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Chapter 5
Leaves of Absence

Return to Office of the Secretary of the Faculty

Academic Leaves with Pay

Sabbatical Leaves

A sabbatical leave is intended to provide tenured faculty members with opportunities for scholarly development that will contribute to their achievements and the value of their service to Tufts University. A sabbatical recognizes prior scholarly achievements and anticipates future scholarly contributions.

Eligibility and Opportunity

Tufts University does not guarantee the opportunity to take a sabbatical leave. Leave is granted when, in the dean's assessment, the conditions of the department and of the university are such that the faculty member's absence will not seriously impair the interests of the university. Sabbaticals are granted only to tenured faculty members and only with the dean's approval. The candidate for leave shall normally have served in a tenured or tenure-track position at Tufts for at least six years, although the dean may enter into a special agreement concerning the time of the first sabbatical for a member of the faculty who has been employed by another institution or organization. A faculty member who accepts a sabbatical is expected to return to the university for at least the length of the leave. If a faculty member does not return to the university following the leave, the faculty member is responsible for compensating the school for the salary received during the sabbatical. Ordinarily, sabbaticals are granted only if, at the expiration of such leave, the applicant would be eligible for continued service on the faculty of the school for at least one year before retirement.

In the School of Arts and Sciences, if a faculty member defers a sabbatical, the original sabbatical clock will remain intact. A faculty member may defer a sabbatical for up to seven years.

In the School of Engineering, if a faculty member defers a sabbatical, the faculty member is eligible for the leave the following year. However, eligibility for a future sabbatical is counted from the year the leave is taken.

If a faculty member is eligible for a sabbatical leave but is asked to defer due to departmental constraints, the faculty member may apply in writing to the dean, requesting permission to count the additional year of service toward the accrual for the subsequent sabbatical. This renders the faculty member's sabbatical clock unchanged for future leaves.

Duration and Compensation

A sabbatical may involve absence for an academic year at half-salary or for a semester at full salary. A member of the faculty on sabbatical may not receive salary compensation from another institution or organization. This does not preclude acceptance of fellowships that support various research expenses, or of honoraria and travel expenses for invited lectures, or participation in invited seminars or on boards, for example.

Application for Leave

A completed application for sabbatical, approved by the department chair, is due in the dean's office by December 15 (for A&S) or December 1 (for Engineering) preceding the academic year in which the sabbatical is requested. The applicant must have a well-considered, suitable plan for research activity. A detailed written statement of this plan indicating its professional advantages, as well as a current curriculum vitae, must accompany the application.

Mutual Consent

The letter from the dean to the applicant approving the leave represents a commitment by the university and the faculty member. Therefore, any changes to the plans for the leave require the written agreement of both parties.

Required Report

Within three months of returning to academic duties at the university after a sabbatical leave, the faculty member shall submit a detailed report of activities during the leave to the dean.

Junior Faculty Research Leaves (School of Arts and Sciences)

See related section later in the Handbook on junior faculty research leaves for the School of Engineering.

Research leaves for junior, tenure-track faculty members provide an opportunity to devote oneself full-time to scholarship in preparation for the tenure review.

Eligibility and Opportunity

All tenure-track faculty members are eligible to apply for a junior faculty research leave. However, such leave is not guaranteed, but is granted only when the conditions of the department and of the university are such that in the dean's judgment, the faculty member's absence will not seriously impair the interests of the university.

A junior faculty research leave may be taken in the third or fourth year of the probationary period. In some cases, with the approval of the department chair and the dean, the leave may be taken during the fifth year of the probationary period. Taking a junior faculty research leave does not stop the tenure clock or lengthen the probationary period. Faculty members who take a junior faculty research leave are expected to remain at Tufts in a full-time teaching capacity for at least one year following the leave. If a faculty member does not return to the university following the leave, the faculty member is responsible for compensating the school for the salary received during the research leave.

Duration and Compensation

The faculty member on junior faculty research leave may be absent from the university for a total of two semesters. Although it is generally advantageous to take this leave in consecutive semesters, exceptions can be made to accommodate departmental needs or the nature of the research.

The faculty member receives full salary for the duration of the leave, up to two semesters. A member of the faculty on a junior faculty research leave may not receive salary compensation from another institution or organization. This does not preclude short-term funding sources such as fellowships that support various research expenses or honoraria and travel expenses for invited lectures or seminars.

The dean will consider requests for a maximum of one additional semester of leave during the pre-tenure period without pay funded from extramural sources over and above the two-semester leave that is internally funded.

Application for Junior Faculty Research Leave

A completed application, approved by the department chair, should be sent to the supervising academic dean. The applicant must show a well-considered, suitable plan for research activity designed to contribute to the best interests of the faculty member and the university. A detailed written statement of this plan indicating its professional advantages, as well as a current curriculum vitae, must accompany the application. The chair and departmental mentor, as appropriate, are expected to review a draft of the application with the faculty member. The chair will also attach to the final proposal an evaluation of the feasibility of the leave plan and of the proposed timetable.

Applications are due in the dean's office by December 15 of the year preceding the academic year in which the first semester of the proposed leave is to occur.

Mutual Consent

The letter from the dean to the applicant approving the leave represents a commitment by the university and the faculty member. Therefore, any changes to the plans for the leave require the written agreement of both parties.

Required Report

Within three months of returning to the university after a junior faculty research leave, the faculty member must submit a report of activities during the leave to the department chair and the dean. This report should provide sufficient detail in support of how well the proposed goals were met. Faculty members whose leave is not in consecutive semesters must file two reports.

Junior Faculty Research Leaves (School of Engineering)

See related section above on junior faculty research leaves for the School of Arts and Sciences.

Research leaves for junior, tenure-track faculty members provide an opportunity to devote oneself full-time to scholarship in preparation for the tenure review.

