Faculty Handbook

Appendix E. Sabbatical Leave Procedures

1. Philosophy of Sabbatical Leaves

Sabbatical leaves are not a fringe benefit and are not automatically granted. The purpose of sabbatical leaves is to give faculty a respite from their normal duties in order to facilitate their exploration of professional avenues which performance of their normal duties would prevent. Faculty are encouraged to leave the Houghton area, develop contacts with other academic institutions, research institutes, businesses, or government agencies as part of the sabbatical. These encouragements are in keeping with the philosophy underlying sabbatical leaves. They are, however, not required.

2. Eligibility

In order to be eligible for a sabbatical leave, a faculty member must have (1) been granted tenure at the University, and (2) served for at least six years as a faculty member at the University. Eligibility for subsequent sabbatical leaves requires a minimum of six years to pass since the completion of the previous sabbatical leave.

3. Guidelines

In order to be considered for a sabbatical, faculty must prepare a sabbatical leave proposal, using the current guide for preparation of applications as provided and approved by the Sabbatical Leave Committee. Copies of the guide will be available in printed and on-line form at the Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development (or successor unit), and from the Chair of the Sabbatical Leave Committee.

Sabbatical leave will be approved only under these conditions:

  1. The faculty member agrees to perform no substantive duties at Michigan Tech, including both instruction, and committee work and administrative functions at the department, school, college, and university level. Graduate student committee work is specifically excluded from this prohibition.
  2. The proposed leave is for at least one full semester.
  3. The faculty member agrees to return to Michigan Tech after the leave, subject to exceptions approved by the President under Board of Trustees policy.
  4. The faculty member agrees to provide a written report at the end of the sabbatical leave.
  5. The faculty member has provided the written report for the previous sabbatical leave (if any).

4. Compensation

Michigan Tech will compensate the faculty member on sabbatical leave as follows:

  Duration of Leave Salary in Sabbatical Leave Year
  1 Semester 100% of Academic Year Salary
  2 Semesters 67% of Academic Year Salary

Note: Most faculty are on nine-month appointments. For those who are not on nine-month appointments, academic year salary is what their salary would be if they were on normal, nine-month appointments. Pay for administrative duties is not part of a normal, nine-month faculty salary.

Faculty agree to adhere to Board Policy 6.7 Sabbatical Leave regarding full time employment and funding from fellowships, grants or other sources during the course of the sabbatical. University funds under discretionary control of the faculty member, but not general university funds, may be used to subsidize travel as described in the sabbatical leave proposal.

Any funds "released" by an individual faculty member's sabbatical leave (i.e. the remaining 33% of a full-year's leave) will be left in control of the individual academic unit.

5. Fringe benefits

During the period when a faculty member is on sabbatical leave:

  1. Insurance benefits remain the same as when actively employed on campus.
  2. TIAA/CREF retirement plan contributions and social security are paid on the salary received.
  3. Contributions to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System, in accordance with MPSERS policy, are discontinued. Service time will be purchased by the University upon completion of one year service after return from leave.
  4. Sick leave does not accrue.

6. Application Procedure

  1. The individual faculty member begins the process by sending to the individual's immediate supervisor a written statement of intent to submit a proposal for sabbatical leave.
  2. The applicant for sabbatical leave writes a sabbatical leave proposal using the preparation guide of Section 3 above.
  3. The applicant presents the sabbatical leave proposal to the applicant's department chair or school dean.
  4. The department chair or school dean
  1. writes a recommendation, with advice from the faculty as described in the charter of the department or school;
  2. forwards the proposal with the recommendation (even if the recommendation is negative) to the University Sabbatical Leave Committee;
  3. sends copies of the proposal and recommendation for informational purposes to the Provost and if applicable to the college dean;
  4. sends a copy of the recommendation to the applicant.
  1. The University Sabbatical Leave Committee reviews proposals. The Committee may suggest modifications to the proposal, if appropriate, and the applicant may submit a modified proposal directly to the Committee.
  2. The Committee makes recommendations to the President on all applications for sabbatical leave.
  3. The President will notify each applicant as to whether the sabbatical leave has been granted. The President will send copies of the notification to the chair or school dean of the applicant, and to the college dean if applicable. The President will send the proposal, recommendations, and notification to the Provost for deposition in the academic record file of the applicant.

7. Appeals

See Section 8.1 Grievance Policy.

8. Timing

Everyone involved in the sabbatical leave approval process should act in a timely manner. Even though plans for sabbatical leaves sometimes do not solidify until rather late in the academic year, applicants should begin the process as early as possible.

