Sabbatical Leave Policies and Procedures
(Faculty Handbook updated June 1, 2017)

Guidance from the Faculty Research Committee for preparing your Sabbatical Application

Sabbatical Application Form: PDF and MS WORD



What is the rationale for a sabbatical system?

Sabbatical leaves are a form of faculty development involving relief from university duties for a semester or an academic year.  When the University grants a sabbatical, it is making an investment in the development of its human resources and, in fact, its most critical resource.  What the university expects to receive in return is a better, more productive faculty member. 

What is the procedure for requesting a sabbatical leave?

  1. You must complete a sabbatical application form, forms offered above, under "Guidance from the Faculty Research Committee....."  Then submit it to your Department Chair and Dean for review.  
    • Your signed application must be submitted to your Department Chair by September 15 of the year prior to the contract year in which you seek the sabbatical.  The Department Chair will review the application, make a recommendation and submit it, in turn, to the Dean by September 22.
    • Please submit an electronic copy in one document to  If you encounter problems opening the application form, please call Linda Walsh ext. 7520.
  2. After approval by the Dean, the application will be sent to the Research Committee whose members will review the applications in the order in which they are received beginning in late September. 

At any stage during the review process, the application may be returned to the faculty member for clarification or more information.

Faculty Research Committee recommendations will be completed by November 30 and sent to the Provost for action.  The Provost will notify each faculty member of the decision by the end of the semester.

What kinds of activities are considered legitimate professional development during a sabbatical leave?

A sabbatical proposal may concentrate on either research or curriculum development.

A scholarly/research project should be a substantial undertaking generally related to the faculty member's continuing research interests.  Typically, the project will result in significant scholarly publication, production of a major grant proposal, or the creation of some similar acceptable product.

A curriculum development project should make a clear contribution to the instructional program in the faculty member's area of teaching competence.  The project will often be an outgrowth of some recognized departmental need.  The work must be more than just an updating of one's course notes, something which every faculty member is expected to do on a continuing basis.

What do the reviewers look for in the proposal?

Reviewers of the sabbatical application are looking at the proposal from two points of view:

  1. The quality of the proposal is reviewed.  Is the proposal dealing with a substantial topic, one which merits release from all other duties?  Has the proposer adequately spelled out the details of how the work is to be accomplished, and what the intended outcome is?    If publication is an intended outcome, is the intended medium appropriate to the faculty member's scholarly discipline? Can the project realistically be completed within the sabbatical time frame?
    • With respect to this aspect of the review, it should be noted that sabbatical proposals are sometimes returned to the faculty member for clarification or expansion before the review is completed.
  2. Is the sabbatical leave feasible from a departmental point of view?  Can the department's schedule accommodate the sabbatical?  Have adequate provisions been made for covering the faculty member's normal responsibilities?

It is important to remember that a sabbatical leave is not automatically granted, but is based on a demonstrated plan for significant professional development.

May I teach at another university during my sabbatical?

Teaching at another university is viewed as an acceptable activity during a sabbatical only to the extent that it satisfies the goal of providing a significant professional development opportunity.  For example, teaching an advanced seminar might be an excellent contribution to the faculty member's development if it required special preparation or exposed the faculty member to an unusually challenging audience.  On the other hand, simply teaching much the same thing at another institution as would be taught here would not be viewed as acceptable.

What do I do about committee assignments and other university commitments if I receive a sabbatical leave?

In preparing a sabbatical proposal, a faculty member is usually faced with the question of what to do about continuing commitments at the University other than regular classroom teaching, for example, serving on committees or in administrative roles as department chair or program director, supervising student teachers.  Faculty often offer to continue with such activities during their sabbatical leaves.  However, faculty are strongly encouraged to disengage themselves from these responsibilities so as to devote full time to their sabbatical activities.

Can I change the timing and/or duration of my approved sabbatical?

You are strongly urged to make every effort to take your sabbatical leave in the time frame for which you received approval.  In order to approve your sabbatical, there were many schedule arrangements which needed to be in place to cover your classes and other University responsibilities.  However, if it proves impossible for you to stay with your original plan, you must gain approval from your Department Chair, Dean, and the Provost/VPAA to change the leave.  Such a change is problematic and no assurance can be provided that it will be granted.

What should be contained in the final sabbatical activity report?

At the conclusion of the sabbatical, a faculty member is required to submit a report of activities and accomplishments to the Provost.  The report will typically be a relative brief narrative which outlines the faculty member's accomplishments, accompanied by products developed during the sabbatical.  In the case of a research project, the attachments might be drafts of journal articles, chapters in a book, or a grant proposal.  In the case of a curriculum development project, the attachments may be new or substantially revised syllabi, new student workbooks or lab projects, or some similar product.  Note that a subsequent sabbatical will not be approved if a report of the previous sabbatical(s) is(are) not on file.