Evaluating IFO Requests

Evaluating IFO requests:
In most cases, the approval of faculty requests for the use of IFO funds is straightforward. The
requests are usually for travel reasonably related to faculty professional development or
memberships or books that clearly have a professional development focus.
The areas where requests are submitted which do not fall within the allowable PDP guidelines
would include:
1) Request for multiple copies of the same book (e.g. for students in a class). Generally, this is
not appropriate, as the funds are intended for the personal professional development of a faculty
2) Requests to cover travel expenses for students or others traveling to a meeting. We have
allowed payment for a van to travel to a conference that the faculty member is attending, as he or
she would have to travel to the conference anyway, and renting a BSU van costs less than paying
someone for the use of their personal vehicle.
3) Requests for a cell phone. Cell phone purchases have specific system-wide process. If you
get this request, check with Marie Bock regarding the rules and paperwork.
4) Requests for routine equipment. This would clearly include anything the University would
normally provide- a computer, office equipment, etc.
Other comments:
Faculty should provide an explanation if they are going to be going to a conference and have
more than a day for travel before and after the conference. One justification would include a
reduced cost for airfare that makes up for the additional costs of food and lodging.
Reimbursements. Generally, faculty should not request reimbursement for more than $50. This
is based on a finding from a recent audit which indicated that we should rarely provide
reimbursements. Instead, faculty should be advised to use either POs or a BSU purchasing cards
whenever possible.
In addition, we have been advised by auditors that we should not provide reimbursement for
items shipped directly to a faculty member’s home- all items should be shipped directly to the
In both these cases the faculty member should be advised of the audit findings, and asked to do
things differently in the future.
Below is the contract language from Article 19 regarding use of PDP funds.
Subd. 3. Funds provided by this section (PST funds) shall be limited to paying for costs
associated with the process of faculty development as described in Article 22. Purchase of
activities, services or tangible assets should be consistent with the faculty member’s
professional development plan or sabbatical plan. Examples of permissible uses include, but
are not limited to, the cost of travel, housing, meals and registration associated with
participation in professional conferences, workshops, and similar meetings and courses,
professional memberships, professional books and journals, supplies and services including
Internet access, online services including electronic subscriptions, software, multimedia, and
fees associated with the publishing or presentation of scholarly and creative work including
preparation services. PST purchases must be reasonably likely to enhance the faculty
member’s effectiveness with respect to one or more of the five criteria set forth in Article 22;
purchases of technology that satisfy the standards of this subdivision are permissible.
Funds may not be used to purchase routine equipment. All tangible assets purchased with
PST funds are the property of the University.