Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Professional Development Fund for Staff

Optimizing the individual strengths and contributions of staff leaders is vital to the Haslam College of Business’ success and collective longevity. The Professional Development Fund for Staff (PDFS) is an effort to encourage staff support and workplace excellence through continuous learning, training, and development.

To receive funding for pre-approved professional development opportunities, an applicant must meet the staff eligibility requirements and adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Haslam College of Business (HCB) exempt or non-exempt staff who have twelve or more months of regular, continuous service (minimum of 75% time) are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be committed to supporting the mission, vision, and core values of HCB.
  • Applicants must complete an application, detailing relevant goals and how the professional development opportunity will add value to those goals.   
    • If the desired opportunity includes a selection process, applicants must have been accepted/selected prior to applying for funding.   
  • Applicants must secure written approval and support from their departmental supervisor, demonstrating how the opportunity supports the applicant’s individual professional development plan, department, and/or college.

Eligible events/activities: Conferences, workshops, symposiums, seminars, webinars, online workshop/course (non-credit), etc.

Ineligible events/activities: University of Tennessee courses offered through the Educational Assistance and Fee Waiver program, professional certification and licensing fees, membership fees for professional associations/organizations/clubs, software or software licensing, etc. 

Approval of events/activities outside the categories listed above will be decided at the discretion of the PDFS committee.   

Applicants must submit the following documents to be considered for funding:

  • Completed application form.
  • Published material(s) that provide a description of the professional development event/activity requested.
  • Itemized costs and/or estimates for all aspects of the request (see Itemized Cost Template).
    • Please note any additional funding provided by other sources.
  • Written approval and support from departmental supervisor, including a statement committing to match funds if event/activity is external to the university.


The applicant should provide the completed application and all supporting documentation at least one month before the funds are required to allow for review, deliberation, and processing of requests.

Deadline: New applications are due on the following dates for 2021-202:

September 6, 2021    November 6, 2021    February 6, 2022    April 6, 2022   July 6, 2022

Review: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis by a multi-discipline, cross-college committee.

Selection Process

The PDFS committee reviews all completed applications. An individual employee’s use of the PDFS is limited to $500.00 in any fiscal year. The committee may choose to limit an individual cost center/department at any time during the fiscal year. An important factor in granting awards will be the potential benefits to the employee, department and college. The employee’s department must be committed to matching funds for opportunities external to the university. There is no departmental matching requirement for university-hosted initiatives. Approved funds will be transferred to the employee’s department to offset reimbursement. Record of completion is required.


Communication of each award is emailed to the recipient and departmental supervisor approximately two weeks after the application deadline. Upon approval, recipient will receive instructions on how funds will be transferred and information on how to submit a record of completion.

For more information, contact Clarence L. Vaughn III, Director, Office of Diversity & Community Relations, at cvaugh27@utk.edu or 865-974-5185.

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