Faculty Research and Professional Development (RPD) Program Overview and Guidelines

The faculty research and professional development program (the “RPD program”) provides an annual allocation to tenured and tenure-track faculty members for use on eligible expenses related to their scholarly research and professional development. The program eliminates the pre-approval requirement for most eligible expenses, reducing delays and streamlining College funding to enable faculty to conduct original research, participate in scholarly activities outside the College, develop innovative teaching strategies, and cultivate professional academic growth. Each eligible faculty member has an RPD account into which deposits are made, and from which research and professional development expenses are reimbursed.

In addition to the RPD program, there are supplemental funds available on request through a Supplemental Research Rund and the Committee on Faculty Scholarship.

Funding and Rollover

Eligible faculty members receive an annual allocation of $3,000 as part of the RPD program. Faculty members will be allowed to roll over unused funds to the following academic year and carry up to a maximum RPD balance of $6,000.

In the event that a faculty member overspends their available balance, the faculty member’s annual distribution for the following academic year will be reduced by the amount of the overspend. Excessive or recurring overspending beyond a faculty member’s available RPD balance may result in a reduction to future RPD allocations or the faculty member to reimburse the College via a salary deduction.

RPD funding is expected to be the first source of funding used by faculty during the year before seeking supplemental funding.

When funding beyond the faculty member’s RPD balance is needed, faculty can apply for supplemental funding via one of the following processes, depending on the level of funding sought:

  • Provost’s Supplemental Research Fund: Small grants for up to $3,000 for faculty who will use their entire base RPD allocation and have incremental needs. Applications will be submitted to and reviewed by the Deans of Faculty at specified deadlines. Emeriti, visitors, and academic affairs administrative staff are also eligible to apply for this funding.
  • Committee on Faculty Scholarship: Faculty-led peer review of larger grant proposals exceeding $3,000 and with a maximum of $15,000, with two annual deadlines. This group also reviews faculty fellowship proposals, COVID O’Leary grants, and other awards.

Program Eligibility

Tenured and tenure-track faculty have a permanent RPD account into which funding deposits are made (from the annual allocation as well as other internal sources); funds remain available while on research leave (sabbatical).

All other categories of faculty (e.g. visiting, non-tenure-track, emeritus, etc) retain access to travel, research and professional development funds by application to the Provost’s Office.

Other Awards

The RPD program supplements other existing award programs, and awards, such as faculty start up or Ardizzone, remain in place. Each award program is subject to its applicable award guidelines regarding allowable spending and rollover of funds.

Allowability of Expenses

Eligible Expenses

A (non-exhaustive) list of eligible RPD expenses is included below:

  • Travel to academic conferences, research sites, festivals, scholarly meetings, and professional development events (conference registration and/or participation fees; airfare, train, mileage, and auto travel; lodging, living expenses and federal per diem; taxi, car rental and parking).
  • Equipment not otherwise provided by the College and essential to the pursuit of the research agenda, including special-use computing and laboratory equipment. Equipment purchases must be made through approved College channels and may require pre-approval from other departments (e.g., technology purchases are required to be done in accordance with the College’s Purchasing Policy and Information Technology Services policies. Equipment will remain property of the College, and will not be placed on a College-funded replacement cycle).
  • Pedagogical/educational development activities, including programs and materials that prepare faculty to design and offer innovative course designs, effective teaching strategies, and other preparation for teaching excellence. Software licenses for student use are not eligible; faculty with such needs should communicate these to the Educational Technology team.
  • Purchase of books and scholarly materials when critical to the research agenda.
  • Publication and scholarly production costs (indexing, image rights, materials and supplies, editing and pre- or post-production services, etc.).
  • Professional memberships.
  • Research participant costs, subject to following all College hiring processes and wage and independent contractor standards.
  • Research assistance by Holy Cross students, subject to following all student employment hiring processes and College wage standards.

It is imperative that Faculty who have any questions on allowability consult with their Department Chair before incurring expenses.

Non-Allowable Expenses

Expenses must conform to other College policies and procedures. Non-allowable expenses include the following:

  • Personal compensation
  • Payments to related people or entities that may result in a conflict of interest
  • Faculty or staff salary
  • Cash donations and gifts
  • Personal housing and living expenses
  • Personal items, such as furniture or equipment for home office
  • Honoraria, consultant fees, and costs related to hosting visitors to the College
  • Expenses that exceed limits established within other College policies or that may appear excessive or unreasonable in light of the spirit and intent of the RPD program or the College’s non-profit status

Applicability of Other College Policies

Expenses are required to conform to other College policies, including but not limited to the College’s Purchasing Policy and Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy. Certain research expenditures are subject to existing College policies related to human subjects research & Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

For travel-related expenses, faculty should use the College’s authorized travel agency, Egencia Travel.

Faculty pursuing research or professional development travel outside the United States must complete the Foreign Travel Waiver Form and register on the International SOS Website:

  • Visit the Holy Cross/IntlSOS site to review IntlSOS resources and access your Proof of Membership. Please contact the Department of Risk Management and Contracts for the membership number at 508-793-2394.
  • Access IntlSOS App download instructions.
  • Once you have registered the IntlSOS App, you can easily contact IntlSOS by simply clicking the button in your IntlSOS App.
  • Add the following dedicated Holy Cross IntlSOS phone number to your contacts: (+1-215-942-8478)

Process for Incurring, Recording, and Tracking Reconciling Expenses

Accounting for Expenses

Each eligible faculty member is assigned a unique 6-digit department (“deptid” or “org”) code that remains with each eligible faculty member throughout their employment with Holy Cross. All College-sponsored awards are tracked within each faculty member's unique department.

RPD-related expenses are differentiated from other funding sources using the FACPD "class code." As such, the following Chrome River allocation should be used for all RPD expenses:

1000-(unique deptid)-1000-FACPD

Faculty may obtain their individual 6-digit department code from their department chair.

Mechanism for Purchasing

Refer to the College’s Purchasing Policy for the approved mechanism for purchasing and payment processing. In general, it is recommended that the faculty member’s College-issued procurement card ("PCard") is used for all travel-related purchases, recurring payments less than $75, and one time purchases, subject to the College’s Purchasing Policy.

Submitting Expenses

  • Faculty are responsible for submitting their own Chrome River expense reports within 30 days of incurring an expense. In line with IRS regulations, failure to submit an expense report within 60 days will create a taxable event and be subject to tax withholding.
  • Reconciled Chrome River reports are automatically routed to the respective department chair and Provost’s Office for approval.
  • The Accounts Payable team performs a final review, posts transactions to the ledger, and when applicable, processes reimbursements.
  • If a College-issued procurement card is used, the College pays the card balance. If a personal payment method is used, reimbursements are made in conjunction with the faculty payroll cycle following applicable approvals.

Monitoring Available RPD Balances

Individual faculty RPD balances can be viewed in Adaptive Planning by the department chair and administrator who have access to department budgets and actual results to date. Point-in-time balances may be communicated to faculty upon request.

As with other faculty department awards and budgets, expenses are reflected in Adaptive Planning only after they are submitted, reconciled, and fully approved in Chrome River. Thus, timely reconciliation and approval is essential.

Additional Resources

For questions regarding the RPD program or other faculty awards, contact Donna Hebert or Douglas Luke in the Provost Office.

To obtain a PCard, contact Purchasing.

For training on Chrome River, contact Accounts Payable.

For training on Adaptive Planning, contact the Budget Office.


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