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Libraries' Faculty Independent Professional Activities
Policy and Procedures

Introduction

Libraries' faculty are encouraged to engage in independent professional activities in addition to their assigned job responsibilities when the activities increase their professional competence and advance the Libraries' mission. Every faculty member may use up to five hours per week to pursue independent professional activities. Such release time is considered part of the faculty member's work week and does not require supervisors' permission. Accumulating and using release time beyond five hours per week requires supervisors' permission since it may affect the operation of the faculty member's department.

The Supervisors' Role

Libraries' supervisors should stimulate and encourage independent professional activities among faculty through flexible scheduling of departmental work, through their own example, and through their support of faculty engaged in these activities. When supervisors receive faculty requests for accumulated release time, they decide whether the activity is appropriate and if departmental operations can accommodate the release time. Examples of activities are described below.

Appropriate Independent Professional Activities

Appropriate professional activities covered by this policy include those within the field of librarianship and archival administration. The following is an unranked list of possible activities for individuals or groups. This list is meant to be illustrative and not exclusive:

  • Preparing material for publication in scholarly books or journals or for presentation as lectures, papers, poster sessions or demonstrations.
  • Participating in a substantive way in a local, state, regional, national, or international professional association which might include serving on a board, preparing for upcoming conferences, program planning, etc.
  • Serving as a member or an intern on an editorial board, reviewing publications for a professional journal, judging grant proposals or creative/performing art in one's area of professional specialization.
  • Compiling annotated bibliographies, metadata catalogs, finding aids or other user aids for public use.
  • Fulfilling the requirements of fellowships, grants, awards or other special honors received for research or instruction.
  • Developing studies, processes, software programs or apparatus useful in library operations or in the analysis of those operations.
  • Teaching a course or in one's area of professional specialization.
  • Engaging in accredited coursework or approved independent study programs related to one's area of professional specialization.
  • Exploring other areas/specializations in the field by cross-training in another unit or department of the UGA Libraries, or, possibly in another library system.

Procedures for Using Release Time

These procedures implement the independent professional activities policy. They reflect the Libraries' need to balance the performance of its operations with encouraging the professional growth of its faculty.

Five hours per week

  • Faculty schedule their release time, taking into consideration how departmental operations can accommodate it.
  • Faculty document their activities in their annual performance evaluation form.

Accumulation of release time - More than five hours, up to five days

  • Faculty request permission from their supervisor. The request is the form of a letter, which describes the activity and how it will mutually benefit the Libraries and the individual; and specifies the amount of time to be accumulated and how it will be allocated.
  • Faculty document their activities in their annual performance evaluation form.

Accumulation of release time - More than five days, up to 32.5 days

  • In consultation with their supervisor and department head, the faculty member requests permission from the University Librarian. The request is in the form of a letter, which describes the activity and how it will mutually benefit the Libraries and the individual; specifies the amount of time to be accumulated and how it will be allocated; and suggests how the faculty member's workload will be covered in their absence.
  • Faculty report progress on their activities to their department head periodically as appropriate, and their annual performance evaluation form.

General procedures

  • Release time may not exceed 32.5 days in one contract year. Leaves of absence with or without pay are subject to the University of Georgia Academic Affairs Policy Manual , Section 1.12-1 (Leaves for Education Purposes, http://www.uga.edu/provost/polproc/aapm/faculty/fac112.htm#1121 ).
  • Faculty may not use release time in excess of what they have already accumulated. The only exceptions to this might be cases of reciprocal exchanges of librarians or the granting of a leave with or without pay. Formal discussion and approval from supervisors' is required.
  • Subject to budgetary limitations, supplemental support may be available. Faculty request supplemental support by submitting a letter to the University Librarian and Associate Provost in which they describe the activity in detail and the type and extent of the support requested.

This policy supplements and is subject to guidelines stated in:

Source: University of Georgia Libraries' Faculty Research Committee, Approved November 1982, Revised, May 1996. Additional updates approved by Libraries faculty, spring 2004, Revised 2006.