The sabbatical leave program is intended to maintain and improve the quality of the educational programs of Illinois State University by creating opportunities for full-time tenure-line faculty to acquire new methods and techniques, to broaden outlooks, and to improve professional competency and stature through research and other professional development activities.
A sabbatical leave program is a critical expectation of full-time tenure-line faculty of a comprehensive University. Sabbatical leaves are awarded to individual full-time tenure-line faculty members in order to assist them in maintaining and improving their professional knowledge, ability, and skill. Such leaves are not automatically granted to individuals upon completion of a stated period of service. Each application will be judged on the basis of the benefit which will accrue to the individual’s professional development and to the University. Each application will be accompanied by a detailed description of the sabbatical leave project, and projects shall be evaluated primarily on the basis of merit and promise in scholarly or creative productivity or in enhancing teaching productivity, and overall contribution to the University’s academic mission or enterprise.
Whether sabbatical leaves can be granted in any given year will depend upon the financial situation of the University. The final judgment as to whether any sabbatical leaves can be provided in a given year is the responsibility of the President, based upon the recommendation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (Provost) and the Deans of the individual colleges.
Eligibility for Sabbatical
The President of the University approves the recommendations that full-time tenure-line faculty members be granted sabbatical leaves subject to the following conditions:
- Sabbatical leaves to be granted each year shall be limited to one out of every twenty-five full-time academic employees as defined in Policy 3.1.1, Categories of University Staff, or major fraction thereof. Sabbatical leaves for two full-time tenure-line faculty members each of a half-year duration (or four full-time faculty members each of a quarter-year duration for Milner faculty) are considered a single sabbatical leave for the purpose of calculating this ratio.
- A full-time tenure-line faculty member is eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave in the faculty member’s sixth academic year of full-time employment for leave in the subsequent academic year. A full-time tenure-line faculty member eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave may continue to apply until a sabbatical leave is awarded. The full-time tenure-line faculty member is eligible to apply for their next sabbatical leave in the sixth academic year of full-time employment following the preceding sabbatical leave. No full-time tenure-line faculty member may have more than one sabbatical leave for every seven academic years of employment (for exceptions see Eligibility for Sabbatical, Sections (c) and (d)). Any full-time tenure-line faculty member who received credit for prior service at another institution in their initial tenure designation may count the prior service towards the six years of required full-time employment used for purposes of determining eligibility for sabbatical leave.
- An exception to the timetable in (b) may be made by the Department/School or appropriate unit supervisor in the case of a full-time tenure-line faculty member who has been requested by the University to defer for one year an awarded sabbatical leave for the convenience of the University. If that full-time tenure-line faculty member accepts the deferral request, they will be eligible to apply for another sabbatical leave six academic years from the completion date of the originally requested sabbatical leave. Such sabbatical leave deferrals shall be endorsed by the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor (after consultation with the Department/School or appropriate unit), and the Dean. The Provost must approve in writing and confirm agreements for deferral of sabbatical leaves for the convenience of the University.
- In rare circumstances, a full-time tenure-line faculty member who has been awarded a sabbatical may request to defer for one year an awarded sabbatical leave on grounds of unforeseen, documentable circumstances beyond the faculty’s control (e.g., FMLA, disruptions that endanger the safety and well-being of the faculty member at the approved sabbatical site, political strife, natural disaster, cancellation of contracted arrangements with an external agency necessary for the successful completion of the sabbatical). If the sabbatical deferral request is approved, the full-time tenure-line faculty member shall be eligible to apply for another sabbatical leave six academic years from the completion date of the originally requested sabbatical leave. Such sabbatical leave deferral requests shall be endorsed by the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor (after consultation with the Department/School or appropriate unit), and the Dean. The Provost must approve in writing and confirm agreements for deferral of sabbatical leaves due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Chairpersons/School Directors are eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave in the fifth year of full-time service in that capacity for sabbatical leave in the subsequent academic year. For additional information, consult Policy 3.3.6 , Academic Department Chairperson/School Director Responsibilities, Appointment, Compensation, and Evaluation.
- Should circumstances require a full-time tenure-line faculty member to decline an awarded sabbatical, they will be immediately eligible to submit a proposal in the following year. However, a proposal must be submitted and reviewed; an awarded sabbatical cannot be carried over to another academic year. This process would not apply if a sabbatical is deferred after the University’s approval under Section (c) or Section (d).
