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Professional Development Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) recognises its greatest asset in achieving its strategic objectives is its staff and that professional development contributes to personal job satisfaction, workplace productivity, reward and recognition. Continuous professional development and learning are necessary to attract and maintain the quality of high-calibre professionals capable of leading the University into the future with continued readiness and ability to contribute effectively to the achievement of strategic goals of the University.

(2) In accordance with the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 (the Enterprise Agreement), the University is committed to providing a supportive and rewarding environment for staff members to increase performance and effectiveness in presently held positions, as well as to encourage staff members to obtain skills, knowledge, and abilities, which may improve opportunities for career advancement within the University.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This document outlines to all staff members, both academic and professional, the principles that underpin Staff Professional Development while encouraging and supporting staff members to pursue professional and career development as an integral component of employment with the University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to staff of the University in any area and at any time they are undertaking work, research or study related activities, including during field work, placements and external events.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) The University is committed to providing staff members with opportunities to develop capabilities that complement the University and organisational unit’s strategic goals, develop career plans and participate in career development activities that extend and enhance the staff member’s capabilities and capacity for advancement within the University, and equity of access to professional development opportunities.

(6) Professional development is a shared responsibility, demanding commitment and resources from both the individual staff member and the staff member’s relevant organisational unit. Professional development needs and opportunities will primarily be identified through the staff performance cycle and captured in the staff members Performance Development Review System (PDRS).


(7) The Staff Professional Development Policy is based on the following principles:

  1. Professional development activities should contribute to the achievement of the CDU Strategic Plan 2021 - 2026.
  2. PDRS processes are the primary means of identifying and addressing the learning and development needs of staff members.
  3. Professional development is an appropriate form of work activity that must be accessible by, and available to, all staff members.
  4. University and organisational unit strategic and operational plans provide high-level priority and specific focus areas for professional development activities.
  5. Some professional development activities may be mandatory as a consequence of the Enterprise Agreement, legislation and/or University governing documents.
  6. Professional development activities may assist a staff member in adjusting to technological and organisational change.
  7. Permanent staff members and those employed on fixed-term contracts are eligible for staff professional development. Access and participation by staff members will be based on identified needs and must be equitable.
  8. Professional development is a responsibility shared by individual staff members, supervisors, managers and organisational units.
  9. Professional development activities should encourage a staff member to expand, develop and use their skills and abilities for the advancement of the University.

Staff Professional Development Programs

(8) Professional development activities should relate closely to the goals set out in the University’s Strategic and Operational Plans, to the needs of the staff member’s organisational unit, and to the objectives of the staff members PDRS.

(9) Information on staff professional development is provided by People and Culture. University professional development activities include, but are not limited to:

  1. staff training provided directly by the University;
  2. training sourced from external training providers sourced through the University;
  3. special study programs identified by individual staff members , covered by the Special Study Program Procedure;
  4. international conferences;
  5. online learning courses such as LinkedIn Learning;
  6. staff exchanges; and
  7. internal transfers within the University or secondment to another employing institution.

(10) Additional professional development opportunities that may be available through the staff member’s organisational unit include, but are not limited to:

  1. conference funding and/or leave;
  2. workshops, seminars or short courses that do not lead to a qualification;
  3. shadowing/mentoring arrangements; and
  4. cultivation of personal networks.


(11) As part of the University’s commitment to ensuring that staff members are provided with opportunities for professional development and are informed about matters related to health, safety and workplace behaviours in accordance with the relevant legislations, all staff members must attend or complete compulsory training activities as defined by People and Culture. Compulsory training includes, but is not limited to:

  1. cross cultural awareness training;
  2. occupational health and safety, including workplace ergonomics;
  3. fire awareness and emergency evacuation training;
  4. staff requirements under the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy;
  5. equity and equal opportunity training; and
  6. awareness and acknowledgement of the University’s Codes of Conduct.

(12) Work units or individuals with particular responsibilities, such as staff responsible for fieldwork, medical research or VET training, may have additional compulsory professional development and training requirements suitable for that work.

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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(13) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(14) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(15) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.