A. 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. This privilege should be granted to faculty members on the merit of their past academic contributions.

B. Eligibility

In this paper the word “sabbatical” is used to refer to the professional leave program authorized by s. 36.11(17), Wis. Stats. A faculty member is eligible for a sabbatical award under the following terms:

  1. A faculty member must have completed six or more years of full-time instructional service, or its equivalent, in the UW System and not have taken a sabbatical within the UW System during the previous six years of full-time service, or its equivalent.
  2. Leaves of absence, regardless of source of funding (including personal resources), will be excluded in determining a faculty member’s years of full-time service.
  3. Preference shall be given to those making significant contributions to teaching and who have not had a leave of absence, regardless of source of funding, in the previous four years.
  4. A sabbatical will not be awarded to a faculty member who does not plan to return to the institution from which the leave is granted for at least one academic year of service after the termination of the sabbatical.

C. Types

Two types of sabbatical leaves are available to faculty members:

  1. A faculty member may take a sabbatical leave for an academic year and receive from the institution financial support at any level up to sixty-five percent of his/her full compensation for that period, in accordance with institutional policies.
  2. 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/her full compensation for that period.

D. Conditions

The following conditions govern the faculty sabbatical program:

  1. In the administration of sabbaticals, salary funds generated by academic-year sabbatical leaves, leaves without pay, by personnel turnover, or by personnel reassignment from GPR support may be used to employ, where necessary, temporary replacement instructional staff to maintain the level and quality of instructional services to students.
  2. In the administration of faculty sabbaticals, the UW System will report earnings, creditable service, and contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System at the full-time rate, based on the rate of pay in effect immediately prior to the beginning of the sabbatical. In addition, leave benefits will continue to accrue at the rate in effect immediately prior to the sabbatical.
  3. A faculty member may receive and is encouraged to seek 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 his/her institution for that period.
  4. 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 purposes of a faculty member’s sabbatical program.
  5. A faculty member may seek additional support specifically for travel or unusual living expenses incident to the sabbatical program without restriction by the full-compensation maximum (see condition #3 above).
  6. A faculty member may not use the sabbatical leave to accept other paid employment during the period of the leave, unless as stipulated as a condition of the leave. If so stipulated, condition #3 is operative.
  7. A faculty member must specify all grants or other awards applied for or to be received during the leave in his/her application for the sabbatical program.
  8. A faculty member must agree to return to the institution from which leave was granted 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 his/her institution during the sabbatical.
  9. A faculty member must submit a written report outlining his/her accomplishments during the leave within three months of returning to the institution in accordance with the process and format established by the institution. These reports are to be filed and maintained in the Vice Chancellor’s Office and be available upon request.

E. Selection

The following guidelines govern the process for sabbatical leave:

  1. Each institution will establish the specific application requirements and selection procedures for the faculty sabbatical program in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes s. 36.11(17). The selection procedures should provide joint faculty and administrative review and approval, should ensure faculty proposal selection under nondiscriminatory principles, should certify that the quality of program offerings will not be reduced below acceptable standards or that delay or interference with necessary departmental and university functions will not be occasioned by the absence of those faculty on sabbatical leave, and should take into consideration the institution’s capacity to fiscally support the sabbatical program. The faculty sabbatical application and selection protocol for each institution will be placed on file in the UW System Office of Academic Affairs.
  2. The formal call for faculty sabbatical proposals for the academic year 18 months hence will be announced by the chancellors in March of each year. Institutional selections for the faculty sabbatical program should be communicated in writing by the chancellors to the Vice President for Academic Affairs by November l5 of each year. This communication should contain:
    1. a brief paragraph abstract of the proposed sabbatical program and a brief updated professional vita;
    2. a certification by the chancellor or a designee that the eligibility requirements, compensation arrangements and related conditions of the appointment, and the guidelines for sabbatical award selection as outlined in sections B, C, D, and E of this document have been observed in the determination and granting of the awards. Certification must also be made as to the fiscal capability of the institution to support the number of  faculty sabbaticals being granted;
    3. a description of the source of support for the sabbatical, i.e., collegial coverage, ad hoc appointment, or other.
  3. Formal announcement of those faculty members receiving sabbatical awards will be made annually at the December meeting of the Board of Regents.

There are several components in the University’s systemwide program of faculty development and renewal as called for in Academic Planning Statement #3. The first component, ACPS #3.l, provided guidelines for institutional development and implementation of a comprehensive program of faculty development and renewal. The second component, ACPS #3.2, established a program facilitating intra-system faculty transfer and exchange. This paper, ACPS #3.3 (revised), outlines the guidelines governing the faculty sabbatical program in the University of Wisconsin System. Wisconsin Statutes 36.ll(l7) provide the framework for this policy statement.

Revision History:

May 1977
Revised September 1979
Approved by Regents 9/7/79
Revised Spring 1983, Spring 1984,
Spring 1985, Spring 1987,
Spring 1989, Summer 1994
Summer 2003

Last Revised: Summer 2003

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