APS #1024

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Approval of Tenured Faculty Sabbatical Assignments

Brief Description

Provides procedures for the approval of tenured faculty sabbatical assignments, as required by regent policy 5.C and Colorado law.

Reason for Policy

To comply with Regent Policy 5.C – Faculty Appointments and section 23-5-123, C.R.S.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
Approval of Tenured Faculty Sabbatical Assignments
APS Number: 
Effective Date: 
February 1, 2024
Approved By: 
President Todd Saliman
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Office of Academic Affairs
Policy Contact: 
Office of Academic Affairs
Approval of Sabbatical Assignments, July 1, 2020
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
February 1, 2024
Applies to: 
All campuses

I. Introduction

This administrative policy statement (APS) provides procedures for the approval of tenured faculty sabbatical assignments, as required by Regent Policy 5.C.2 – Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Appointments. This policy is applicable to tenured faculty only with some exceptions at the Anschutz Medical Campus (see section II.B). Administrators responsible for the award of tenured faculty sabbaticals shall be accountable for ensuring compliance with regent policy on sabbaticals as well as this APS.

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 shall use the sabbatical assignment in a manner that shall enhance their scholarly and/or teaching competence and potential for leadership and service to the university, as well as to advance the primary unit's 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 track 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 may have the interval between sabbaticals adjusted, rather than the salary.

III.  Procedures

  1. Eligibility.  Tenured faculty, and other faculty members specified in Regent Policy 5.C.2 - Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Appointments, are eligible to apply for a sabbatical after six years of service to the university.  Eligible faculty members may apply for subsequent sabbaticals after at least six years of additional service to the university, must have filed a report on sabbatical activity (described below), and must demonstrate that they have substantially met the academic goals stated in the previous sabbatical plan.
  2. Administrative Time.  University administrators are not eligible for faculty sabbaticals.  (University policy defines department chairs as faculty, not administrators.) Tenured faculty members who also hold full time administrative positions may only take a faculty 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. Sabbatical Plan. Eligible faculty members seeking approval for a sabbatical shall submit a plan for the sabbatical. The plan shall include the following information:
    1. Dates of sabbatical;
    2. Plan for coverage of current academic responsibilities and replacement of teaching expenses;
    3. Plan for coverage of all other current responsibilities (any responsibilities to be retained while on leave must be documented and agreed to by supervisor and others as appropriate; these may include administrative responsibilities, research grants and/or clinical service);
    4. Remuneration plan for sabbatical (includes source of funds, identification of expenses to be reimbursed and manner in which reimbursement is to occur);
    5. Statement of available external funding sources and attempts to obtain such funding;
    6. Description of the sabbatical’s academic objectives, including its contribution to the faculty member’s professional growth and expertise;
    7. Description of a clear work plan, including all anticipated professional activities;
    8. Demonstration of the benefit of the proposal’s objectives to the academic, clinical, and/or pedagogical goals of the primary unit;
    9. Specification of the sabbatical’s contribution to enhancing the university’s reputation; and
    10. Description of the sabbatical’s contribution to the educational experience of the students.
  5. Approval Process. Each plan shall be subject to approval by the department chair, unit head, or an appropriate primary unit committee; by the dean of the college/school; and by the provost. If approved, the faculty member's request shall be forwarded to the vice president for academic affairs, who shall ensure that each step of the approval process has met the requirements of this policy. Requests shall then be forwarded to the Board of Regents for final approval.
  6. Sabbatical Salary Support. The dean of the school/college shall ensure that the costs associated with the sabbatical are covered, including teaching replacement expenses1.  The dean may suspend a sabbatical if funding is not available in the school/college.  Remuneration (from university resources such as state funding, university administered grants or contracts, or any other university managed sources) for the sabbatical assignment shall 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, six months full salary or half salary for sabbaticals of 6 to 12 months duration.  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 their monthly 75% rate salary for up to six months of sabbatical leave. Faculty on leave for 6 to 12 months shall 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.
  7. External Funding. Faculty members applying for sabbatical assignments shall apply for external funding (such as fellowships, grants, or clinical work) when appropriate. The total university salary to the faculty member, from sabbatical pay and any contract or grant administered through the university, shall not exceed university limits. There is no restriction on additional non-university income, subject to the faculty member satisfying the duties of the sabbatical plan and any contract/grant requirements.
  8. 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 shall be subject to review and approval by the dean and the provost.
  9. Changes to Sabbatical Plan.  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, they shall 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 shall be sent to the dean and provost for approval.
  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 two semesters for 9-month faculty and one year for 12-month faculty. Under circumstances in which the faculty member voluntarily terminates their connection with the university within the period of one year after the end of the sabbatical, the individual shall refund the university the amount of the sabbatical salary support provided by the university on a pro-rated basis. This requirement shall be exempted under extraordinary circumstances, such as permanent disability or death of the faculty member, 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. Any exceptions, such as for individual retirement agreements, shall require approval by the dean and the chancellor or chancellor's designee.
  11. Sabbatical Reports. By no later than the end of the first semester after returning to regular duties, the faculty member shall file a substantive report with their dean describing their work and overall accomplishments during the sabbatical. The dean shall 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 shall be kept on file by the appropriate dean. The primary unit shall evaluate the sabbatical report as part of the annual merit evaluation and post-tenure review process.
  12. Multiple Sabbaticals in a Unit. In the event that two or more members of a primary unit simultaneously become eligible for sabbatical assignments and it becomes necessary to limit the number of sabbaticals in the unit, the selection shall be based upon the quality of the sabbatical plan, its immediate relevance to unit goals, and the length of time since the applicant’s last sabbatical. Primary units may add additional criteria at their discretion. The provost shall have the power to resolve special problems of eligibility.
  13. Sabbatical Data. Deans shall maintain annual records of the number of sabbatical requests awarded and the number refused. Chancellors shall submit a summary report on all sabbaticals to the Board of Regents annually.

    1On the Anschutz Medical Campus, approval of a sabbatical may be conditioned on the faculty member identifying funds to support the sabbatical salary and costs.

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

  1. As described in section 23-5-123, C.R.S., 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 the university 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 member's reassignments; and (2) explicit discussion of how proposed sabbatical activities shall enhance the faculty member's abilities to carry out these changed responsibilities for the benefit of their units and the university.

V.  History

  • Adopted:  April 1, 2008.
  • 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; July 11, 2016; July 1, 2020 (References to regent policy updated and references to Colorado statute added.  Additional updates contain only the minimal changes needed to implement the Regent-approved changes to Article 5: Faculty and Policy 5: Faculty); February 1, 2024 – reviewed and retitled.
  • Last Reviewed:  February 1, 2024.