Professional Development vs. Employee Appreciation

Below is guidance for defining employee-related events supporting “Professional Development” and “Employee Recognition or Appreciation”.

Professional Development

  1. Readily identifiable and relatable to a documented academic and/or business initiative(s).    
  2. Predetermined agenda containing structured topics, discussions, presentations, training and/or exercises. 
  3. Food is circumstantial per the event’s specific parameters.  Preplanning dialogue with department CCM is strongly recommended to ensure policy compliance. 
  4. Adding a group-based entertainment or social activity is allowable given…
  • Activity is not the primary purpose for the event and avoids appearance of impropriety. 
  • Additional costs are reasonable.    
  • See “Important Notes” below for additional information. 
  1. Examples of Professional Development: 
  • Infrequent retreats or meetings focusing on documented academic and/or business topics and initiatives. 
  • Training (industry certification, continuing education, updates/changes, software/applications, etc.).
  • Business skill enhancement (accredited programming for leadership style, effective communication, critical, analytical, and strategic thinking, personality mapping, etc.)

Employee Recognition or Appreciation

  1. Not readily identifiable or relatable to a documented academic and/or business initiative(s).    
  2. No agenda due to primary purpose being group-based entertainment, socialization, team building or appreciation in a social atmosphere.  See “Important Notes” below.    
  3. Expenses must be tracked by department in relation to University policy for annual per-person cost limits for recognition and appreciation.
  4. Examples of Employee Recognition or Appreciation:
    • University’s annual employee appreciation week
    • Holiday luncheon
    • Summer picnic
    • Group activity for team building, entertainment or socializing (e.g. sporting event, cooking class, bowling, painting class, frisbee golf, escape rooms, etc.).
    • Reminder for Award Presentations:  Dean’s Office plans and hosts an annual college-wide Award Presentation.  Thus, as general rule, departments are discouraged from planning any additional award-based events.  Preplanning dialogue with department CCM is strongly recommended.
    • See “Important Notes” below for additional information. 

Important Notes: 

  • Alcohol:  As a general rule alcohol is not permitted to be purchased with University funds and provided to employees for both Professional Development and/or Employee Recognition and Appreciation.  Seek preplanning guidance from department CCM for additional clarification.
  • High-risk Activities Prohibited:  The University prohibits some activities due to inherent risk to the individual participants, department and/or University.  Specific examples include axe throwing, Top Golf and beer/wine tastings.  It’s critical that preplanning dialogue occur with CFAES administration to determine if a specific activity is allowable by University Administration.      
  • Event Booking Agreements and Contracts:  Commonly, event venues and group-based reservations require signature or electronic acknowledgment of supplier’s agreement, contract and/or terms and conditions.  Only authorized University signers are permitted to sign or agree to supplier documents.  Please seek guidance from the department CCM for obtaining authorized signatures.