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Sabbatical and Pre-Tenure Leaves

Sabbatical and Pre-tenure leave online form.      
Deadline for sabbatical and pre-tenure leave applications: October 29, 2014

Purpose: The primary objective of a sabbatical or pre-tenure leave is to provide reassigned time from teaching for enhancing the professional development of the faculty member in ways that help maintain and improve the quality of intellectual life at DePauw University. The sabbatical or pre-tenure leave project and product should develop, enhance, or extend some aspect of the faculty member's academic or scholarly specialty or some area of curricular and classroom expertise consistent with a faculty member’s role at DePauw. The intellectual vitality of an academic community is nourished in a variety of ways by its individual members. Some will explore the frontiers of knowledge within or between disciplines. Others will expand knowledge of fields to be taught or develop new ways to teach the requisite knowledge more effectively. Professional development, personal renewal, and the maintenance of institutional vitality are complementary processes, that can be accomplished, in part, through careful planning for a thoughtful implementation of sabbatical or pre-tenure leaves. Since the interests and abilities of each faculty member and the needs of the institution do not intersect at the same fixed point, sabbatical or pre-tenure leave proposals will vary considerably. In every case, however, the kinds and number of proposed leave activities should go well beyond what could be accomplished during teaching semesters and should focus on professional development across the faculty member's career.

A variety of leave opportunities support faculty members at various stages of their careers and accommodate as many different professional directions as are appropriate at an institution such as DePauw.  The leave program will be carried out insofar as finances and staffing needs permit.  Types of leaves include Sabbatical Leaves, Pre-Tenure Leaves, Pre-Retirement Leaves in lieu of sabbaticals, Special Leaves for Faculty-in-Residence opportunities, Academic Leaves, and leaves for other personal or professional reasons.

Eligibility for Pre-Tenure Leaves: Tenure-track Assistant Professors with probationary periods of five or six years and whose appointments extend for more than one year following their satisfactory interim review will be eligible for a pre-tenure leave of one semester at full pay for a curriculum development or scholarly/creative project. Typically, this leave will be taken in the fourth or fifth year with applications due the preceding year.

Eligibility for Sabbatical Leaves:  A full-time tenured faculty member above the rank of instructor may apply in his or her seventh year of service at DePauw for a sabbatical leave for part or all of the eighth year. After the initial sabbatical, the faculty member is eligible to apply for the next (and thereafter for subsequent) sabbatical leave in the sixth year of additional full-time service for part or all of a seventh year. A faculty member who does not seek or who is not granted a leave after the minimum period of eligibility must coordinate with his or her department and Academic Affairs to determine when a leave may be granted.

Expectations & Rules:

  • Semester-long (or longer) grants of sabbatical or pre-tenure leave will be made only to DePauw faculty members who continue with the University for at least one year following the year in which the grant is used. Should a grant be awarded to a member of the faculty who, subsequent to the award, finds that he or she will not be continuing his or her professional relationship with DePauw University during the next academic year, such an award will be withdrawn. Faculty members who accept payments for salary and/or benefits during a leave agree that, if they do not return to work at DePauw for the full academic year subsequent to the year in which they complete the leave, they or their subsequent employer will reimburse DePauw for all salary and benefits paid during the leave. Exceptions to this provision may be granted as part of a pre-retirement agreement between a faculty member and the University.

  • Departments are encouraged to negotiate the scheduling of approved leaves to balance the number of faculty members on leave between semesters and across years. The administration reserves the right to limit the total number of faculty members on leave during any year or semester.

  • If a leave project overlaps with other projects funded by IGC, the faculty member must explain the relationship between the projects. Distinct products are expected for Faculty Development awards for overlapping or related projects.

  • The University expects leave recipients to share the fruits of a leave with others, at a Faculty Forum, for example, so that the entire community may share in the intellectual nourishment.

  • Faculty members considering projects that involve information technology should consult with Faculty Instructional Technology Support (FITS) at least two weeks prior to the application deadline to gain assurance that the needed technology will be available to support the proposed project. Evidence of this assurance should be provided with the leave proposal.

  • Faculty members are not eligible for a Fisher Course Reassignment during the same academic year as a pre-tenure leave or during the same two semesters as a sabbatical leave.

Types of Sabbatical or Pre-Tenure Leave Projects: Most leave applications will fall within the following categories:

A. Research, Publication, Performance, or Exhibition: A proposal should meet the highest professional standards, including demonstrated expertise requisite for the complexity and difficulty of the project, and, with rare exceptions, show promise of publication, performance, or exhibition. Applicants are encouraged to submit a reasonably detailed description of the project (e.g., a prospectus, table of contents, sample chapters, or correspondence with other scholars or editors). In the case of the arts, proposals can specify activities, that lead to performance or exhibition. After the first sabbatical, applicants for a subsequent leave for scholarly purposes should provide evidence of previous publishing, performance, or exhibition. Normally the university will not grant a leave to continue a project started on a previous leave.

B. Curricular and Pedagogical Development:  Leaves may also help faculty members to meet changing curricular and pedagogical needs. Some faculty members may wish to develop a new--or to renew an old--area of teaching expertise, while others might explore new modes of teaching. Applicants should describe the project’s objectives and procedures (including a timetable), place the project in the context of their professional development, and justify the project in terms of contributions to the discipline, department and University.

C. Projects that combine these projects will be hybrids of Category A and B.

Scope and Product: Because the interests and aims of colleagues vary, there will be a great deal of variation among leave applications. An over-riding expectation, however, is that leave activities go substantially beyond the normal expectations of professional activity during the regular school year. Approved leaves need to have the following pieces:

  • a clearly defined goal

  • adequate development and documentation

  • an explicit product.

