Travel Request Justifications Denied
In Maricopa, in order to take advantage of the available professional growth travel funds ($3500), you need to fill out a travel request form, provide all the proper documents, answer two questions and get the proper signatures: yours, department chair, travel rep and either the dean or VPAA. I honestly don’t know which one is supposed to sign off on it. The form leaves very little room to answer the two questions, so it’s literally a practice in being concise. Following are the two questions (bold) and my responses that were denied by the dean. My additional followup attempt, trying to address his concerns follows the two required questions. This justification was also denied. As of Tuesday, I have not been approved to travel. ;(
Purpose of business travel, including relevance to employee’s position in the District:
The purpose of my travel to the TYCA West conference is to directly support my role as assistant chair and eCourses coordinator for the department. Attending this conference will give me the opportunity to learn about different pedagogical practices in regards to teaching freshman composition at the two-year college. As a leader in the department, I plan to share what good practices I gather from my participation in this conference with my GCC colleagues. I will also be sharing what great things I’ve been able to accomplish here at GCC with participants during my presentation on hybrid courses.
Tangible benefits derived from business travel:
Tangible benefits derived from my travel to this conference include knowledge, strategic, networking, and team building benefits. I will learn about different practices my colleagues from other organizations are using at their institutions. That would include anything from technology tools to pedagogical practices. Attending the conference will enable me to see how other institutions anticipate, understand, and adapt to changes both in the teaching environment and in professional practice. The conference will enable me to meet professionals in similar roles and 2-year organizations on the west coast. Finally, as I have encouraged several younger faculty to also attend this conference, the conference will help build our department by providing a forum for faculty members to learn and discuss best practices, new tools, and emerging trends together.
Additional Justification requested by the dean’s secretary. This is my second attempt.
Professional development may enhance student learning through its effects on teaching practices, and effective professional development may contribute to the professional skills of participating teachers, thereby increasing the number of highly skilled faculty available at an institution. What does that mean for students and the institution? It means that I will be able to better my performance as a teacher and raise student achievement (theoretically). Student learning and achievement increase when educators engage in effective professional development focused on the skills educators need in order to address students’ major learning challenges. Many conferences that we attend give participants a variety of learning options in which to choose. Aside from the main idea, theme or major focus of the conference, no one can say specifically what they will learn and how students will benefit from this knowledge.
I could speculate and say that based on the theme of this year’s conference, “Alterations: The future of two year college English departments,” that I will learn more about the recent developments in higher education and how they are putting more pressure on two-year colleges to “move students through the system more quickly” and yet to provide “quality higher education” to some times under-prepared students. I will learn how these pressures impact development of curriculum, courses offered, textbook selection, staffing of classes, admissions policies, uses of technology in online and in-person education, as well as writing centers and academic advising. If I learn ALL that, students will benefit from better curriculum development, courses offered, text book selection, uses of technology in online and in-person classes, as well as better writing centers.
And as professional development should be reflective, I’ll be sure to share what I’ve learned with others who also believe in staying in touch with their profession.