As professional and instructional members, professional development is near and dear to our hearts. That’s why the FSA bargained professional development (PD) expense funds that you can access and that you and your colleagues control. The process is governed by local committees of your peers. The collective agreement recognizes that the faculty and staff in each department are best able to determine what is an appropriate PD expense in their area and how these funds should be shared and distributed. As long as your request fits into the criteria set out in Article 10.3, MemAg 09FSA40 (PDF) and your committee approves it, you are entitled to funds to support your on-going PD expenses. If there is any question regarding the eligibility of your claim, an appeal process is in place to adjudicate the claim.
Rarely do we require such an appeal as the vast majority of claims are approved and clarified locally by the local PD committees.
Recently a local committee approved a PD request from a long-service employee. The request was subsequently denied by the Institute because the member had gone on pre-retirement leave after submitting the claim. The member put together an appeal package, including all statistics of their own claims in the past along with other claims made by fellow PD group members. They set out a response to each stated purpose of the PD fund, linking their own particular claim to the requirements of MemAg 09FSA40 and Article 10.3.
Three members selected by FSA and three members selected by the management make up the appeal committee. They met, heard, and debated the claim. In this case, the long-service member was a regular full time faculty member at the time they submitted the claim. They checked ahead of time to ensure they were eligible to make such a claim so close to a leave and/or retirement. BCIT advised them, correctly, that they remained able to access their PD expense funds. Access to Professional Development is available to regular and temporary members so long as claims meet the PD criteria and are distributed equitably to all group members. This member contributed faithfully to the PD fund, met all criteria set out and was thoughtful in their use of it. Still, the claim was then denied when it was submitted for payment. The appeals committee came to the correct resolution and a majority voted to grant this claim about a month after the claim was denied.
We encourage all FSA members to familiarize yourself with the PD expense fund and PD leave language and use your PD funds! It doesn’t just benefit the Institute and your students, it provides you with the ability to keep your career stimulating and current.
We would like to acknowledge the thoughtful contributions, advocacy, and expertise of the FSA members who were part of this process.
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