During the regular academic year the primary responsibility of a faculty member is teaching and the professional development activities necessary to maintain a timely and informed knowledge of the teaching area. Any released time from teaching responsibilities necessary to pursue research must be agreed to in writing by the Vice President of Academic Affairs in advance of the submission of the grant or contract request. The faculty member, the chair of the department, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs will determine the amount of released time, the duration of the period of released time, and the implications for staffing in the department. A research grant or contract that runs concurrent with the regular academic year must include sufficient financial provisions to provide released time for the researcher. The standard course load for a teacher is five four-credit hour courses; the released time should be provided for by a pro-rata share of the researcher’s current salary plus the standard 34 percent for fringe benefits. These funds will be used to hire a replacement instructor for the duration of the grant or contract. The fringe benefit rate for student stipends is 8 percent. Research requiring the total time of a faculty member will necessitate a leave of absence without pay. This leave of absence must be requested at least six months in advance of the beginning of the research period. The College will hire a replacement instructor for the duration of the leave of absence.