Sac State University Policy Manual

Academic Leaves with Pay
Policy Administrator: Vice President for Human Resources
Authority: PM FSA 97-04, PM FSA 98-04
Effective Date: July 29, 1998
Updated:
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: UMA00175.htm

ACADEMIC LEAVES WITH PAY

Traditionally, paid academic leaves are not a privilege, but a right. In affirming that tradition, the Statement of Principles on Leaves of Absence, adopted by the American Association of University Professors in 1972, and amended in 1990 states: 

Leaves of absence are among the most important means by which faculty members' teaching effectiveness may be enhanced, their scholarly usefulness enlarged, and an institution's academic program strengthened and developed.  A sound program of leaves is therefore of vital importance to a college or university, and it is the obligation of all faculty members to make use of the available means, including leaves, to promote their professional competence.  The major purpose is to provide opportunity for continued professional growth and new, or renewed, intellectual achievement through study, research, writing, or travel. 

The Statement further states that leaves should "be provided with reasonable frequency and preferably be available at regular intervals because they are important to the continuing growth of the faculty member and the effectiveness of the institution." At many reputable institutions of higher learning, sabbatical leaves are granted automatically as an incentive for professional growth. Sabbatical and other paid leaves are among the most precious assets that the University and its faculty possess and should be used as instruments of policy. Through the leaves faculty development and renewal occurs, faculty advance their disciplinary knowledge, attain additional competence in related or new fields of inquiry, and produce impressive scholarly and creative works. Through the experience gained by faculty on leaves the University benefits from revitalized people who bring new insights, vigor, and enthusiasm to their teaching assignments and other scholarly pursuits. The University promotes program
development by assisting faculty through paid leaves to gain new awareness, knowledge, and skills in advancing and new fields. By not adhering to this standard policy on sabbatical leaves, the California State University has long been doing a disservice to its faculty, its students, and the people of the State. 

Because the California State University does not provide sabbatical leaves according to the ideal pattern, a limited number of leaves must be allocated to a larger number of eligible faculty. CSU policy is defined in Articles 27 and 28 of the Memorandum of Understanding. The following shall be the policy of CSU, Sacramento; it conforms to and elucidates Articles 27 and 28. 

The President shall allocate professional leaves on the basis of recommendations of a Professional Leave Committee. The Professional Leave Committee will be a University Committee, composed of eight elected members serving staggered three-year terms; to include one member from each school and the Library. Persons applying for sabbatical or difference-in-pay leaves shall be ineligible for election to the Professional Leave Committee.  Normally, the term of membership shall be three years. Persons elected previously to membership on the Professional Leave Committee who apply for sabbatical or difference-in-pay leaves shall become ineligible to serve during the year in which their application is to be considered and shall be replaced for the remainder of their term by an appropriate election. The Professional Leave Committee shall recognize the importance to individual faculty members and to the University of professional leaves. The Committee shall function according to the following process and criteria. 

I. APPLICATION PROCESS FOR PROFESSIONAL LEAVES 

A. An eligible faculty member who applies for a sabbatical leave must submit six copies of
    his/her proposal with the application form provided, by the announced University deadline,
    to the Office of Faculty and Staff Affairs.  1

B. The Vice President for Human Resources shall send a copy of the proposal to the
    Professional Leave Committee and to the faculty member's home department or unit. 

C. The Department or Library unit shall prepare a statement regarding the possible effect on
    the curriculum and the operation of the department during the time of the leave should it be
    granted. This statement shall be forwarded to the School Dean. 

D. After reviewing all leave proposals against the specified criteria in Section II the
    Professional Leave Committee shall sort the proposed projects into no more than three
    categories as follows: 

    1. Those that are judged by the Professional Leave Committee to be not acceptable; 

    2. Those that are judged by the Professional Leave Committee to be acceptable;

    3. Those that are judged by the Professional Leave Committee to be the best of the
        proposals submitted. 

Of the three categories, it is the intention of this policy that the third category, those projects judged to be among the best of the proposals submitted, be reserved for those projects which, by virtue of some feature or features of extraordinary value or promise, warrant that the proposals be approved for funding regardless of equity, defined as accrued service since the establishment of initial eligibility for sabbatical leave.  Unusual promise may be manifested in such features as the perceived value of the project to the discipline and to the University, its academic substance, the clarity with which it is defined and elaborated into practicable tasks, its timeliness, etc.

