purpose of the awards for premiere displays is to encourage presentations That will lead to publications. Funds will not be awarded to applicants who travel but do not publish, or to applicants who have received funding to present three or more papers since their last publication.
  • Note: Applications with an entire vita will NOT be considered.


List all workshops, courses, or professional meetings/training you have attended in the last five years. Place an asterisk by those supported by CMU funds other than department or college level support. The committee does not wish to grant awards for multiple efforts of a similar nature unless the department and/or college are making substantial investments beyond the funding provided by internal CMU grants.

After Receiving a Professional Growth Grant

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) will award funds to the faculty member upon completion of the trip and after a copy of the employee reimbursement form is received by CETL.
  • All original receipts must be attached with the voucher.
  • All fund recipients are required to operate within the budget presented. It is the responsibility of the fund recipient to keep an accurat​e record of all expenditures for their reimbursement.
  • Any funds allocated by this committee must be used by the end of this fiscal year (approximately June 15).  Any fund allotments not used by these dates will be forfeited.  Any event taking place after June 15th will fall into the next fiscal year and will be reviewed in that fiscal year.​
  • If you were awarded funding and cannot use the funds, for whatever cause, please let CETL know right away so that it can be awarded to someone else.
  • The intent of this program is to fund professional development to faculty who will continue their employment at CMU. Therefore, if an employee is without a CMU contract for the Fall 2015 semester, he or she is ineligible for this funding.  Once a grant recipient leaves the employ of Central Michigan University, requests for monies against her/his account will not be honored.
  • A follow-up report must be submitted to the CETL office within 30 days after attending your event/conference, 413 Park or email the secretary (​​) giving a summary of your conference and your expectations for implementing this knowledge within your classroom.​

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