Eligibility and Opportunity

All tenure-track assistant professors in the School of Engineering are eligible to apply for one semester without teaching or service responsibilities during their probationary period.

A junior faculty research leave may be taken in the third or fourth year of the probationary period. In some cases, with the approval of the department chair and the dean, the leave may be taken in the fifth year of the probationary period. The timing of this leave is not guaranteed; it is granted only when the conditions of the department and of the university are such that, in the dean's judgment, the faculty member's absence will not seriously impair the interests of the university. The faculty member must discuss the timing of the leave with the department chair. A faculty member does not stop the tenure clock by taking a junior faculty research leave. Faculty members who take this form of leave are expected to return to the university for one semester in a full-time capacity following the leave. If a faculty member does not return to the university following the leave, the faculty member is responsible for compensating the school for the salary received during the research leave.

Duration and Compensation

The faculty member on junior faculty research leave receives full salary for the duration of the semester of leave.

A member of the faculty on a junior faculty research leave may not receive salary compensation from another institution or organization. This does not preclude short-term funding sources such as fellowships that support various research expenses or honoraria and travel expenses for invited lectures or seminars.
The dean will consider requests for leaves without pay funded from extramural sources in addition to the one-semester leave that is internally funded.

Application for Junior Faculty Research Leave

A completed application, approved by the department chair, should be sent to the dean. The applicant must show a well-considered, suitable plan for research activity designed to contribute to the best interests of the faculty member and the university. A detailed written statement of this plan indicating its professional advantages, as well as a current curriculum vitae, must accompany the application. The chair and departmental mentor, as appropriate, are expected to review a draft of the application with the faculty member. The chair will also attach to the final proposal an evaluation of the feasibility of the leave plan and of the proposed timetable.

Applications are due in the dean's office by December 1 of the year preceding the academic year in which the semester of proposed leave is to occur.

Mutual Consent

The letter from the dean to the applicant approving the leave represents a commitment by the university and the faculty member. Therefore, any changes to the plans for the leave require the written agreement of both parties.

Required Report

Within three months of returning to the university after a junior faculty research leave, the faculty member must submit a report of activities during the leave to the department chair. This report should provide sufficient detail in support of how well the proposed goals were met.

Supported Research Leaves

The School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering offer additional types of supported research leaves for tenured faculty members. Such leaves are awarded, for example, on a competitive basis by the Committee on Faculty Research Awards (FRAC) or as compensation for a term of administrative service as a chair of a department or as a dean.

Such leaves are granted only when the conditions of the department and of the university are such that in the dean's judgment, the faculty member's absence will not seriously impair the interests of the university. Faculty members who take this form of leave are expected to remain at Tufts in a full-time teaching capacity for at least one year following the leave. If a faculty member does not return to the university following the leave, the faculty member is responsible for compensating the school for the salary received during the research leave.

A member of the faculty on a supported research leave may not receive salary compensation from another institution or organization. This does not preclude short-term funding sources such as fellowships that support various research expenses or honoraria and travel expenses for invited lectures or seminars.

Partially Supported Research Leaves (School of Arts and Sciences)

If Tufts is funding all or part of an academic leave and the faculty member does not return to Tufts for at least the time he/she was on leave, the faculty member must pay back to the school the salary paid by the university during the leave.

Salary-Gap Supplement Policy

Tenure-track faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences are encouraged to seek external funding to further their research and scholarship. Funding from outside of Tufts may be available from foundations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other sources.

Many fellowship opportunities offer salary support that falls short of a faculty member's normal Tufts University salary for an equivalent period of time. Organizations that offer these fellowships are under no obligation to match the normal university-based salary of fellowship holders, and neither is Tufts obligated to provide the salary that would fill the gap for a faculty member who is not undertaking normal teaching and service obligations.

Faculty members seeking fellowship opportunities that offer salary support that falls substantially short of their normal salary should apply for these fellowships to coincide with their normal sabbatical eligibility, or seek multiple fellowship opportunities that might be combined.

Faculty members may apply to their Dean of Academic Affairs for "top-up" salary funding that will fill the gap between the fellowship salary and the portion of the full-time academic year base salary the faculty member would earn if fulfilling regular full-time duties. The salary-gap funding request should provide full details needed for consideration within the terms of this policy: an explanation of the fellowship, its terms and amount of support, the goals of taking the fellowship, disclosure of funding sources for the year, and any other relevant information.

The deans will take the following factors into consideration when making a decision about salary-gap funding:

1. Salary-gap support will be limited to nationally or internationally visible, prestigious and competitive research fellowships.

a. For a fellowship with a duration of one semester, A&S will consider salary-gap funding of up to 1/9th of the academic-year base salary. The Dean of Academic Affairs would consider supplementing an additional 1/9 for pre-tenure faculty members.

b. For a fellowship with a duration of one academic or calendar year, the school will consider salary-gap funding of up to 1/9th of academic-year base salary each semester.

c. Fellowship salary-gap support larger than the amounts specified here will be considered only in the case of the most prestigious and competitive national and international awards (Guggenheim, ACLS, NEH, and Fulbright).

2. The fellowship should allow the faculty member to make significant advances on a well-defined research project.

3. Proposals for fellowship salary-gap support may be denied if the faculty member has received salary-gap support in the past three years.

4. Salary-gap support is not intended to supplement consultancies or temporary jobs unless they would manifestly advance the faculty member's research.

The faculty member must also agree to return to full-time service for at least the time he/she was on leave following the conclusion of the leave period. This is consistent with university policy on paid sabbatical leave. The faculty member must also submit a report on what was accomplished during the leave.

Professional Development Leaves for Full-time Senior Lecturers in the School of Arts and Sciences

See Article 14 Section 5d of the CBA for Full-time Lecturers for details.