Faculty members and other academic employees wishing to complete a degree and/or add an additional academic credential, should consult Policy 3.1.11 Leave of Absence regarding educational leaves. Administrative/Professional personnel wishing to complete a degree and/or add an additional academic credential, should consult Policy 3.4.8 Educational Leave, Administrative/Professional Personnel.
Sabbatical Length of Leave and Leave Compensation
The timing and period of the sabbatical leave shall be left to the discretion of the President. In general, the sabbatical leave and compensation should meet the following requirements:
- Length of Sabbatical Leave:
- The total sabbatical leave period may not exceed the length of the faculty member’s standard appointment (nine months in the case of most faculty; twelve months in the case of Milner faculty). For faculty on nine-month academic year appointments, summer appointments are in addition to, and do not change, the length of their standard nine-month appointment.
- Academic employees on standing, non-administrative twelve-month contracts (i.e., Milner faculty) are eligible to apply for a three-, six-, or twelve-month sabbatical leave.
- The total sabbatical leave period for a Chairperson/School Director may not exceed a period of 4.5 months of full-time employment or its equivalent.
- Sabbatical Compensation: Unless an exception applies, the total sabbatical leave salary payable by Illinois State University may not exceed 50% of the Institutional Base Salary (IBS) in effect for the standard appointment during the sabbatical leave period as the term IBS is defined in Policy 3.2.11, Employment in Excess of Full-Time Appointment. Please note the IBS does not include supplemental compensation or other additional pay. For example:
- For faculty on standard nine-month academic year appointments, this is the equivalent of four and one-half months’ pay at the monthly salary rate in effect during the sabbatical leave period.
- For Milner faculty on twelve-month appointments, this is the equivalent of six months’ pay at the monthly salary rate in effect during the sabbatical leave period or, in the case of a three-month leave, three months’ pay at the monthly rate in effect during the sabbatical leave period.
- Although the general rule uses the 50% IBS salary leave cap, for Chairpersons/School Directors on twelve-month appointments, the total salary leave cap for sabbaticals will be the equivalent of four and one-half months’ pay at the monthly salary rate in effect during the sabbatical leave period.
- Sabbatical Compensation Exceptions:
- When a full-time tenure-line faculty member receives a grant, fellowship, scholarship, or other professional income from an external funding source that is directly related to the focus of the sabbatical project, that person may accept the income in addition to the faculty member’s sabbatical leave pay (50% of the faculty member’s IBS described in Section (b)), provided that the faculty member’s total rate of leave compensation does not exceed the faculty member’s normal monthly salary rate (100% of IBS).
- A full-time tenure-line faculty member may receive funds to cover expenses from external funding sources that include, but are not limited to, travel and extended residence at venues, research centers, institutes, or facilities that provide for housing, per diem, travel to and from the location of the sabbatical, or other leave-related expenses from awards and other external sources. These expenses will not be considered as income for purposes of calculating the faculty member’s sabbatical leave pay under Section (b) or Section (c)(1). Such external support for expenses related to the approved sabbatical leave project should be addressed in the proposal and be approved before (whenever possible) the sabbatical leave is granted.
- If, during a sabbatical leave, a full-time tenure-line faculty member secures secondary or outside employment, as that term is defined in Policy 3.3.7, Secondary/Outside Employment, the full-time tenure-line faculty member is required to disclose and obtain approval for such employment as required under Policy 3.3.7.
Sabbatical Proposals & Approvals
A complete proposal for sabbatical leave shall be submitted with a Leave of Absence Request PERS 917 form to the appropriate Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor no later than September 15 of the academic year preceding the leave. Each application shall be evaluated by the DFSC/SFSC based on the benefit which will accrue to the full-time tenure-line faculty member’s professional development and to the University. The Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor will forward all applications and recommendations to the Dean in priority order. The appropriate college committee will review all submitted applications and make recommendations to the Dean. The Dean will submit their recommendations to the Provost in priority order. The Provost will review applications as ranked by the Deans. The President grants final approval following review and recommendations by the Provost.