Applications received after March 15 will be less likely to be approved.

9. Changes in Approved Sabbatical Leaves

Once a sabbatical leave has been approved, any substantive changes in the faculty member's sabbatical plans, including changes while the leave is underway, must be submitted in writing and approved by the faculty member's supervisor, the University Sabbatical Leave Committee, and the President. The final decision on approval of modifications of proposed plans rests with the President. Copies of the notification of approval or disapproval will be distributed as in 6.g. above.

10. Reports of Sabbatical Leave Activity

The faculty member must prepare a narrative report of accomplishments during the sabbatical leave, including a description of the extent to which the activities indicated in the approved proposal were realized.

This report must be submitted to the Sabbatical Leave Committee and as a permanent attachment to the next annual update of the curriculum vitae after completion of the leave. The Provost will deposit the sabbatical narrative report in the faculty member's academic record file.

11. Sabbatical Leave Committee

The Sabbatical Leave Committee shall consist of five tenured members of the Academic Faculty appointed by the President of the University. The Committee is to (1) review and make recommendations on applications for sabbatical leave; (2) review reports of and evaluate completed sabbatical leaves; (3) recommend modifications of sabbatical leave procedures.

Members of the Committee shall serve for five-year terms ending on August 1. Any vacant position on the Committee, including temporary vacancies, shall be filled by a tenured member of the Academic Faculty selected by the President of the University from a list of three candidates submitted by the University Senate. The Senate shall assemble and forward the list to the President as soon as possible after any vacancy occurs. Each Senator representing an academic department shall be permitted to make one nomination. At a regular meeting of the Senate, each senator eligible to vote on academic matters shall vote for up to three nominees from the list of all nominees. The three nominees receiving the largest number of votes shall be the candidates which the Senate will submit to the President of the University.

The Sabbatical Leave Committee is responsible for development of the format and guidelines for applications for sabbatical leave. The current guidelines are attached as an appendix to this proposal. A notice of any substantial changes to the guidelines should be transmitted to the Senate office.

In consultation with the Provost, the Sabbatical Leave Committee will submit an annual report to the Senate which details sabbatical leave activities. The Senate will undertake periodic review of these reports and investigate additional initiatives to encourage sabbatical leaves as an avenue for faculty professional development.

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (or successor unit) may consult if necessary with the Committee in developing information, particularly web-based material, to inform faculty and academic departments about the sabbatical leave policy and about avenues for funding of sabbatical leaves.

12. Abrogation

This proposal supersedes, and upon approval nullifies, previous Senate Proposals concerning sabbatical leaves, including Proposals 13-78, 1-95, 29-96, 5-00, 6-00, and 12-00.


Sabbatical Leave Application: WordPDF

Sabbatical Leave Supervisor Recommendation Form: WordPDF

Senate Procedure 706.1.1

12/08/2016 - Annual Review: No changes made to content.
06/04/2015 - To reflect current University titles, "Board of Control" is now "Board of Trustees".
03/24/2015 - Annual Review: Under item 11. Sabbatical Leave Committee, the last paragraph read: "The Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development (or successor unit) ..." now reads "The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (or successor unit) ...".
02/09/2015 - Annual Review: To reflect current practice, the email address for questions is now policy@mtu.edu. Under Item 4. Compensation, the rate of pay while on sabbatical leave read "2 Semesters, 50% of Academic Year Salary" now reads "2 Semesters, 67% of Academic Year Salary". The last sentence of the last paragraph read: "... member's sabbatical leave (i.e. the remaining 50% of a full-year's leave) will ..." now reads " ... member's sabbatical leave (i.e. the remaining 33% of a full-year's leave) will ...". Under item 11. Sabbatical Leave Committee, the last sentence read " ... Faculty Development (or successor unit) my consult if ..." now reads " ... Faculty Development (or successor unit) may consult if ....".
03/13/2014 - Annual Review: Updated Michigan Tech and Handbook banners. "Adopted by Presidential Advisory Committee: January 26, 2005 and Approved by President Mroz: March 17, 2005" now reads "Senate Procedure 706.1.1"
07/27/2011 - Annual Review: To reflect current University titles and practice, 6.1 Program for Sabbatical Leave is now 6.7 Sabbatical Leave; MTU is now Michigan Tech, and the email address for questions is now hbwebmaster.
12/17/2008 - Updated Sabbatical Leave Supervisor Recommendation Form.