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Scholarly Leave Procedures and Guidelines

The College of Humanities and Sciences recognizes the importance of scholarly leave to the professional growth and development of our faculty and their teaching and research. Leave is designed to help faculty invigorate their research and teaching activities, and faculty requesting leave should have compelling and specific reasons for their request.

Faculty are eligible for two types of scholarly leave: study-research leave and educational leave. Study-research leave is designed for tenured faculty who need a sustained period of dedicated time to make significant progress on a research project. Educational leave is designed for full-time faculty who wish to pursue a specific course of study relevant to their teaching or research. The College of Humanities and Sciences complies with the university/state policies and procedures for study-research and educational leaves of absence which can be found on the university’s HR website. Faculty applying for national/international awards such as Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson Fellowships or other fellowships that have a residential requirement also should apply for leave. Candidates must notify their chair/director and Sponsored Programs in the Dean’s Office when applying for these types of external awards.

To be eligible for study-research leave, faculty must be tenured, have six years of prior university service, and have completed six academic years of service since a previous study-research leave. Faculty with previous leave during the 2017-18 academic year or an earlier year are now eligible again to apply for study-research leave during the 2024-25 academic year. 

To be eligible for educational leave, faculty must be full-time, have been employed by the university for at least one year, and have been accepted into an approved course of study at an accredited institution of higher learning, or have an approved plan outlined for independent study.

The College’s guidelines conform to the university’s policies which permit eligible faculty members, based on merit, to qualify for study-research or educational leave. The awarding of leave is subject to the availability of funds and the ability of the department or school to meet its teaching, service, administrative and other requirements.

To request leave for the 2024-25 academic year, the faculty member must complete the 2024-25 Request for Scholarly or Educational Leave Form by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Applicants must notify their department/school chair/director before submitting their application.

The form will request a 150-word abstract of the proposed leave activity, the faculty member’s curriculum vitae, and a one-page, single-spaced narrative that describes the following: (one page max, single-spaced)

  • Summary of the proposed leave activity
  • Description of the scholarly project (for study-research leave) or educational objective (for educational leave). This narrative should include specific goals, timeline and product.
  • Relevance of the proposed leave activity to the faculty member’s professional development/advancement, department/school, College and university

Faculty members applying for leave must request that their department chairs or school directors complete the Chair/Director Support for Scholarly or Educational Leave Form by the submission deadline. In that form, the chair or director will explain their support (or non-support) for the faculty member who has applied for leave. The support document must detail the fiscally responsible plan to provide coverage of the faculty member’s responsibilities while on leave. The chair/director must review the scholarly leave request to determine if the faculty member is eligible for the leave, and whether the proposed leave activity is of value to the faculty member, the department/school, and the university. In evaluating the request, the chair/director should also consider the effect the faculty member’s absence will have on the department/school. If the request is endorsed, the chair/director should indicate how the faculty member’s courses and other responsibilities, e.g., advising, administrative activities, etc., will be covered. If the chair/director does not endorse the request, then the chair/director should briefly explain why. If the department/school has multiple faculty members applying for leave, the chair/director will be asked to provide a ranking of the leave requests.

All requests for scholarly leave, regardless whether they are supported by the respective chair/director, will be reviewed. The dean will appoint a faculty advisory committee to review and rank the requests and to make a recommendation. The committee will evaluate each proposal’s merit in terms of the following criteria:

  • Significance of the work proposed
  • Relationship to teaching and ongoing scholarly and/or educational productivity
  • Connection with the mission of the department/school and College

The committee will apply a rubric to evaluate the proposals.

Proposals for first study-research leaves, proposals for first educational leaves, and proposals from faculty focused on promotion to professor will be given preference. Women and underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The dean will review the recommendations from the faculty advisory committee and the chairs/directors and, pending availability of funding, make a final determination. Faculty members will be notified in writing of the dean’s decision and if the leave is approved by the dean, the dean will seek approval from the provost.

If the provost approves the leave, the faculty member and respective chair/director will be notified by the dean. The faculty member will be issued a Leave Agreement and Promissory Note, as well as a new employment contract reflecting the terms of the leave. Faculty receiving approved leave are expected to abide by the terms of the leave agreement.

Eligible faculty may apply for a scholarly leave for one semester at full-pay, two semesters at half-pay, or up to two semesters at no-pay. Faculty must sign a Study-Research/Educational Leave and Promissory Note agreeing to return to the university and serve a period of employment equal to twice the period of leave. If the return-to-work commitment is not honored, the faculty member must reimburse the university for the salary received during the leave period, plus interest, regardless of the source of funds (e.g., E&G, grants, external, etc.). In addition, the faculty member must submit the Scholarly and Educational Leave Reports Form [Google Form] to the Dean’s Office by December 15 (for fall semester leave) or May 15 (for spring semester leave) and is expected to to give a presentation describing the outcomes of their leave project in a public forum.

Note: Acceptance of study-research or educational leave makes the recipient ineligible for other university, College or department financial support, including travel funds.