APS 1024 - Approval of Sabbatical Assignments

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Policy Profile

Policy Title: Approval of Sabbatical Assignments 
APS Number: 10241
Effective: July 20, 2012
Approved by: President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice President Academic Affairs 
Policy Contact: Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, 303-860-5623
Supersedes: Approval of Sabbatical Assignments, April 1, 2008
Last Reviewed/Updated: July 20, 2012
Applies to: University-wide

Policy Snapshot

Brief Description:  Provides procedural details for following Regent Policy 5-A: Approval of Sabbatical Assignments and Regent Law 5.B.3.C and additional information and guidelines to which campus administrators and faculty members can refer.

Reason for Policy:  To comply with Regent Law 5.B.3.C and Regent Policy 5.A.

I.  Introduction

This administrative policy statement provides procedures for implementing Regent Law 5.B.3.C and Regent Policy 5.A. "Approval of Sabbatical Assignments." Administrators responsible for the award of sabbaticals shall be accountable for ensuring compliance with the Regent Laws and Policy on sabbaticals as well as this administrative policy statement.

II.  Policy Statement

  1. A sabbatical is a privilege granted by the university for the advancement of the university, subject to the availability of resources. A sabbatical assignment is an important tool in developing academic scholarship and is a time for concentrated professional development. It is expected that the faculty member will use the sabbatical assignment in a manner that will enhance his/her scholarly and/or teaching competence and potential for leadership and service to the university, as well as to advance departmental program goals.
  2. After six years of service to the university on full-time appointment, a tenured member of the faculty shall become eligible for a sabbatical assignment. In the case of the Anschutz Medical Campus faculty, tenure-eligible and specialty-track faculty members who have attained the rank of associate or full professor are also eligible for sabbatical assignments after six years of full-time service to the university.
  3. A tenured faculty member on an appointment of 50-99% is also eligible for a sabbatical after six years of service, but at a proportional rate of pay (based on the average percentage of FTE appointment over the last six years). In the School of Medicine, faculty members on less than 100% appointments have the interval between sabbaticals adjusted, rather than the salary.

III.  Specific Rules and Procedures Regarding The Award of Sabbaticals

  1. Eligibility. A tenured faculty member shall become eligible for sabbatical assignment after fulfilling the years of service to the university outlined in this administrative policy statement. In order to be eligible for a subsequent sabbatical, a faculty member must file a report on sabbatical activity (described below), must demonstrate that he/she has substantially met the academic goals stated in the previous sabbatical plan (if any), and must serve the university for six more years.
  2. Administrative Time. University administrators are not eligible for sabbaticals. (University policy defines department chairs as faculty, not administrators.) Tenured faculty members who also hold full time administrative positions may only take a sabbatical from their faculty positions after completely relinquishing their administrative position. They may apply for sabbaticals upon return to their faculty positions. Time in administrative appointments counts toward eligibility for faculty sabbaticals.
  3. Calculating Years of Service. In calculating service years for the purpose of sabbatical eligibility, periods of time when a faculty member took an unpaid leave of absence may count, depending on the circumstances and subject to approval by the provost.
  4. Approval Process. Eligible faculty members seeking approval for a sabbatical must submit a plan for the sabbatical. The plan must: (1) describe the project's academic objectives, including its contribution to the faculty member's professional growth and expertise; (2) provide a clear work plan, including all anticipated professional activities; (3) demonstrate the benefit of the proposal's objectives to the academic, clinical, and/or pedagogical goals of the department; (4) specify its contribution to enhancing the university's reputation; and (5) describe its contribution to the educational experience of the students. Each plan must be approved by the department chair, unit head, or an appropriate departmental/unit committee, by the dean of the college/school, and by the provost. In addition, the dean shall be responsible for covering any costs associated with the sabbatical, including teaching replacement expenses. Deans may suspend sabbaticals if funding is not available in the college/school. Faculty members are expected to investigate external funding to support the sabbatical, when such funding is available. If approved, the faculty member's request will be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will ensure that each step of the approval process has met the requirements of this policy. Requests will then be forwarded to the Board of Regents for final approval.

    If a faculty member on sabbatical assignment finds it necessary or desirable to alter substantially the work plan or academic objectives of the sabbatical project, he/she must inform the department chair or dean (as determined by college/school policy) in writing as soon as possible of the reasons for the proposed change and secure the department chair's or dean's written approval for the revised plan. Any change in the time frame of the sabbatical must be sent to the dean and provost for approval.
  5. Sabbatical Reports. By no later than the end of the first semester after returning to regular duties, the faculty member must file a substantive report with the dean describing her/his work and overall accomplishments during the sabbatical. The dean will evaluate the report for conformity with the sabbatical plan. Both the plan for the sabbatical and the post-sabbatical report shall be public documents. Therefore, no proprietary information reflecting intellectual property issues should be included in these documents. Copies of the plan and the report must be kept on file by the appropriate dean. The academic unit shall evaluate the sabbatical report as part of the annual merit evaluation and post-tenure review process.
  6. Sabbatical Data. Deans will maintain annual records of the number of sabbatical requests awarded and the number refused. Chancellors will submit a summary report on all sabbaticals to the Board of Regents annually.
  7. Sabbatical Salary Support. Remuneration (from university resources such as state funding, University administered grants or contracts, or any other university managed sources) for the sabbatical assignment will be as follows: for full-time faculty on nine-month appointments, either full salary for one semester or half salary for two semesters; for full-time faculty on 12-month appointments, either full salary for a period up to six months or half salary for sabbaticals from 6 to 12 months. Stipends for administrative duties, such as chair or center director stipends, are not included in "salary" and shall not be taken into account in calculating the individual's salary while on sabbatical.

