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Professional Development Fund

Message from the CUPE PD Fund Committee

As a CUPE3911 member you, can apply to receive funding to support professional development activities.  The PD Fund is administered by a committee of elected CUPE 3911 members who decide on the awards. AU administers the applications on the Research Centre’s ROMEO system and effects the payment of funds through reimbursement of approved expenses. 

For now, due to the pandemic, travel and most mass events are not eligible for funding but you should consider these options:

  1. Events held virtually are eligible for funding.
  2. If the event is far enough in the future so there is a good possibility it might happen (in some form) then you can submit an application now as a place-holder.

We encourage you to take advantage of this union-bargained benefit for members. See below for more information on the rules governing what activities and events qualify for funding, the amounts available, and timelines.

As per Article 27 of the Collective Agreement between Athabasca University Board of Governors and CUPE Local 3911 (link above and scroll to p. 50 and Schedule C on pp. 64-66), funds are available to support individual or group activities that foster the professional development of CUPE Local 3911 members that directly enhances their CUPE work. CUPE elected members (CUPE PD Fund Committee) adjudicate applications and award funding to eligible applicants/activities. CUPE members provide a summary of their activity that is publicized to other members. Reimbursement for receipted approved expenses comes from AU via their reimbursement system. 


Who Can Apply?

  • CUPE Local 3911 members who fall under the CUPE Collective Agreement 

  • Members who are currently employed or on the first 12 months of a layoff period

  • Members who are currently providing alternate AUFA coverage up to and including six (6) consecutive months

    What kinds of Activities are funded?

The fund supports a variety of activities, but all must directly connect to your CUPE work for Athabasca University and yield a benefit to your teaching. Applicants must clearly demonstrate in their application how the proposed activity (e.g., conference, research project, other) does yield a benefit to their work as a Tutor or Academic Expert. Some examples of funded activities include:

  • Participation as a learner in a course, workshop, conference, or program that relates to your subject area or to the development of skills that will improve your CUPE work

  • Participation in activities that will enhance your skills/knowledge of adult and/or distance education

  • Presentation of papers, participation in poster sessions or panels related to your AU subject area or AU’s mission

What are Eligible Expenses and Funding Amounts?

The fund has primary purposes of reimbursing professional development costs, such as registration fees and travel expenses of member’s attendance at conferences/training activities/workshops relevant to their subject area and the courses they teach at AU. Funding limitations you should be aware of are as follows:

  • $1500-$2000 upper limit per applicant per year, depending on the location of the activity (up to $1500 for activities within Canada and up to $2000 for international activities)

  • The fund will support only one international application per member per AU Financial Year

  • All subsequent applications will be funded to a maximum of $1500 per applicant

  • Use the “AU Travel/Expense Claim” button above for reimbursement policies and forms

What Kinds of Expenses are Not Eligible?

Please note that as of April 2014 this fund will no longer cover tuition for Undergraduate or Graduate courses. AU courses can be partially funded under the separate “tuition waiver” provision (Article 21) of the Collective Agreement. Other expenses that are not eligible included:

  • Personal development courses

  • Recreational programs

  • Course development or activities

  • Activities wholly funded by other employers

  • Research activities not related to distance education and/or yielding the benefit to the work conducted by CUPE Local 3911 members

  • Purchase of equipment, books or software (these types of expenses can be partially funded by each member’s allowance as per Article 27.04); please note this is a separate and individually-based allowance that the PD Fund Committee does not administer. 

How to Apply

Applications for funding must be made by completing and submitting an application form – the AU Research Centre’s ROMEO system. 

Calls for applications (are announced on the tutor email alias) four times a year – early fall, late fall, winter and spring – on the schedule that follows (with applications due on the next business day when on a weekend or holiday):

March 1st           1st Quarter   (activities taking place April 1 – June 30)

June 1st              2nd Quarter  (activities taking place July 1 – September 30)

September 1st   3rd Quarter   (activities taking place October 1 – December 31)

December 1st    4th Quarter   (activities taking place January 1 – March 31)

CUPE 3911 members are encouraged to apply in the quarter before the activity, although applications for the current quarter or the earlier quarter (i.e. six months before the activity) will be considered. Activities that have happened more than three months previous to the application will not be considered.

Successful Applicants

Once the Professional Development Committee has reviewed your application, you will be notified if you did or did not receive funding. Successful applicants may not receive the full amount they requested. They must submit a brief report at the end of their activity, which is published to share with other members; and complete a claim for reimbursement of their approved expenses within 45 days of the end of the activity.

  • All applications must be submitted online via the ROMEO system
  • For instructions on how to submit an application using ROMEO, please click here
  • If you have questions regarding using the ROMEO system, please contact the Research Centre at
  • Be sure to view the Complete PD Fund Guidelines for further details and contact cupeinstructors@gmail with any questions.

We look forward to receipt of your CUPE PD Fund applications!

Leigh Brownhill, Mark Dimirsky (chair), Cal Hauserman, Vanee Narayanan,

CUPE PD Fund Committee