The proposal shall contain the following:
- A description of the proposed leave, including:
- Purpose and design of projects and activities
- Time schedule
- End product (outcomes)
- The contribution of the sabbatical leave to the employee’s professional development and to their discipline(s) or profession.
- The significance of the proposal to University, College, and programmatic goals (address specific goals).
- The contribution of the outcome of the sabbatical leave to the professional stature of the University.
- A professional vita.
- A copy of the written summary report filed from the last sabbatical leave if the faculty member has previously received a sabbatical leave.
Scholarly work is a dynamic enterprise, and sometimes opportunities arise, or developments occur that justifiably could change a faculty member’s goals and plans for a sabbatical leave after their proposal submission. Changes to a sabbatical proposal, including changes of semester (Fall vs. Spring) or length, may be requested by submitting a revised proposal to the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor at least three months prior to the originally planned start date of the sabbatical leave. Discussion of the proposed changes between the faculty member and the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor prior to submission of an updated proposal is encouraged. The Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor will forward the revised proposal to the Dean with a recommendation to approve the change or not, with a rationale. Deans will similarly forward revised proposals, their recommendations, and the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor recommendation to the Provost. The Provost will inform all parties whether the revised proposal is approved.
Priority categories in order of importance are given below (depending upon the faculty member’s University assignment, the first priority criterion would ordinarily be either item 1 or 2 below). A project with external funding will be given special consideration for the items below.
- A project which will result in scholarly or creative productivity.
- A project designed to enhance performance in teaching. Such projects must include a well-developed professional development plan for enhancement of specific pedagogical and scholarly knowledge, ability, and skill, with clearly delineated outcomes of benefit to the individual and the University. Proposals to update or develop a course or set of courses (including a program) will not be approved.
- A project designed to enhance performance in other major University activities such as professional service or administration.
Criteria to be Used in Evaluating Sabbatical Leave Proposals
The following criteria will be considered in evaluating sabbatical leave proposals:
- Contribution of the sabbatical leave to the professional development of the faculty member.
- Anticipated significance or impact of the proposed outcomes of the sabbatical leave for the faculty member’s scholarly discipline(s) or pedagogical effectiveness.
- Significance of the proposal to University goals.
- Contribution to the professional stature of the University.
- Ability, assessed by past performance, to complete the proposal.
- Convenience to the University, except that a faculty member cannot be refused on this basis alone more than three successive years.
- A longer time elapsed since last sabbatical.
- Priority consideration will be given to faculty members with tenure. A letter from the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor to the Dean and to the Provost regarding future tenure status of the faculty member must be accompanied by all sabbatical leave requests submitted by probationary tenure-track faculty. Ordinarily, probationary tenure-track faculty members may apply for sabbatical leave during the final year of their probationary periods, assuming all other eligibility criteria are met. Any awards of sabbatical leaves to such probationary tenure-track faculty are made contingent on the award of tenure.
Faculty Obligations Upon Completion of Sabbatical
An individual granted a sabbatical leave assumes a professional obligation to return to the University for a period of at least two full regular academic semesters (i.e., Fall and Spring semesters) after that individual’s sabbatical leave. Individuals who fail to return to the University for at least two full regular academic semesters after a sabbatical leave agree to reimburse the University for any salary and expenses paid by the University during the sabbatical leave. Any unexpected occurrences (such as FMLA or disability leaves) that may have an impact on fulfilling these terms will be handled internally according to University policy and procedures.
Within six contract months of the completion of a sabbatical leave, a faculty member must file a written report summarizing the goals and objectives of the sabbatical leave, a description of the sabbatical activities and accomplishments, and a listing of the resulting publications when applicable. The report will also include supporting documentation of the faculty member’s activities and accomplishments. This report shall be incorporated into the individual’s evaluation for salary increases, promotion and tenure at the time of the next evaluation for such purposes following completion of the sabbatical leave, and consideration for future sabbatical leaves. Such reports and accompanying documentation are to be submitted to the Chairperson/School Director or appropriate unit supervisor (to be shared with the DFSC/SFSC) and to the Dean. The college office shall retain sabbatical leave reports. Because scholarly work during a sabbatical leave might produce outcomes for a number of years thereafter, faculty are encouraged to highlight sabbatical-related outcomes and contributions in the materials they submit for subsequent performance evaluations and promotion applications.