Opportunities / Responsibilities

Instructor Responsibilities

Teachers at College of Marin are required to not only have expertise in their fields, but also the ability to use a variety of instructional techniques in order to reach their diverse student population adequately.  Student learning is our top priority and teachers facilitate this with integrity, good humor, and open minds. 

Faculty members have these professional responsibilities:


  • To provide a syllabus to students which inform them, in writing, about course requirements, student learning outcomes, grading and attendance policies
  • To create a stimulating classroom environment that encourages students to do their best
  • To teach
  • To discuss with students individually regarding their progress toward course student learning outcomes
  • To follow up with struggling students early on to ensure their ultimate success in the class
  • To refer students to resources and services at College of Marin that can assist them with physical, emotional, learning or other problems, not in the instructor’s area of expertise


  • To teach their classes following approved course outlines
  • To teach each class at the regularly scheduled time for the full time allotted
  • To maintain accurate enrollment, attendance and scholastic records for each student
  • To submit any and all required reports including grades according to deadlines
  • To add students during the add period up to the maximum expected enrollment for the class

Academic Freedom Policy

BP 4030 Academic Freedom

Please see ARTICLE 2: ACADEMIC FREEDOM of the UPM/MCCD CBA 2021-2024

Professional Development Opportunities

The goal of the staff development program is to provide resources, training and opportunities that support the professional development needs of college employees; create a cohesive and supportive environment that recognizes and celebrates achievement; and improve institutional effectiveness with the ultimate goal of supporting student success.

Detailed information is available on the Professional Development page of the college website.

FAQs for the Conference Leaves and the Professional Development Leave Committee (PDLC) is included below.


Note: Prior to summer 2021, this committee was called the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC).

What is the Professional Development Leave Committee (PDLC)?

The Professional Development Leave Committee or PDLC is a UPM-District Committee composed of four members, two appointed by UPM and two appointed by the District, whose responsibility is to review and make recommendations related to faculty requests for Professional Development Leave.

These responsibilities are negotiated as part of collective bargaining and spelled out in Article 5.14-5.15 of the UPM/MCCD CBA 2021-2024. It is suggested that you carefully read this article for details about the PDLC and leaves that may not be covered in this FAQ.

The PDLC’s primary responsibility is to review and make recommendations to the Vice President of Student Learning on faculty requests for reimbursement of expenses related to leaves for professional reasons, such as attending a conference.

How much funding is available?

Increase in Funding (UPM/MCCD CBA 2021-2024): Professional Development Leave and Honorary Leave funding has increased from $35,000 per year to $45,000 per year starting July 1st. If less than $45,000 is spent in any academic year, the left over does NOT roll over to the next year.

Note: “Honorary Leave” is for when someone (group or organization) invites you to go and present to them. They usually cover all or most of the costs and may even pay you an honorarium. 

Who is eligible for the PDLC funding?

Eligibility Criteria: As before, you must be employed for at least 40% FTE or averaging at least 40% FTE for the academic year (based on fall and spring assignments only) to be eligible for professional development or honorary leave/funds. You must meet this criterion at the time of the event in order to be reimbursed.

Limit on Attendees: No more than 2 people or 25% of the unit members of any department may attend the same conference at the same time without approval of the dean or director.

How much may I receive?

Small Dollar and Large Dollar Applications:

  • The process now distinguishes between “small dollar” ($250 or less) and “large dollar” (above $250 up to $1500) applications.

Small dollar applications

  • Each person is limited to $250 total per fiscal year for small dollar awards. This may include multiple awards.
  • When the small dollar applications exceed funds available for an application deadline, awards will be granted by lottery.

Large dollar applications

  • Each person is limited to no more than $1500 cumulative total of professional development/travel fund dollars (for both small and large dollar applications) during the fiscal year.
  • PDLC will approve large dollar applications starting with unit members who received large dollar award professional development funds/leave least recently.
  • When unit members received funds/leave equally recently, the PDLC will approve applications by lottery.

How do I apply for the PDLC funding?

New Forms: You must submit applications for professional development and honorary leave and funds on the attached form, along with the attached updated Faculty Absence Report form if you request leave. These are available in the Employee Tab of the MyCOM Portal.

UPM/MARIN CCD FORM 5.D: Professional Development Leave/Honorary Leave Application

UPM/MARIN CCD FORM 5.A (rev 5-21): Faculty Absence Report

Do I need to include anything else aside from the application?

  • Please include a brochure or other materials describing the activity or event. This information should include the dates of the conference and the fees. 
  • You must include hotel and airline booking information with an indication of the fees.
  • In estimating your budget, please include the Activity/Event fee and anticipated meal costs.
  • For “Honorary Leave” please include a copy of the invitation and other relevant information.
  • The Faculty Absence Report (UPM Marin CCD Form 5.A rev 5/21) (if applicable)

Where do I turn in my application?

Your application should be submitted to Sarah Anderegg, Executive Assistant (Sarah Anderegg) in the Office of the Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Learning and Success (Jonathan Eldridge), where they will be date stamped and submitted to PDLC.

When should I apply to the PDLC?

  • All full time and part time faculty who wish to take a leave of absence for professional reasons, such as attending a conference, should apply to the PDLC each and every time you wish to take a leave, regardless of whether or not you are requesting funds.
  • Applications for professional development leave and funds must be submitted and approved in advance but no earlier than one year prior to the event.
  • No application will be considered after the event.
  • Reapplication: If your application is not approved, you may reapply for a subsequent application deadline as long as it is in advance of the event.

What are the new application deadlines?

