Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter IV: Faculty Personnel Rules and Procedures of UW-River Falls

4.12 Faculty Sabbatical Procedures

4.12.1 Purpose

The purpose of the faculty sabbatical program is to enable recipients to be engaged in intensive study in order to become more effective teachers and scholars and to enhance their services to the University. The sabbatical program should also be understood as recognition of past and continuing academic contributions of the recipients in keeping with the Select Mission of UW-River Falls.

4.12.2 Types

Two types of sabbatical leaves are available to faculty members.

4.12.2.1 One Year

A faculty member may take a sabbatical leave for an academic year and receive from the institution financial support at any level up to 65% of his or her full compensation for that period.

4.12.2.2 One Semester

A faculty member may take a sabbatical leave for one semester of the academic year and receive from the institution financial support at any level up to a maximum of his or her full compensation for that period.

4.12.3 Eligibility

4.12.3.1 Criteria

At the time the sabbatical proposal is submitted, the faculty member must have met the following criteria:

  1. The faculty member is tenured at the time of application.
  2. The faculty member has completed at least five years since the conclusion of his or her last sabbatical leave.
  3. The faculty member has completed at least six full years of employment at UWRF as a probationary/tenured faculty member.
  4. If the faculty member has taken a leave of absence, for whatever reason, the leave period shall be excluded in determining the faculty member's years of full-time service.

4.12.3.2 Requirement to Return to UWRF

A sabbatical will not be awarded to a faculty member who does not plan to return to UWRF for at least one academic year of service after the termination of the sabbatical.

4.12.4 Requirements

[FS 04/05-30document] Each applicant shall complete the Sabbatical Proposal Form, which describes the proposed sabbatical in complete, clear, and specific terms, including each of the following items:

  1. An abstract of 100 words or less summarizing the objectives of the proposal.
  2. The nature and objectives of the proposed sabbatical program, including a detailed account of proposed sabbatical activities.
  3. The relationship of the proposed sabbatical to the applicant’s field of expertise is to be demonstrated, and as appropriate, supported by references to the vita and other documentation.
  4. The anticipated contribution of the proposed sabbatical to the enhancement of teaching and/or course and curriculum development at UW-River Falls, which may or may not include the relationship of the sabbatical program to the research interests of the applicant.
  5. The proposed period and/or schedule of sabbatical, including a time line which shows when the work will be done.
  6. A copy of the personal vita which must include evidence of excellence in teaching and of the academic contributions made by the individual. If possible, submit an electronic version of the vita to FASDB@uwrf.edumail. If the proposal is approved, an electronic vita will be required.
  7. A transmittal form signed by the department chair and the Dean acknowledging their support of the sabbatical.
  8. Letters confirming the existence of a proposed relationship, travel/residence, or outside institutional commitment germane to the sabbatical proposal, if any, should be included. Letters of support from colleagues, department chairs, Deans, or others are not to be included in the proposal and will not be considered by the committee in its deliberations.
  9. Applicants should submit seven copies to the Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, 104 North Hall.

4.12.5 Conditions

The following conditions govern the faculty sabbatical program:

  1. In the administration of faculty sabbaticals, creditable service for retirement purposes will vary, depending on the length of the sabbatical and level of compensation. A faculty member considering a sabbatical leave request should consult with the institutional fringe benefit coordinator prior to submitting a formal request.
  2. A faculty member may receive supplementary grants or other awards while on sabbatical leave, but such compensation, when combined with the amount of institutional compensation, shall not exceed the full compensation normally received from the UW System for that period.
  3. Such additional grants or awards may be received by a faculty member only if the conditions for accepting the additional resources do not interfere with the stated purpose of a faculty member's sabbatical program.
  4. A faculty member may seek additional grants specifically for travel or unusual living expenses incident to the sabbatical program without restriction by the full compensation maximum (see condition 2).
  5. A faculty member may not use the sabbatical period to accept other paid employment during the period of the leave, unless stipulated as a condition of the leave. If so stipulated, condition (2) is operative.
  6. A faculty member must specify all grants or other awards applied for or to be received during the leave in his or her application for the sabbatical program.
  7. A faculty member must agree to return to UWRF for at least one academic year of service after the termination of the sabbatical or repay any compensation (salary plus the University's share of fringe benefits) received from the UW System during the sabbatical.
  8. A faculty member must submit to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs a written report outlining his or her accomplishments during the leave. This report should be submitted within three months after the faculty member's return to full-time employment.

