The faculty development/research expense allotment is designed to cover professional expenses incurred for travel, conference, licenses, books (see policy below) and other publications to assist faculty seeking to establish themselves and their reputations including speaking at academic conference that are not offering reimbursement, to provide supplemental classrooms experiences, support research and other professional undertakings. You should seek approval from Dean Houck using the Travel Request Form. Only rarely will international travel for an academic conference not resulting from an invitation to present ever be appropriate for professional development. The University offers funds for international travel for which professors may apply.
Faculty expense allotments are not included as part of taxable income. All purchases made from our accounts are University property rather than personal property. You should work with Administrative Support Assistants who can assist you in making these purchases. The University's preference is to pay for the items directly rather than process reimbursements whenever possible. In fact some items cannot be reimbursed, such as furniture and equipment. Air transportation may be booked using Travel onLion, or Centre For Travel (Kim Kawa — firstname.lastname@example.org) or through an agency or website of your choice, but airfare must be reasonable and in some cases will require a comparison documentation from Travel OnLion at the time of purchase to show that fare booked is lowest priced fare. Itemized receipts are required for all purchases with the exception of local Metro//Subway/City Bus/Tools and meals while in travel status when reimbursement is made based upon a meal per diem policy. All travel reimbursement requests must be submitted for payment within 60 days of completion of trip.
Rather than get into a lot of policy details, if you have any questions, please contact Rachel Arnold [telephone (814) 867-0407], Jo Lipson, [telephone (717) 240-5101] or Doris Orner [telephone (717) 240-5284]. Our Finance Office website also has a lot of information and forms which might be helpful to you.
BOOK PURCHASES (and other library materials): All book purchases made with faculty expense account funds should be routed through the library so that the library may catalog the book as part of our collection before returning the book to you for your use. Books purchased specifically for faculty members using their office/research account funds are obtained and processed by the Law Library as private office copies. Although these items are processed and stamped as PSU-owned titles, they are not made searchable in the publicly-accessible online catalog and are not subject to the usual rules allowing patrons to recall them from your offices. As such, they are never intended/expected to be integrated into the general library collection and can be used as one would a personal copy (e.g., writing on or highlighting pages is perfectly OK) for the length of employment at the Law School or SIA at Penn State. University-funded book purchases are viewed as University resources to avoid having to count these items as taxable personal income. In the event that a faculty member leaves employment with the University, it is expected that the books bought with office/research funds will be returned to the Law Library for appropriate disposition or disposal. The book will be checked out to you, but not restricted by ordinary lending rules, and to all intents and purposes you will use it exclusively as long as you remain a faculty member. The easiest way to accomplish this is for you to ask the library to make the purchase you desire. However, you also may make book purchases on your own, in which case cataloging must occur in conjunction with your reimbursement request. Purchases undertaken by an Administrative Support Assistant on your behalf will be processed in the same manner. The idea behind the library processing faculty-ordered books is to build the library collection and avoid the issue of faculty-retained books constituting taxable income.