Sabbatical Leave

The purpose of the sabbatical program is to enable faculty members to prepare themselves for enhanced service to the College and its students. The leave is intended to provide an extended period when faculty, free of normal responsibilities, are able to concentrate on one or more projects designed to advance professional effectiveness. The sabbatical is properly thought of as an opportunity, not a right. The individual earns the right to apply for leave, but granting of the leave is based on an assessment of the proposed project and its potential benefits for the individual and the College.

I. Length of leave and related salary arrangements:

  1. Leave for an entire academic year, with one half of base salary.
  2. Leave for an entire academic year, with two-thirds of base salary possible, if application is made for two outside peer-reviewed sources of external funding, such as grants, fellowships, artist residencies, post-doctoral fellowships, etc. Copies of funding applications should be submitted to the office of the Dean of Faculty.
  3. Leave for an entire academic year, with full salary, if application is successfully made for a peer-reviewed source of external funding awarding at least one-quarter of base salary. A copy of the funding application and acceptance should be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs.
  4. Leave for one regular academic term (for a total reduction in course load for the year from six courses to three courses), with full salary.

II. Eligibility:

Eligibility for the first sabbatical comes after seven years of full-time teaching. Subsequent eligibility comes after six years of full-time teaching.

III. Application:

Application for sabbatical leave takes the form of a written proposal, stating the time of absence desired and describing in detail the project to be pursued. The proposal should make clear how the project will contribute to one’s professional effectiveness, indicate the preparatory work to be completed before the leave begins, explain the activities to be undertaken, specify the expected accomplishments during the leave period, and suggest the most appropriate way for assessing those accomplishments. If possible, a timetable for the various elements of the project should be included. The proposal is to be submitted to the Dean of Faculty not later than January 1 preceding the academic year in which leave is desired. The Department Chair and Division Chair are to receive a copy of the submitted sabbatical proposal from the applicant. Those whose projects the President approves are notified about February 1.

IV. Postponing Sabbatical Leaves:

Applying for and taking a sabbatical leave other than in the year one is eligible is a decision of significance to the College, faculty, and others. College policies and practices aim to promote faculty members' timely pursuit of their opportunities for productive sabbatical leaves that also benefit the College, their colleagues, students and their professional growth.

Only the Dean of Faculty may, on occasion, determine that institutional need warrants a faculty member postponing a sabbatical leave beyond the year of eligibility prescribed above (e.g., six years).  Such a postponement request and agreement are formally documented to the faculty member. The standard of need is that of the College. Individual circumstances or the needs of a single academic department are secondary to overall institutional needs, and so postponements are rarely granted. In coming to the conclusion that institutional need warrants requesting postponement of a sabbatical, the Dean of Faculty requests input from others (e.g., Department Chairs, colleagues, etc.). A new eligibility date will be set by the Dean of Faculty.

When a faculty member postpones a leave beyond the year in which one is eligible due to personal reasons, he/she must work with the Dean of Faculty to set a new eligibility date. The eligibility for any subsequent sabbatical leave begins in the year following when the leave is actually taken.

V. Acceptance of sabbatical leave entails several obligations and conditions:

  1. Continued service to Berea College for not less than two years following completion of the leave.
  2. Submission to the Dean of Faculty, Department Chair, Division Chair, and the President a written report on the project not later than October 1 following the sabbatical period. The report is to include a summary of activities and accomplishments, an outline of any work remaining to bring the project to conclusion, an assessment of the value of the leave to oneself and the College, and any plans to modify one’s courses or teaching as a consequence of the leave.
  3. Agreement to pursue only the approved project and to refrain from any outside employment without explicit approval by the President. Since sabbatical leave continues one on salary from the College, acceptance of remuneration from another employer is usually inappropriate and unacceptable. If some employment is a necessary part of one’s project, that fact needs to be made clear in the sabbatical proposal. If such activity is likely to require more than a very limited amount of time, or to provide income beyond fairly narrow limits, an unpaid leave of absence may be more suitable than a sabbatical. Even if limited employment is approved, the level of remuneration may call for adjustment in the salary paid by the College.