4.12.6 Selection of Sabbatical Leave Recipients

  1. Call: The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall notify the faculty of the availability of sabbatical leave each March and shall call for applications for the leave period beginning 18 months hence. The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall make explicit in the call that funds for sabbaticals are limited. In addition, any financial exigencies which might indicate preference for year-long as opposed to semester-long sabbaticals must be announced with the call. If no such exigencies are announced then all proposals must be evaluated, and sabbaticals awarded, without preference to one period over another.
  2. Following this notification, applicants should submit application in accordance with the requirements set forth above. Proposals are due no later than October 1 of the year preceding the proposed sabbatical period. One copy of the proposal and supporting documents should be submitted to the applicant's department chair, one copy to the applicant's academic Dean, and eight copies to the office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. A transmittal form must be signed by the appropriate department chair and Dean and be submitted with the copies sent to the office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Transmittal forms are available from the office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall conduct the initial screening for eligibility defined under Eligibility: 4.12.1.3 (1) (a)-(d).
  3. The Faculty Professional Development Committee of the Faculty/Academic Staff Development Board serves as the review board for sabbatical proposals.
  4. The committee shall be convened by the Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who will review with the committee the purpose of the sabbatical program and the evaluation/selection process to be followed.
  5. At its final meeting, the committee shall discuss the proposals and then rank them on a written ballot. The committee shall communicate their rankings of the proposals to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or representative. Included in this report shall be such information as the committee determines may be helpful to unsuccessful applicants who may wish to apply at a later time.
  6. During the first two weeks of November, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Deans, and the Chancellor shall review the recommendations of the Faculty Professional Development Committee, shall make the final selection, and shall notify the applicants of the status of their applications. The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will implement the granting of awards based on the committee's recommendations and within budget limitations. The rationale for any changes from the Faculty Professional Development Committee would be sent to the chair of the committee by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
  7. The Chancellor shall communicate his or her selections, in writing, to System Administration by November 15th for formal announcement at the December meeting of the Board of Regents.
  8. Evaluation: The criteria to be applied by the committee are as follows:
    1. The candidate must meet the minimum eligibility requirements.
    2. All forms of sabbatical activity are valid. That is, preference may not be given to one particular form of activity (research, publication) over another (travel, creative, course development). Proposals are to be evaluated on their merits.
    3. Preference shall be given to those candidates who have made significant academic contributions to the University. Academic contributions include those activities normally recognized in decisions of promotion and tenure: quality of teaching, scholarly activity, and service to the University and the wider community. The committee shall refer to the vita for evidence of academic contributions. For candidates who have not received a previous sabbatical, the time period for purposes of evaluation shall be the candidate’s full length of employment at this University. For candidates who have received a previous sabbatical, the candidate should submit, and the committee will consider, only contributions made since the completion of the previous sabbatical. [FS 04/05-30document]
    4. After candidates have been evaluated on the basis of their academic contributions the committee shall evaluate the merits of the specific sabbatical proposals. This evaluation shall judge the extent to which the proposal clearly follows the guidelines for proposals as specified under Proposal Requirements 4.12.1.4 (1)-(9).
    5. The Committee shall use an evaluation form approved by the Faculty Senate to ensure the following:
      (i) 65% of the overall evaluation shall be based on the candidate's record of academic contributions to the University, and
      (ii) 35% shall be based on the merits of the sabbatical proposal.

NOTE: WRS Retirement Credit--Creditable service for retirement is based on the percentage of time a person is on the payroll. For more specific information, contact the Staff Benefits Office in the Human Resources Office. For further information regarding the UW System Sabbatical Program, see UW System Academic Planning  Statement #3.3 and Wisconsin Statutes 36.11(17).


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