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XI. Sabbatical Leave of Absence

Sabbatical leave is granted to members of the Faculty to allow them to pursue professional activities that will promote scholarly research or creative activities. The College expects sabbatical leave to produce tangible results. Completing work for the Ph.D. or other terminal degree is not an appropriate use of sabbatical leave. A record of scholarship or creative productivity is expected for successful applications (including, when applicable, demonstrated outcomes from the previous sabbatical). However, the sabbatical is not granted in recognition of previous work; rather, it is awarded in anticipation of future work.

A. Eligibility. A Faculty member with tenure is eligible for sabbatical leave after twelve semesters of full-time teaching and thereafter is eligible after each successive twelve semesters of full-time teaching. The sabbatical leave or leave of absence will not count toward a subsequent sabbatical leave.

Full-time Faculty members may count semesters taught at a reduced load if the reduced load is the result of a College initiative. If a sabbatical leave is delayed beyond the semester in which a Faculty member is first eligible, the additional semester of teaching will not count toward a subsequent sabbatical unless the delay is the result of a College request. Only four semesters can be carried forward in this way.

B. Length and Compensation. Sabbatical leave may be granted for one semester or for one full academic year.

While on one semester leave a Faculty member will continue to receive full salary. While on a full year, two semester leave a Faculty member will be paid a total of 60% of the annual salary that would have been paid in that year if not on leave. Contributions by the College to a faculty member’s retirement plan will be based on the salary actually paid under the annual contract for the sabbatical leave year in accordance with the retirement plan adopted and approved for the College. During a sabbatical leave year, all other fringe benefits remain in force as outlined in the College Handbook.

C. Application.

  1. Faculty eligible for sabbatical leave will submit a letter of intent to the Office of Academic Affairs by 1 October of the year prior to the academic year of the projected leave. This letter of intent will include a statement from the candidate indicating the projected duration of the sabbatical leave (either a full academic year or the specific semester being requested for leave) and will be accompanied by a letter from the applicant’s Department Chair that describes the department’s (and any affected program’s) plan for covering the applicant’s teaching responsibilities during the leave. When a leave is contingent on acceptance into a program or research group, or on receipt of grant support, the letter of intent application should give a detailed description of such contingencies and the dates by which the contingencies will be removed.
  2. Applicants for sabbatical leave will present copies of the full project description and a current curriculum vitae to both the Office of Academic Affairs and the Faculty Development Committee by 1 November of the year prior to the academic year of the leave. This detailed description of the proposed project should not exceed 2500 words and must include the expected outcomes that will result from the leave activities. Proposals from applicants who have had a previous sabbatical leave must include a separate section reporting the final outcome(s) of project(s) undertaken in the most recent sabbatical leave. Any clarifications requested by the Committee must be provided by the faculty member no later than 1 December.
  3. The Faculty Development Committee will make a recommendation on the proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs by 15 December.
  4. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify the faculty member regarding the outcome of his or her application for sabbatical leave on or about 15 January.
  5. In special cases in which being awarded a grant is contingent upon an approved sabbatical, applications are permitted within a year in advance of the normal deadline, to accommodate idiosyncratic funding opportunities. In such cases, an appropriate similar timetable will be followed.
  6. In the event that a sabbatical leave application is denied, the faculty member can reapply in the following year or any later year.

D. Returning from Sabbatical Leave. Sabbatical leave is granted on the condition that the Faculty member will return to Rhodes for at least one full-time service year immediately after the leave. Faculty members who do not return following sabbatical leave for one full-time service year will be under a contractual obligation to refund to Rhodes the full amount of their sabbatical salary and benefits on demand. No pro-ration of this obligation will be given for partial year or part-time return service.

In exceptional circumstances a member of the Faculty may be eligible for a sabbatical leave of absence and plan to retire from the College upon the end of the sabbatical leave. In such cases the eligibility and provisions for a sabbatical leave of absence apply; however, it will be designated as an academic leave of absence, not a sabbatical, the provision to resume the teaching appointment is waived, and the reporting requirements associated with a sabbatical leave of absence are not in effect.

E. Reports. A faculty member returning from leave will make a full written report of his or her leave activities to the Faculty Development Committee and Office of Academic Affairs no later than November 1st following their return. This report, together with a statement on additional long-term outcomes of these activities (if any), will be included as a section of the next sabbatical leave application. Both reports will guide the Committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs when considering future leave applications.