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5.05 / Faculty Sabbatical Leave

In strictly meritorious cases, a faculty member who has served continuously for six years or longer may be granted a leave of absence with partial pay for a period up to one year. Wichita State University's policy on sabbatical leaves is based on Board of Regents policy that states, in part, that sabbatical leave may be granted under the following conditions.

In strictly meritorious cases, a full-time faculty member on regular appointment at any of the Regents institutions of higher education who has served continuously for a period of six years or longer at one or more of these institutions, may, at the convenience of the institution and upon the approval of the president or chancellor of the institution with which connected, be granted not to exceed one such leave of absence for each period of regular employment for the purpose of pursuing advanced study, conducting research studies, or securing appropriate industrial or professional experience; such leave shall not be granted for a period of less than one semester nor for a period of more than one year, with reimbursement being made according to the following schedule:

  1. For nine-months faculty, up to half pay for an academic year, or up to full pay for one semester.
  2. For twelve-months faculty, up to half pay for eleven months, or up to full pay for five months.

A faculty member applying for sabbatical leave is required to file an official Application for Sabbatical Leave and sign a Sabbatical Leave Agreement by which he or she agrees to return to Wichita State University for a period of at least one year immediately following expiration of the period of leave. In the event of failure to return, the faculty member agrees to refund all sabbatical pay, or, on failure to remain for at least one year, to refund that portion of sabbatical pay which is in proportion to the amount of time not served as required by the agreement.

Sabbatical leave requests should be prepared on official forms which are available on the Office of Academic Affairs web page. Leave requests are due in the deans' offices no later than the last Friday in September and in the Office of Academic Affairs no later than the second Friday of October of the academic year preceding the proposed leave. Leave requests are then referred to the Faculty Support Committee (FSC), a committee whose charge is to review leave proposals in terms of merit, solicit additional information where needed, and make ranked recommendations to the Provost and Senior Vice President who performs the final evaluation. Each applicant is informed of University action on his/her sabbatical leave request on the third Friday in January.

Procedures and policies established for sabbatical leaves are as follows:

  1. The applicant prints or downloads the WSU Application for Sabbatical Leave and the Board of Regents Sabbatical Leave Agreement form.
  2. Each leave application form is completed in sufficient detail to permit review by the FSC and evaluation by the Provost and Senior Vice President. The application is first submitted to the applicant's chairperson, who transmits the form through his/her dean to the Provost and Senior Vice President for delivery to the FSC.
  3. Recommendations from the chairperson and the dean are included in the application when it is transmitted to the Provost and Senior Vice President. The recommendation must include a statement from the applicant's chairperson or dean concerning provisions to be made for the work load of the applicant during his/her absence. The statement should cover the direction of those graduate students for whom the applicant is the thesis or dissertation advisor. It should also indicate whether any additional expense to the University, apart from sabbatical salary, would occur if the leave were granted. Applications involving such additional costs are not ordinarily approved without special justification.
  4. If the proposed program of work is contingent upon the applicant's receiving additional financial aid from the University, apart from sabbatical salary, or from external sources, details concerning such contingency should be included in the application. The sources from which external support is being sought should be identified and the nature of any services required in connection with the receipt of such support should be related to the purpose of the leave.
  5. No later than 60 days from the first day of classes in the semester of the faculty member's return from sabbatical leave, he or she is required to submit a Final Report on the sabbatical projects. A form for filing this report will be sent to the faculty member early in the semester of his/her return to campus. The completed Final Report is to be submitted, through the chairperson and dean, to the Provost and Senior Vice President. It will be filed in the faculty member's permanent faculty record. If appropriate, the Final Report should include a description of specific plans for sharing the results of the sabbatical leave with the recipient's departmental colleagues or other groups on campus.
The Sabbatical Leave Policy of the Regents system, and Wichita State University in particular, is based on the assumption that such leaves do not occur automatically at stated intervals, but are awarded on merit and are clearly designed to encourage scholarly and professional achievement for the mutual benefit of the faculty member and the University.

The scope of activities that may be undertaken by WSU faculty on sabbatical leaves is quite broad, encompassing not only the traditional purpose of scholarly research, but the more nontraditional purposes of professional development or redevelopment. At WSU, leaves have been granted for advanced study, for specific research projects, for creative projects, for curriculum/instructional development, for residencies to observe the programs and methods of other institutions, for travel related to academic and professional development, for occupational experience designed to enhance professional qualifications, and many other similar purposes. Work toward a graduate degree does not normally qualify as an acceptable program for a sabbatical leave.

Sabbatical leave programs properly serve the interests of the faculty member and the university as a whole. Faculty who have accumulated service with the University benefit from having a period away from normal campus obligations in order to pursue special interests or projects related to their professional lives. The period of renewal offered by such leave also benefits the University, which welcomes back at the conclusion of a successful leave a faculty member with new ideas, enthusiasm, and accomplishments.

The sabbatical leave application process contains some features designed to enhance the probability of successful sabbatical leaves. In the application materials, faculty are asked to demonstrate special aptitude for their proposed projects, indicating previous professional or scholarly work related to the area of activity proposed for the leave. Sufficient documentation must be presented to enable the University to conclude that the goals of the leave probably will be accomplished and that the project cannot be completed without such a leave.

A particular concern of the University is the difficulty of granting leaves to faculty in small departments. A disproportionate negative effect may be felt by students and colleagues when a faculty member who is the only person with programmatic expertise needed on a regular basis by the department takes a sabbatical or other type of leave. Faculty in small departments, therefore, need to plan their leaves in advance, and obtain assurance from their department and college that arrangements can be made to cover their responsibilities while absent. As previously indicated, Regents policy limits the number of sabbatical leaves in any fiscal year to not more than four percent of the equivalent full-time faculty with rank of instructor or higher. The University further stipulates that the number of leaves in any fiscal year may not be so great in any department, division, or college, or on the campus as a whole, as to disrupt the continued and regular course offerings, or to affect the quality of education offered to the students. Final approval of the sabbatical leave for a faculty member being reviewed for continuous tenure is contingent upon the awarding of tenure. Questions regarding the sabbatical leave policies and procedures of the University may be addressed to the Provost and Senior Vice President.

Effective Date:
December 9, 2015 

Effective Date:
March 18, 2016

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