Emslie institutes new faculty, staff travel policy

Elizabeth Beilman

Faculty or staff in the academic division must be approved in advance for university-related travel as of Feb. 15.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, said the requirement helps Academic Affairs “keep things in order.”

“When someone is traveling, it is useful, for both us and them, that it is official travel,” Emslie said. “We need to know it’s official travel, and that it’s not basically a vacation day. We need to know the difference.”

Emslie said benefits of the new policy include protection from the university and confirmation to Academic Affairs that faculty or staff members are performing the obligations of their job.

Emslie said he came up with the policy when he found WKU did not already have one, while most other universities do.

“This is not aimed at adjusting any problems,” he said.

He said if faculty or staff members know they will be taking day trips to certain places multiple times throughout the year, they can fill out a “blanket approval” form.

If a professor knows he or she will be routinely traveling to Frankfort and trips will not be overnight, for example, they fill out one form for the whole year.

“We’re going to assume if they’re in Frankfort, they’re on official travel,” Emslie said.

All travel, including overseas, will now go directly to Academic Affairs to be approved by the office of the provost under the new requirement, said Tom Millington, director of Study Abroad and Global Learning.

Joel Turner, assistant professor of political science, travels to Washington, D.C., every year to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference with a group of students.

Turner said because he traveled before Feb. 15, he was not required to get approval from the office of Academic Affairs.

“We looked into it, but our trip was ahead of when we had to do any paperwork,” Turner said.

However, Turner said he will have to get approval before the trip in the coming years.