Scope of this Policy

The following policy and procedures augment the “Sabbatical Leave (Instructional)” guidelines found in the U-M Standard Practice Guide 201.30-2.
As stated in SPG 201.30-2, “Sabbatical leaves of absence may be granted to provide the faculty member an opportunity for an intensive program of research and/or study, thus enhancing his or her effectiveness to the University as a teacher and scholar.”
Sabbatical leaves are therefore designed for professional improvement of faculty members by providing, for a specified period, time away from the usual teaching and service obligations. This time enables faculty members to pursue scholarly activities that will strengthen their teaching and scholarship.
With that in mind, sabbatical leave is a privilege because it entails a significant investment of University resources (i.e., public funds and student tuition dollars) as faculty continue earning salary while released from their normal University duties. In the case of one-semester sabbaticals faculty receive 100% of their salary while their peers cover their teaching along with fulfilling their service obligations. Further, having a faculty member on sabbatical creates a gap in an academic program’s ability to fully serve students. Because sabbaticals represent such a significant investment of resources by the University, it is important to ensure that they are effectively utilized to further our research, instructional, and curricular goals.
The authority to approve, deny, defer, or modify a sabbatical leave requests rest with the dean. A dean shall be required to provide a written rationale if a denial, deferral, or modification decision is made. 

Conditions and Criteria

In addition to the eligibility requirements stipulated in SPG 201.30-2, sec. II.A, the decision to approve, deny, defer, or modify sabbatical leave applications at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is based on the following conditions and criteria:

  1. The quality of the sabbatical leave proposal. Form HR36620, Request for Sabbatical Leave, requires the applicant to “Please indicate here the specific purpose which you have in mind and its relationship to your general scholarly interests and to scholarly work previously accomplished. If your plan involves a specific research project, please indicate to what extent progress has already been made and to what extent the sabbatical leave will assist you in bringing it to a conclusion.”
    The sabbatical leave plan must therefore describe the uniqueness of the scholarly or curricular activities and why a leave is needed for the proposed objectives. The sabbatical project must be clearly linked to the faculty member’s scholarship or teaching agenda; it must serve to advance the faculty member’s competency or be focused on the faculty member’s development of a related or new area of competency that pertains to scholarship or development of teaching or curricular materials. The proposal must specifically address advancement of that agenda. Finally, the proposal shall include the expected outcomes along with the anticipated timeline for their production. Purposefully, a broad definition of scholarship is used relative to sabbatical projects.
  2. Outcome(s) of previous sabbatical leave.The expectation of a sabbatical leave is that faculty will use the time away to pursue scholarly activities that will strengthen their scholarship and teaching as defined by their department and/or discipline. Those applying for repeat sabbatical leaves therefore have an expectation that they will be able to show research and/or instructional productivity. As part of the sabbatical plan an applicant must include a detailed report of the outcome(s) of the last sabbatical leave. Various forms of research outcomes include publications in refereed journals, books, book chapters, and presentations at academic conferences. Significant contributions to educational excellence may include engaging students inside and outside the classroom, using technology, group activities or projects, developing new modes of delivery for courses, enhancing curriculum, and flipping a classroom ---all of which must be over and above normal teaching duties, and would require a similar time investment to what would be expected in scholarly output during the sabbatical period.
  3. Recommendation for sabbatical leave by evaluation committee. Each college is responsible for providing periodic evaluations of all associate professors and professors. Either as part of that evaluation process or establishing an ad hoc system, each college shall establish processes for conducting a faculty-led review of its faculty in the year before they become eligible for sabbatical leave. The faculty-led review shall result in a recommendation to the dean as to whether the faculty member has demonstrated sufficient research and/or instructional productivity to be awarded a sabbatical leave when said faculty member becomes eligible. In the event that an evaluation committee renders a negative recommendation, it shall be the duty of the committee to write a statement of rationale for its decision.
  4. Teaching and administrative considerations. Because maintaining the high quality of academic programs is a central goal of the university, it is the responsibility of the deans and department chairs to take operational continuity into account when considering sabbatical leave requests. Therefore, a request for sabbatical leave can be deferred, or modified when course scheduling, service obligations, student learning and/or other factors integral to the maintenance of academic programs could be adversely impacted.

Reports to the Provost

The Office of the Provost shall be notified that a sabbatical leave report is on file in the dean’s office. At the end of each semester, a list of individuals should be sent to the Office of the Provost indicating that the reports are on file in the dean’s office. The Office of the Provost shall then notify Staff Records. The report need not be sent to the Provost unless requested. All deans are required to provide a summary of the sabbatical leave reports in their unit’s annual report.

Effective Date

This policy shall go into effect at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.

Policy owned by: Provost

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