Professional Development Scholarship

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Through funding from the Strategic Initiative Funds and UW Tacoma Strategic Plan, the Staff Association has received funds to award professional development scholarships to UW Tacoma staff members.

Click To Learn About Why We Applied For These Funds

Why did we ask for Strategic Initiative Funds for staff professional development funds? Below is an excerpt from our proposal submitted to the Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee. We are proud to advocate for the needs of staff, and lack of professional development funds has been a long time challenge faced by many on campus.

Professional development for staff is critically important. It not only advances the individual, but the department and in-turn the University, as a whole. Additionally, it helps to create an atmosphere and environment where the University is committed to the growth of its staff – and thus, attracting, retaining, and developing high quality employees.

Currently there is not adequate funding to meet professional development needs of our staff across campus. There are also inequities surrounding professional development funds - some staff members receive funding, while others do not. Every 2 years the Staff Association conducts an all-staff survey, and last year we saw an increase in the number of staff that indicated a lack of professional development on campus as a concern. “Professional development” came up as an answer to two questions on our survey in both 2015 and 2018: “How could your supervisor help you be more successful/happy in your job?” and “What issue do you feel is currently most ignored on our campus from a social justice perspective?” In 2018 we added the question “What would make UW Tacoma a better place to work?” – professional development was one of the top answers.

We do want to acknowledge the increase in on-campus professional development options that have been offered; programs coming from HR, or the SIF-funded Courageous Engagement Series offered last year, are a great benefit to staff. The Staff Association also received its first budget allocation from the Chancellor in 2017, which included some funding for professional development. However, this is mainly intended for on-campus programs, such as hosting webinars or bringing in speakers. There is still a lot of need for professional development, and not everything can be managed in-house. There are a plethora of professional organizations that provide online, regional, and national development opportunities that are specific to the variety of functional areas covered by staff across campus.

Scholarship Information and Requirements

Review the information below to learn more about how to apply for and receive a professional development scholarship.

Who Is Eligible?

Permanent, full or part-time staff, are eligible to apply for this scholarship. This includes classified, library and professional staff members. Temporary staff, student employees and faculty are not eligible to apply. There is a maximum of one scholarship awarded to an individual.

Priority consideration will be given to staff members who:
  • Do not have regular access to professional development funds
  • Are presenting at or have a professional position within an organization

What is Funded?

Scholarships can be used to cover registration, lodging and transportation to/from local, regional and national workshops/conferences/trainings.

Scholarships are NOT allocated directly to the person (i.e. in the form of a check). Registration for the program can be paid on your behalf by the Staff Association, if preferred. Any travel arrangements must be paid for by you and submitted for reimbursement.

How Much Funding is Available?

We have been allocated $5,000 to be used before December 1, 2020. Funds will be dispersed upon approval and until they have been exhausted.

Application Timelines

You can submit a scholarship request at any time and the applications will be reviewed on an ongoing bases until the deadline of December 1st, 2020 or when the funds are depleted, which ever one comes first.

    *All projects must end by December 1, 2020.

    How Are Funds Dispered? When Will I receive the Money?

    If you receive funding for registration, you have two options:
    • Pay the registration yourself, and submit for reimbursement
    • Request to have the fee paid by the Staff Association on University procard
    If you receive funding for lodging or transportation, you will need to make your own arrangements and payments, and submit for reimbursement. If the total amount spent goes over your allocated amount, a partial reimbursement will be issued for the amount allowed.

    All reimbursements will be held to University policies. Although we will guide you as much as possible, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand the requirements for lodging, transportation and registration reimbursements. Links are provided below: Funds are not allocated directly to a recipient, and cannot be put towards anything other than registration, lodging and transportation.

    Application & Review

    Information Needed for the Application

    This is not an application for open funds, you will be applying for a specific conference or professional development opportunity, so you will need to have basic info on the program ready.

    You will be asked a few short-answer questions about the importance of the program you wish to participate in, as well as connect it back to the UW Tacoma Strategic Plan.

    You will also be asked to provide a short letter of support from your supervisor, which you will have to upload in the application. At minimum, the following information needs to be included in the letter:
    • A brief description of your current ability to access professional development funding
    • Confirmation that they are aware of, and approve, any potential leave time that would be necessary for participating in this opportunity

    Application Review

    All applications will be reviewed by the Staff Association Board on an ongoing basis. We aim to have decision letters out within a week of the decision date.

    Ready to Submit?

    When ready to submit, please complete the online application form.

    Need More Help?

    If you have any questions regarding the staff professional development scholarships or the application, please email the Staff Association Professional Development Chair, at