The Professional Leave Committee shall rank any proposals in the third category ahead of those in the second category. Proposals in the second category shall be ranked in order of accrued service. The Professional Leave Committee shall forward through the appropriate School Dean to the President a recommendation for approval of all proposals in the third category, and then of all proposals in the second (ranked) category. The recommendation that those leaves be approved shall also be a recommendation that they be considered for granting, contingent upon the possible effect on the curriculum and the operation of the institution. 

It is further the intention of this policy that the Professional Leave Committee(s) designate as "outstanding and exceptional" at least that number of proposals that equal 25% of the number of awards that CSUS is contractually bound to make. 

The Professional Leave Committee shall provide a written statement of the reasons for not recommending approval of a given proposal, or   for designating a proposal as "outstanding". The Committee's recommendation shall be forwarded to the President via the appropriate School Dean. 

E. After considering the departmental statement and the recommendation of the Professional     Leave Committee, the Dean shall forward to the President an assessment of the     implications to the department's program, other campus programs, and the budget, should     the leave be granted, and may comment concerning  the merit of the proposal as compared     with the specified criteria. The Dean shall include the departmental statement and the     recommendations of the Professional Leave Committee with the material forwarded to the     President. A copy of the Dean's recommendation shall also be sent to the Professional 
    Leave Committee. 

F. Upon receipt of comments from a School Dean concerning the merit of a proposal, the     Professional Leave Committee shall have the opportunity to respond to those comments by     submitting a statement directly to the President. 

II. EVALUATION OF APPLICATIONS 

A. Dimensions of Evaluation 

The Committee shall assess the quality of the proposal by considering the appropriateness of the substance of each proposal, the benefits which would ensue from its being undertaken, and its practicability. It shall also verify that the final report from the previous award, if any, was acceptable and timely. A copy of the Dean's recommendation shall also be sent to the Professional Leave Committee. Upon receipt of comments from a School Dean concerning the merit of a proposal, the Professional Leave Committee shall have the opportunity to respond to those comments by submitting a statement directly to the President. 

B. Criteria 

1. Appropriateness. Appropriate sabbatical leave activities may include the following; this list
   implies no ranking of relative worth among the categories. The PLC will evaluate each     proposal on the basis of standards relevant to its character. 

    a. A course of study leading to increased mastery of the applicant's own field, or the
        development of an additional area of specialization within his/her field, or the
        development of a new field of specialization; 

    b. A plan for professionally beneficial travel, which will enable the applicant further to
        develop his/her knowledge, skill, or expertise in a discipline or area of specialization
        within a discipline; 

    c. Professional development of a scope or nature not possible through normal workload
        assignment; 

    d. Pursuit of a scholarly, research, or creative project of a scope or  nature not permitted
        through normal workload assignment; 

    e. Study or experience designed to improve teaching effectiveness; 

    f. Study or experience designed to improve professional practice. 

2. Benefit. Sabbatical leave projects should demonstrate clear promise of producing results     beneficial to students, to the development of the profession or a discipline within the  the        profession, to the University, and/or to the faculty member as a teacher, scholar, or     professional practitioner. 

3. Practicability. The PLC shall determine whether objectives of the proposed project are both     clearly defined and realistically  achievable. 

4. Final Reports. The final report from the previous award, if any, will be reviewed by the PLC     for the purpose of verifying that significant progress was made toward completion of the     proposed project, or that legitimate reasons exist for modification of the original aims. An     acceptable final report submitted within the first semester of return from a leave, is a     necessary condition of being granted subsequent leaves. 

III. DIFFERENCE-IN-PAY APPLICATIONS 

A. Faculty members eligible for Difference-in-Pay leaves shall submit six copies of their     proposals with the application form provided to the Office of Human Resources. A     department committee will forward to the President via the appropriate School Dean all     Difference-in-Pay proposals which meet minimal quality standards. After considering the     departmental statement and recommendation, the Dean shall forward to the President an     assessment of the implications to the department's program, other campus programs, and
    the budget, should the leave be granted, and may comment concerning the merit of the     proposal as compared with the specified criteria. The Dean shall include the departmental     statement and recommendation with the material forwarded to the President. 

B. Deadlines for Difference-in-Pay applications shall be flexible; it shall be campus practice to     grant Difference-in-Pay leaves whenever possible in the interests of faculty members, 
    departments, and schools. 

C. Sabbatical leave applications that have been recommended by the PLC shall also be     considered to have been recommended for Difference-in-Pay leaves if requested.

 

1 The OLC shall crate an archive of the "best proposals for the benefit of future applicants     (provided that an author of such a proposal consents) and develop appropriate procedures     for access to the archive.