    For nine-month faculty members on 50-99% appointments, remuneration shall be pro-rated. For example, a faculty member on a 75% appointment would receive that usual 75% salary for one semester or half of that salary per semester for both semesters. For 12-month faculty on 50-99% appointments, remuneration shall also be pro-rated. For example, a faculty member with a 75% appointment would receive his/her monthly 75% rate salary for up to six months of sabbatical leave. Faculty on leave for 6-12 months would receive half of their usual salary for the term of the sabbatical. For eligible part-time faculty at the Anschutz Medical Campus, the period of the sabbatical may be pro-rated. All information concerning institutional expenses in support of the sabbatical program shall be considered a matter of public record.
  8. External Funding. It is expected that faculty members applying for sabbatical assignments will also apply for external funding (such as fellowships, grants, or clinical work) to the extent that it is available. In the case that the faculty member obtains external funding, whether by grant, contract, award, or other employment, university support will be reduced if the total salary is more than 100% of the current annual salary.
  9. University Duties while on Sabbatical. Normally, the university does not hire its faculty who are on sabbatical to teach courses. Any requested exceptions to this provision or other requirements of this policy will be subject to review and approval by the dean and the provost.
  10. Return from Sabbatical. In accepting a sabbatical assignment, the faculty member shall agree to return to the university upon completion of the sabbatical and work for the university for at least one year thereafter. In case the faculty member is responsible for terminating his/her connection with the university by either not returning from sabbatical or terminating his/her employment within the period of one year after the end of the sabbatical, the individual shall refund the university the amount of the university sabbatical salary support on a pro-rated basis, except in circumstances, such as permanent disability or death, wherein neither the individual nor the heirs shall be obligated to refund any part of the amount paid while the faculty member was on sabbatical. Exceptions, such as for individual retirement agreements, must be approved by the dean and the chancellor or chancellor's designee.
  11. Multiple Sabbaticals in a Unit. In the event that two or more members of a department simultaneously become eligible for sabbatical assignments and it becomes necessary to limit the number of sabbaticals in the department, the selection will be based upon the quality of the sabbatical plan, its immediate relevance to departmental goals, and the length of time since the last sabbatical. Departments may add additional criteria at their discretion. The provost will have the power to resolve special problems of eligibility.

IV.  Guidelines for the Evolution of Sabbatical Proposals that Coincide with  Major Change in Duties

  1. As described in HB 94-1050, the intent of sabbaticals is to maintain a high caliber of faculty by developing and enhancing faculty expertise in teaching and research. Thus, a sabbatical is not primarily a reward for past performance, but a tool for faculty development. The criteria that CU has created for evaluating sabbatical proposals emphasize this faculty development intent.

    The criteria for sabbaticals are clear for faculty members whose careers lie in a particular discipline and whose responsibilities remain fairly constant over time. For those individuals, the reviewing authority can examine the quality of the sabbatical plan and the faculty member's track record to determine the merits of the proposed sabbatical program and its potential contribution to the institution.

    By contrast, in the case of a sabbatical request from faculty members undergoing a significant shift in duties, such as an assigned change in the relative emphasis on teaching and research duties or a change in management responsibilities, the reviewing authority may need to take these changes into account. The criteria below are intended to assist the reviewing authority in evaluating such sabbatical proposals.
    1. Additional Criteria for Sabbaticals Approved at a Time of Significant Shift in Duties.

      Faculty members applying for a sabbatical at or near a time of major change in responsibilities must meet all the established requirements of eligibility, including submission of sabbatical plans. In addition, the plans should contain: (1) descriptions of the changes in duties and expectations created by the faculty members' reassignments; and (2) explicit discussion of how proposed sabbatical activities will enhance the faculty members' abilities to carry out these changed responsibilities for the benefit of their units and the university.

V.  History

  • Initial policy effective April 1, 2008
  • Policy revised July 20, 2012.
  • The term “service” was replaced with the term “leadership and service” effective April 30, 2014 per resolution of the CU Board of Regents.

VI.  Key Words

Sabbatical, faculty, tenure, remuneration, assignments, academic, professional development, scholar, leadership and service

  • 1. The term “service” was replaced with the term “leadership and service” effective April 30, 2014 per resolution of the CU Board of Regents.