by Sarah Gutowski, Chair, New Member Mentoring Program
At the end of this week I'll be traveling down to Virginia to participate in two poetry readings with a colleague. Because these readings are a part of my professional development, and in support of a recent publication, I'm able to request reimbursement from the college for expenses associated with the trip. Additionally, I'll be taking two "T" days -- time separate from sick days or from personal days on my monthly leave report.
|Oh hey, Autumn. Nice of you to show up.|
You’ll submit these forms to your academic chair, who must approve them first, and then he or she or your department’s administrative assistant will forward them to the Central Business Office. They’ll do their thing with the application, and then it will find its way to your executive dean for approval. THEN (yes, there’s more, much more!) the application will be sent back to your department’s administrative assistant, who will turn the application (or, in fancier terms, “requisition”) into a purchase order. Also, you’ll receive a nice letter in the mail notifying you that your conference attendance has been approved.
Once you’re approved, all you have to do is write that paper for the conference! (Or simply plan your itinerary and pack your bags, you lucky thing.)
After you’ve traveled and rubbed elbows at the conference/event, you’ll return home and – no matter how jet-lagged you are or how many papers or projects you find waiting to be graded – FILL OUT MORE PAPERWORK. You’ll need to submit two forms (a Travel Expense Voucher and a Contractual Travel Payment Request form), receipts, and materials (save your name badge! And the conference brochure!) that prove you attended your conference and, therefore, deserve to be reimbursed. Also, you’ll need to type a letter to the Central Business Office (a “Conference Report”), akin to a “What I Did At Summer Camp” writing assignment. You need to submit this paperwork within three months to your department’s administrative assistant, who will ask your academic chair to sign it, and then he or she will forward it on to Accounts Payable.
I know that three months sounds like a ridiculously long amount of time, but when you attend a conference in March, and return to a spring semester filled with papers and events and meetings, that June deadline can encroach fairly fast. And if you find that you missed the three month mark, be it by two weeks or two months, you risk not having a single penny of your conference costs reimbursed. (Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Nope. Not me!)
You can find the official description of procedures in a document on the FA’s website. This document is nice, too, because it includes active links to all of the forms I mentioned above.
I realize that as you navigate your way through your first semester, you may not be thinking of attending a conference just yet. But eventually, you’ll want to, and the process can seem really intimidating. Try to save a copy of this post somewhere so that you can refer to it when that time comes.
Additional but important items about conferences:
- Contractually, we are all entitled to $1500 for conference expenses between September 1, 2013 and August 31, 2015.
- There’s nowhere on the leave report to officially record “conference leave” or "T" days, other than to type a message for your supervisor under the “notes” section of the leave report.