Policy: Travel & Conference Support for Full-Time Faculty

March 2008

In order to be effective teacher scholars, Trinity’s full-time faculty engage in a wide range of external scholarly and professional development activities. Trinity provides financial support for these activities. Full-time faculty members may request such support according to these guidelines:

1. Type of Activities Supported

Up to the financial limits specified elsewhere in this policy statement, Trinity provides support for faculty travel for full-time faculty who participate in these kinds of external activities:

  1. Professional conferences related to the faculty member’s teaching and research activities, curriculum development or other academic matters that are relevant for Trinity;
  2. Professional meetings where the faculty member is delivering a paper, participating in a panel discussion, or taking an active role as an officer, board member or active consultant to the organization, where the work involved is relevant to the faculty member’s work at Trinity;
  3. Meetings that the faculty member attends at the request of the university.

Trinity reserves the right to determine whether the conference or meeting in question is an appropriate investment of the university’s resources. Trinity’s ability to extend financial support to any faculty travel is limited by the availability of funds, time and competing faculty requests.

2. Financial Guidelines for Faculty Travel Support

Trinity provides faculty travel and conference support according to the guidelines below. However, in all cases, faculty members must apply in advance and according to specified guidelines to receive support, and the respective academic dean as well as the provost must review and approve the application prior to incurring expenses. Additional guidance on the application process is in Part 4 below.

Accordingly, following are the usual thresholds for faculty travel support:

  1. 100% of domestic travel up to $1000 for the first trip in any given academic year in which the purpose of the travel is to deliver an academic paper or presentation, or to play a leading role in a professional conference, e.g. as an association officer or board member; if 100% of domestic travel exceeds $1000, Trinity may choose to pay all or part of costs in excess of $1000 depending upon the nature of the opportunity for the faculty member;
  2. 100% of domestic travel up to $600 for the first trip in an academic year that is for specific professional development purposes that the academic dean has approved even if no presentation or paper is involved; above $600 Trinity may choose to pay all or part of the costs depending upon the nature of the opportunity for the faculty member;
  3. after the first trip for the purposes specified in (a) and (b), Trinity may provide reduced levels of funding to the same faculty member for subsequent trips for the same purpose, based upon the need to provide “first trip” funding for other faculty;
  4. 100% of travel for trips taken at Trinity’s request;
  5. support for international travel up to $1000, except in cases in which the faculty member is traveling at Trinity’s request, or in cases in which Trinity determines that the value of the opportunity merits additional support.

3. Expenses Supported

Trinity will pay for the following kinds of travel and conference expenses, according to the guidelines of this section. This support is available for the full-time faculty member only, and will not be extended to family members or colleagues who are not members of the faculty or staff of Trinity. Expenses are expected to be reasonable for the city visited and nature of the event.

  1. conference registration fees;
  2. transportation expenses according to the most cost effective mode of travel, i.e., mileage by car, train, airfare, etc.; all airfare must be coach at the most reasonable discount possible;
  3. hotel and lodging expenses according to reasonable norms for the city involved;
  4. reasonable meal expenses;
  5. ground transportation as necessary, in the most cost effective mode.

Trinity does not pay bar bills, including minibars; movies or other forms of entertainment; rental cars except with prior approval; sundries or other personal effects purchased on the road. Trinity also does not pay a “per diem” regardless of the expense incurred.

4. Application Process for Travel Support

At the beginning of each academic year and semester, the vice president for academic affairs will issue a call for applications for travel support. The earlier a faculty member can forecast a need for travel support, the more likely it is that Trinity will be able to provide full support.

In all cases, a faculty member must apply for travel support at least two months prior to incurring expenses such as conference registration, airline ticket purchases, hotel arrangements, etc. NOTE: this requirement specifically states “two months prior to incurring expenses” which may well be a much earlier date than the commencement of the trip. Faculty members are responsible for adhering to this timetable. The deans and provost may issue earlier deadlines as well.

No travel support will be available for faculty members who fail to comply with the deadlines for requesting support.

Trinity will not reimburse faculty members for travel expenses after-the-fact for any trip where the faculty member has not received prior approval for the expenses.

Application process:

  1. the faculty member who wishes to receive travel support should complete the Faculty Travel Application form available in the Provost’s Office;
  2. the faculty member must submit the form to the dean of his or her school according to the timetable that the dean or provost will announce each year, but at least one month prior to incurring the expenses;
  3. the respective academic dean will review the application; if the dean approves of the request, the dean is responsible to attach a Purchase Order to the application form, and then to send the P.O. and application forward to the provost for review and approval of the expense;
  4. the provost signs-off on the P.O., which is also her approval of the application, and sends the P.O. forward for financial review as is the case with all P.O.s;
  5. the provost should notify the dean and faculty member that the P.O. has gone forward.

4. Method of Payment

All expenses incurred in faculty travel for which the faculty member expects Trinity support must have proper receipts. In addition, all faculty travel expenses must be reported on the Faculty Travel Report Form available through the Office of the Academic Vice President (this form is on the back of the application form). The same form is used for travel advances, justification of the use of advance funds, requests for reimbursements, and trip reports.

If the faculty member receives a travel advance, then after the trip the faculty member must submit a written statement of expenses on the “Travel Report Form” incurred against the travel advance, receipts supporting the statement, and the balance of funds. This statement must be submitted to the office of the Academic Vice President within five days of returning from the trip.

If the faculty member requests a reimbursement, then the faculty member should submit the “Travel Report Form” with appropriate receipts to the respective academic dean, who will attach a check request and forward the report to the Provost’s Office for final processing.

All requests for reimbursement must be received within five days of the completion of the trip. Requests for reimbursement will not be honored after the close of the fiscal year in which the trip occurred.

Trinity reserves the right to refuse to reimburse any expense for which there is no receipt.

5. Trip Reports

The investment of College funds in faculty travel is an important part of the growth and development of the faculty. For that reason, the College expects the investment to produce a tangible work product that can be shared with other members of the faculty and that can become part of the faculty member’s portfolio.

Therefore, within one month of the completion of a trip supported with College funds, the faculty member should submit a written report to the dean. This report should summarize the results of the trip (not a description of what occurred, but the outcomes of the experience), and attach any papers delivered or other relevant materials.