You must submit applications for professional development leave and funds prior to one of three application deadlines:
  • September 15*
  • January 15
  • May 1

Note: Funds will be divided across the three application deadlines. If funds remain from the amount to be allocated at the prior deadline, PDLC may award those funds for applications received after the deadline for events that occur before the next deadline. Other than this, PDLC will not make exceptions for late applications.

*This year only (2021): For applications received during summer 2021 for events with registration deadlines prior to September 15, 2021, PDLC will approve applications based on availability of funds leftover from the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

What is the Honorary Leave Application Process?

Honorary leave now also has application deadlines. Please refer to section 5.15 of the attached Article 5 tentative agreement for more information.

Can I request a substitute if I am going to miss classes?

  • Yes.  You MUST include a signed “Faculty Absence Report”. The PDLC has a limited amount, $5,000 per academic year, for substitutes for all PDL and Honorary Leaves. 
  • If you need a sub, make certain that you fill out all the information requested on the form.

What about paid substitutes?

  • You can request up to four days of Professional Development Leave and are eligible for paid substitutes for those four days. 

Does the PDLC provide funds in advance?

No. Once your application has been approved, you will be notified in writing by the Vice President and the amount of your request will be set aside. 

If I do not want funds, but want to take a conference leave, or if my leave is paid for by categorical funds, do I need to apply to the PDLC?

  • Yes.  Professional leaves are part of your job. Approval from PDLC for your leave is necessary for you to be covered by the District in case of any medical or legal issues.
  • If your leave is funded with categorical monies, you must note the budget number for those funds on your PDLC application form.
  • This does not apply to District Directed Travel.

How will I know if I have been approved?

If your request for leave and/or funding has been approved, you will receive a letter from the Vice President for Student Learning informing you of that approval and/or the amount of approved funding.

How do I request reimbursement of my expenses?

  • If your application for professional development leave/funds or honorary leave is approved, you must submit a request for reimbursement on the proper form, with all supporting documentation, no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the completion of the professional development activity. 
  • The Claim for Reimbursement form is available in the MyCOM portal under "Employee Only Forms".

Do I send Claims for Reimbursement to the PDLC?

  • No.  Requests for Reimbursement should be sent directly to the Executive Assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Learning with your receipts.
  • You can find this form in the MyCOM Portal under Employee Only Forms.
  • Please make sure to sign this form as the “Claimant” before you turn it in.
  • The Executive Assistant will fill in the necessary FOAPs (account #) and get the necessary approval signature.

Can I receive reimbursement for attending a course for which I receive college or professional development credit that will increase my base salary?


Can I receive PDLC funding for conferences during the summer, even if I am not teaching during the summer?

Yes, if you are a full-time faculty member you may apply for and receive PDLC funds to attend conferences during the summer.  Part-time faculty, however, are not eligible for summer funds.

Funding for Out-of State conferences

There are some prohibitions on state-funded travel to states with discriminatory laws (Assembly Bill 1887.

According to the college's Administrative Procedure - AP 7400 Travel, "Pursuant to AB1887, all District employees must adhere to the Out of State Travel Ban policy prior to submitting a travel request."

The best place to find an up-to-date list of which states are on this list, please see https://oag.ca.gov/ab1887.

Whom do I ask if I still have questions?

If, after reading Article 5 of the CBA, you still have questions about applying to PDLC, please feel free to contact your UPM-PDLC members.

College Governance

There are a number of College Participatory Governance Committees on which you can volunteer.  The overall system is detailed in the following publications:

Here is a useful set of Participatory Governance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The Participatory Governance System consists of the standing committees and councils listed below. Click on the committee name for information about the committee's charge, responsibilities, and composition.

There Are Three Senates:

Academic Senate Subcommittees

  1. Academic Standards Committee
  2. Curriculum Committee
  3. Distance Education Committee
  4. General Education Committee
  5. Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Council

Curriculum Development and Review

Faculty is encouraged to not only look at and use the Course Outlines of Record for the courses they are teaching but also to consider how to make them better.  All courses must be updated every 5 years and CTE courses must be reviewed every two years. 

In addition, the college's Curriculum Committee welcomes new members.  It meets weekly during the academic year to review and approve new and revised course outlines from all college disciplines as well as new and revised degrees and certificates.

The goal of the Curriculum Committee members is to provide the highest quality of education for all College of Marin students by supporting and assisting the faculty in the process of development and revisions to all approved academic materials. It is our intent to maintain and improve academic standards as set forth by Title 5 regulations, the State Chancellor’s Office, and the duties as set forth by the state Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

For complete information and resources including the curriculum handbook, please go to the Curriculum Committee Webpage.

Looking for examples of other college's course outlines?  Go to:


Program Review

Since 2007, faculty at College of Marin have participated in the Program Review process mandated for accreditation.  Faculty analyzes their discipline's success and growth (or decline), look at the discipline's curriculum, Student Learning Outcomes, and goals, as well as facilities, staff, faculty and equipment needs.  To participate in your discipline's review, please contact your department chair. 

For more information, please go to the Student Learning Outcome/Program Review Website. Program Review will be completed through eLumen starting in 2020.  

Individual Research and Development Grants (IR&D)

Faculty can apply for Individual Research and Development (IR&D) projects for one or two semesters.  These projects are for the exclusive purposes of:

  • evaluating, and developing new curricula deemed feasible (as opposed to course preparation for current curricula
  • evaluation and improvement of instructional effectiveness
  • improving student learning
  • increasing student enrollment and retention
  • encouraging the adoption of instructional, learning or technical innovations

IR&D Grants are non-transferable.  Funds expended for personnel services and equipment shall be limited to those line items and amounts specified in the grant as approved by the UDWC.  Budget revisions require UDWC approval.

Please refer to Article 8.4.4.a Institutional Research and Development (IR&D) Grants in the UPM/MCCD CBA 2021-2024 for further information.