In the past, some applications have been returned to colleagues for further development. Inadequate scope is often a reason. Merely "reading in one's field" is not enough to distinguish a leave from the normal expectations of a semester's routine. Reading, however, as part of the larger goal of document preparation, work in a research seminar, preparation for a series of public lectures, etc., would add greater focus and evidence of progress toward a product. For all leaves, a tangible product is required. Products may take the form of writing, works of art and music, lectures or performances, presentations to collegial groups or the general public, new course syllabi with accompanying materials, or descriptions of new pedagogical methods and their incorporation into courses.

Planning and Documentation: Advance planning is a key to an acceptable proposal. Discussion with colleagues both at DePauw and off campus, as well as the Dean of Faculty, may prove helpful in the early stages. In the design of the proposal, emphasis usually falls on: scholarly/artistic work or teaching and curricular development. There are some funds available to defray the costs of travel and relocation during leaves.

An adequate leave proposal must be fully documented. Prior to submission, documents such as a proposed itinerary of travel and supporting letters from publishers, collaborators, and host institutions should be obtained and attached to your proposal. While these materials are due with the application, there may be times when a delay in submitting some supporting materials is unavoidable. In these instances, an extension may be given, but all materials must be in no later than the first Thursday in February. Evidence of seed work, rough drafts of material, tentative tables of contents, etc., all enhance the quality of a proposal. A current vita must be submitted with the proposal if it has been updated since a faculty member's last Activity Report. All recipients of leaves are required to submit a report of their activities and an evaluation of goals and objectives set forth in the proposal. This document should be submitted by mid-semester of the term following the leave.

Tips and Advice: Start planning early. A year or two in advance of the leave is a critical time in project selection and development. Advance planning is especially important when preparing for a year-long sabbatical and in seeking outside funding. Conversations with colleagues and mentors can be most helpful at this stage.

Leaves come only occasionally in a career and provide key time for professional development and renewal. Initially, try not to allow the realities of moving the kids, sub-letting the house, food to eat, etc., temper the admittedly idealistic goals of creating the ideal research project or the ideal proposal for developing new expertise in teaching. Investigation or retraining that will provide a new focus to one's career is an appropriate goal.

Financial Stipulations and Supplements

For Pre-Tenure leaves, faculty members receive three courses of reassigned time (one semester).  For Sabbatical leaves, there are two options: a semester leave with an additional course reassigned to the leave project at full salary, or a full-year leave at two-thirds salary. Most full-year leaves are for an academic year, but in exceptional cases a yearlong leave during a calendar year may be approved. For an approved leave that requires travel, $500 domestic or $750 international is available through the Fisher Travel Fund. Faculty members remain eligible for all appropriate faculty development funds during their leaves; these funds include Presentation, Performance, and Exhibition funds and Fisher Professional Development Grant funds. Please note that appropriate application procedures need to be followed for all funds. For faculty members receiving external grants to support sabbatical projects, DePauw contributes to salary and expenses may be reduced (consult the Vice President for Academic Affairs for details).

Faculty members may apply for Fisher Professional Development Grant funds to help defray living expenses when sabbatical, research, and artistic projects require relocation to complete your scholarly or creative work. The regular application and approval procedure must be followed to receive these funds.  Please see the Fisher Professional Development Grant Fund page for more information.

Receipt of monies: Faculty members must submit receipts to receive the Fisher travel funds; in this case the monies are not considered taxable income.

Salary and Fringe Benefits if DePauw is the only provider of compensation:

  • Pre-tenure leaves: DePauw provides full salary and benefits for the one-semester leave. Faculty members may not accept additional employment during the Winter Term or academic semester of this leave as DePauw provides full salary for the completion of the approved project. Exceptions may be granted for minor work engagements or honoraria under the guidelines and approval procedures detailed in the University policy on outside employment for full-time faculty members.

  • Sabbatical leaves: Faculty members who take the option of reducing teaching by four courses (16 of the usual 24 annual contact hours) will receive full salary and benefits. Faculty members who take the option of a full-year leave at two-thirds salary receive fringe benefits on the salary paid. Faculty members may accept and be paid for employment equivalent to teaching up to two courses (typically 160-190 hours per course) during the year.  DePauw specifically encourages faculty members to pursue opportunities at other colleges and universities to teach one or two courses and have access to library resources and an office, laboratory, or studio at the sabbatical location.  Teaching curricular (for-credit) and Extended Studies courses will continue to be a way to earn additional salary toward a full-year sabbatical (at a rate of 6.15 percent per course starting with the first Extended Studies course).

Reporting Process: Reports are normally due for fall leaves by the first Monday of the following spring semester, and for year-long and spring leaves by the first Monday of the following fall semester. For Pre-Tenure Leaves and Sabbatical Leaves, your report should be addressed to the Internal Grants Committee Chair.  Like your proposal, your report should be readily understandable by colleagues outside your field. You should refer to the product you promised in your original proposal and show how the funding enabled you to meet your goals and advance your professional development. Depending on the nature of the project, you may include a narrative or reflective statement (no more than 3 pages). You should attach or provide documentation of the promised product, or, in some cases, as with a draft of a manuscript or a syllabus, you should attach the product itself along with a brief cover letter (up to 1 page). The report will be reviewed, and you will receive a response.

Please submit your report electronically to Terry Bruner in the form of a WORD or PDF document (

Faculty members who fail to submit reports on time will be ineligible for funding until the report(s) have been submitted and approved.